The Prospects For Another Ted Kennedy

By Chris Good

Bruce Reed, former top domestic policy adviser to President Bill Clinton and new CEO of the new Democratic Leadership Council, writes at Slate that the GOP could use a Ted Kennedy of its own--a principled lion who likes to work with the other side to, above all, get things done. It's a question for all levels of the GOP: can the staffers, pundits, activists and regular voters "lionize," as Reed puts it, a legislator who works with Democrats? It's probably unfair to ask this of Republicans, exclusively: President Obama campaigned on coalition-building postpartisanship as a governing strategy, and Democrats are still working to get a handful of Republicans on board with a mutually agreeable health care bill.

But there's an impulse among liberals to say: forget the Republicans--we've got 60 votes. Don't bother to work with the other side--they didn't work with us. And Kennedy was an institution; if the Senate has become more partisan and toxic in recent times as Reed suggests, Kennedy built his bipartisan name before that happened. So Republicans may not be able to elevate a lawmaker known for bipartisanship, but in an age of Democratic supermajority, now that Kennedy is gone, can Democrats?

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2009/08/the-prospects-for-another-ted-kennedy/24081/