Senator Ted Kennedy was still way too controversial to run for president in 1972. He wasn’t ready to run for president and was happy in the Senate being a Senator and being one of the largest voices in Congress, at least in the Democratic Party. Gaining seniority and influence in what happens in the Senate and Congress as a whole. Where he had a lot of friends in both the Senate and House. I sort of see him as his generation’s Paul Ryan. As someone who could have done more things outside of Congress, but was happy in Congress. Paul Ryan, now Speaker of the House. Ted Kennedy, long time Chairman and Ranking Member of the Labor Committee. Plus he had personal issues he was still dealing with in his family, including his wife.
There was never much reason for Ted Kennedy to really ever run for president. He never actually wanted the job, again because of how successful and happy he was in Congress being such a powerful Senator who had so much to do with so much important legislation that came out of Congress. His 1979-80 presidential run showed that being president was not something he wanted. When he couldn’t even answered the point-blank question from NBC News’s Roger Mudd, ‘why do you want to be president?’ He wouldn’t have won in 72 even if he did run and win the nomination, because of how divided the Democratic Party was between their mainstream Progressives and their New-Left that George McGovern represented. Ted Kennedy, made the right decision not running in 72 and he shouldn’t have run in 1979-80 either.