Keller @ Large: Kennedy Institute Shouldn’t Be Partisan Shrine

BOSTON (CBS) – My congratulations and best wishes go out to Mrs. Vicki Kennedy and all the people who’ve worked hard to make possible today’s groundbreaking for the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate at Columbia Point.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

The late Senator’s decades of work in the Senate are a worthy subject for a museum and education center, especially here in Massachusetts, where he was one of a handful of key political figures who helped shape the modern-day economy and infrastructure of our state.

From the grounds, you’ll be able to see the UMass/Boston campus, a beneficiary of the federal aid to higher education that Kennedy made a point of pursuing and protecting in Washington… you’ll see Boston Harbor, a cleaner, more economically vibrant place today due to Ted’s commitment…. and the skyline of Boston, the city the senator helped rescue from the scrap-heap of urban history a half century ago.

They say the Institute will be a place where citizens will learn how our democracy works, and that’s a noble goal. Ted Kennedy earned his reputation as one of the most effective legislators ever.

But I hope the people behind it resist the temptation to turn this place into just another partisan landmark.

The truth is, there are aspects of the Kennedy legacy that are legitimately debatable, that are being debated even as we speak.

Are the big-government solutions to chronic social problems that Ted favored always the right way to go?

There was no agreement within the Democratic Party over crucial budgetary and foreign policy issues when Ted was one of its leaders, and there still isn’t.

Will visitors to the institute be encouraged to learn from his failures as well as his successes?

One of the things I admired most about Ted Kennedy was that he operated in the real world of compromise and change.

Let’s hope that this institute, funded in part with millions in public dollars, turns his memory into a real teachable moment instead of becoming a shallow partisan shrine.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

More from Jon Keller
  • Stephen Stein

    “Another” partisan landmark?

  • Ajay

    The Kennedy name is strong. Another shrine to honor yet another Kennedy is jut what we need.
    Massachussets is the place to put it. 49 other states would rather name a tavern or massage parlor after the Kennedy’s than a museum or school.
    Bravo on the expenditure of our tax dollars… and to think that they can’t come to terms on this year’s budget cuts..

  • NewEnglandBob

    Keller is a partisan and prejudiced. Litlle he “reports” is objective.

  • Mark

    They should build it under water in the shape of a bottle of scotch.

  • mikey

    It shouldn’t be built at all. This country is broke and hopelessly indebted.

  • Ground Broken On New Kennedy Institute « CBS Boston

    […] Read: Keller @ Large: Institute Shouldn’t Be Partisan Shrine […]

  • fENUFF

    You say this will be a place where people can go and learn how democracy workks. Will it tell the truth, that american democracy is not the will of the people,but is the will of special interest groups,lobbyists, and career politicians.

  • BostonIrish

    Hey, I approve. I’ve got plenty of things I can’t stand about the late Senator. But what he gave to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and to the country at large, I commend him. I hope the Institute is a bipartisan landmark that citizens can visit and learn. Still the best place on the planet for freedom and democracy.

  • Katie

    I do not approve allocation of 36 million dollars towards this institute. Will this set a precedent for every other Senator who may be thought of as deserving? Can we afford this? How much is the Kennedy Clan donating to this institute. Surely the money can be better used in our public schools.


    Is there a Chappaquidic Room ?

  • taxedout

    Where is the reception being held….The Golden Banana????

  • marty

    help close the budget gap and cut the funding for this unnecessary, undeserved money pit. there is no excuse for this horrible waste of money VC kerry.

  • taxedout

    According to the Gov we have Cut to the Bone, so this might be coming out of his and Kerrys pocketbook not ours!!!! If you believe that your from Mass!!!!A senator wants to get rid of the gov’s council to the tune of 500K a year, and they meet about as often as the 15 minute a week numbskulls who run the state. Nah cut mental health, the blind, and old and sick, we Need this shrine, Teddy would have wanted this done!!!!, but not if it Blocked his view of the ocean!!!

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