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One fewer master dealmaker

The death of Sen. Edward Kennedy has highlighted the comparative scarcity of great dealmakers on Capitol Hill. Former senators such as Democrats Patrick Moynihan and Lloyd Bentsen and Republicans Howard Baker, Warren Rudman and Bob Dole "were, like Sen. Kennedy, revered for their skill at knowing when the partisan arguments had exhausted themselves and that it was time to seek the possible rather than the perfect. They knew how to find the compromise that would work," wrote Gerald Seib in the Wall Street Journal.These days the pressure is relentless from outside groups to toe the party line or else. "When you campaign you try to destroy your opponent. And that's become the legislative process now as well," Kenneth Duberstein, who was White House chief of staff for President Ronald Reagan.

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