News Columns & Blogs

Kennedy was a peerless lawmaker

Even many who had no use for the liberal politics of Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., had to admire his peerless legislative skills during a Senate career lasting 47 years. Kennedy, who died of brain cancer Tuesday night at age 77, not only represented his constituents and priorities with uncommon zeal but understood the value of working across the aisle in order to get things done. Even conservatives, including President Bush and his No Child Left Behind bill, regarded Kennedy as the go-to guy. The statement of Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said it well: "The Senate has lost the lion's roar of the left. . . . There were two Teds, one was personable and kind to those he met regardless of party affiliation, and the other was what we saw on the Senate floor, a passionate and fiery advocate for the cause." It will be strange to see the Senate without a member of the Kennedy clan. And it's hard not to wonder how health reform might be playing out now if Kennedy were leading the charge on what was a signature issue.