The respect ought to emanate from both sides of the aisle, however. And just as Kennedy's political adversaries should have the grace to refrain from speaking unless they've something positive to say, his political allies should refrain from the graceless impulse to use his death for their own political gain.
Could someone please alert Senator Robert Byrd to that fact? He's calling for the stifling of legitimate dissent (delicately termed as "civilized discourse"), and for health care legislation to be passed in Kennedy's name.
Obviously, the tactic reeks of desperation, but it's also wrong. Imagine what the outcry would have been in 2004 had President Bush called for the continuation of his war on terror policies (or spending or tax cuts) in memory of the Gipper.
Whatever one thinks of Ted Kennedy and his policies, there's no doubt that he is leaving an enormous legacy -- which should neither be disparaged nor exploited in the immediate wake of his death. For now, it's enough to say a prayer for him and for the loved ones he has left behind.