The Kennedy Legacy

Well, Ted Kennedy’s been buried for almost a month, and we’re getting a glimpse of his legacy. And — as should be expected — it’s a remarkable conflation of greed, corruption, chicanery, and political maneuverings.

First up, his successor in the United States Senate has been named. Paul Kirk, a former Kennedy aide, DNC chairman, and the executor of Kennedy’s estate, was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick yesterday.

And the Massachusetts Republican Party (from their convention in a phone booth) promptly filed suit. They pointed out that, in Massachusetts, laws do not become effective for 90 days after signing unless they are declared an “emergency.” And the “emergency” is only recognized if 2/3 of the legislature votes to call it such when the bill is passed — which did not happen with the bill that gave the governor back the power to fill Senate vacancies.

90 days, of course, would push the appointment back until late December — and the special election is scheduled for the middle of January.

The Massachusetts Democrats are now arguing that it doesn’t really, really require the legally-mandated 2/3 vote to put a law into effect immediately, but just the governor saying it’s important.

So, while Mr. Kirk has that to deal with, he also has to start tidying up the multi-million-dollar estate of his old boss. The people of Massachusetts, many of whom are still heartbroken over Ted Kennedy’s passing, were consoling themselves with the thought that at least the state would benefit by getting their cut of his estate — the Bay State has some of the highest estate taxes in the nation. They’d missed out when his mother, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, passed on — Ted had her declared a resident of Florida for legal purposes, even though she hadn’t left the family’s Hyannis compound in well over a decade — and they were counting on the Lion of Liberalism’s hard-earned dollars to help reload the state’s empty coffers.

Whoops, not so fast. It would have been too much to declare that Ted was a resident of another state — after all, he died while holding his Senate seat, but he did once declare himself a resident of Washington, DC for tax purposes, and then paid a fine to avoid having to forfeit his seat — he still found a way to keep his millions for his greedy heirs and not have to pay his fair share for the privilege of dying. His entire net worth — last listed as between $15 million and $72.6 million — will be placed in a trust to benefit his wife, adult children, and other relatives.

Ah, Ted. Your body might have failed you, but your spirit lives on.

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