“He had the good luck to be born into a wealthy and powerful American family, and the bad luck to be born the ‘caboose kid’ in an Irish-American family that imbued its every member with an outsized drive for success at all costs…. The man did some terrible and many very stupid things in his life, but he also spent half a century in service, public and private, as atonement.”

I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of Kennedy obits, but Anne Laurie’s at Balloon Juice struck me immediately. The only thing I’d question is whether his service was atonement, or just what the Kennedys did – the Kennedy brothers represented the whole spectrum of qualities of an American oligarchy we probably won’t see for a long time, unless the Bushes decide that the family name isn’t a complete liability. Either way, the caboose kid’s decision to channel that world-beating ambition into local politics and an obsessively domestic political agenda is a resonant political legacy.