Hitch probably says it best:
It was almost as if he had decided to atone, first for the death of Mary-Jo Kopechne and second for his hubris in trying to emulate the ambition of his older brothers.
Tastes differ but many of his admirers were secretly relieved when the Senator stopped trying to deliver epoch-making speeches like the famous but rather ham-like “The Dream Will Never Die” effort that constituted his last hurrah at the Democratic Convention in New York in 1980.
His chaotic interview with Roger Mudd that same year, in which he could not produce a single coherent reason for seeking the White House, was also helpful in getting him to adopt a more realistic view of himself, and to become a more useful public servant.
You may notice that I have managed to get this far without once using the word “lion”. This is on purpose. Senator Edward Moore Kennedy was not particularly leonine, even though he did have a bit of a mane until the very end. He was more like a horse, and it is for his slow and steady work and his willingness to work in harness with others that he will be best remembered.
One thing is going to become painfully obvious I think over the next year or so, and that is how pale a shadow John Kerry has been in the Senate all this time, and how little likely he is to come even close to the accomplishments of Ted any time in the future.