- The Washington Times - Friday, December 10, 2004

Nobles: David Brudnoy, for a life spent fighting the good fight. The National Review lost a longtime contributor when Mr. Brudnoy, 64, died Thursday night of cancer. An established conservative journalist, Mr. Brudnoy was best known for his nightly Boston radio talk show, where he debated guests on everything from politics, books, philosophy and movies. For those who knew him, read him or listened to him, however, Mr. Brudnoy was also the consummate gentleman, a man of biting wit, humor and grace.

Mr. Brudnoy’s homosexuality, as well as his struggle with AIDS, propelled him into the national spotlight, a position he was humorously uncomfortable with: “Andy Warhol was wrong: sometimes you do get more than 15 minutes of fame … I figure that by now I’ve had at least 20 minutes of fame, and it continues,” he wrote in 1995.

Yet it was Mr. Brudnoy’s personality and genius for which he will be remembered. In an age of shock political commentary, Mr. Brudnoy reveled in spirited, though gentlemanly, debate. Writing yesterday for National Review Online, Thomas Hibbs remarked, “what Brudnoy did for the life of the mind in public was exemplary … He was a model of the way to hold one’s position, to argue vigorously on its behalf, and yet to engage other points of view with tact and seriousness.”

After a near-death illness in 1994, Mr. Brudnoy gradually returned to his previous pursuits, which, beside radio and print, included a teaching position at Boston College. It is said that in the final weeks of his life Mr. Brudnoy was working furiously to finish grading his students’ papers.

For refusing to go gentle into that good night, Mr. Brudnoy is the Noble of the week.

Knaves: Sen. Edward Kennedy, for letting everyone know how great he really is.

At 72, Mr. Kennedy, an eight-term senator, has been thinking about his future. No, it isn’t about whether to run for a ninth term in 2006. (He is.) What’s been keeping the senior Massachusetts senator up at night is how best to convey to the nation all he’s done for it.

Then, lightning struck. From Monday’s Boston Globe: “The Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia is to announce plans today to record an oral history of the life and career of [Mr. Kennedy], a six-year, multimillion-dollar project that is the center’s first effort to chronicle the history of a sitting senator. Mr. Kennedy, who suggested the project and will raise money to cover its $3.5 million cost … ” Stop right there.

Mr. Kennedy has indeed had a long (some say distinguished, others say, well, other things) career at the center of 20th- century American politics. But for someone who has spent an entire life as a politician, you’d think Mr. Kennedy might have found a more politically savvy way to secure his place in history. Still, it could be worse. Mr. Kennedy could have asked for some real estate on Mt. Rushmore.

For owning an ego the size of Chappaquiddick Island, Mr. Kennedy is the Knave of the week.

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