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John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat

John F. Kennedy Liberal Democrat
Source: U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy in 1960

Friday, April 3, 2015

Politico Magazine: Opinion: Tom Keane: Elizabeth Warren Meets The Ted Kennedy Myth

Politico Magazine: Opinion: Tom Keane: Elizabeth Warren Meets The Ted Kennedy Myth

This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

We should be really careful to comparing people who are very new to elected office like Senator Elizabeth Warren, just elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012, after never holding a seat in Congress before, or ever in elected office, to one of the political giants in American history. Like Ted Kennedy who was a giant as a U.S. Senator regardless of party, who was one the few members of Congress who really knew how to make it work. What it took to pass a bill in the Senate. The Democrats he would be able to count on and the Republicans he would need to work with to get the bill out of the Senate. And then the people he would need to work with in the House, again in both parties to get the bill out of Congress. Once the Senate and House pass their bills. And then what would it take to get the President to pass the final legislation.

Senator Kennedy could be as partisan as anyone in Congress and in Washington or in the country. But again he knew how the institution, especially the Senate worked and what to say and what not to say in order to get his bills passed. Right now, Senator Warren is a flame thrower. Someone whose great at getting her partisan arguments out and her people behind her and getting and keeping her name in the public eye. But after little over two years in the Senate, not much to show for herself as a legislature. What they have in common, they use similar partisan rhetoric for Republican special interests and perhaps the Republican Party in general. What they also have in common, is that they both don’t tend to attack Republicans personally. But concentrate on their policies. Which is very uncommon in todays hyper-partisan Congress.

All I’m really saying here is that Senator Kennedy and Senator Warren are different in their approaches. They use similar rhetoric, but Ted Kennedy was in the Senate to legislate. He was a legislature for public service before anything. Which is why he was so good at it because he spent so much time on it and knew how to work with people. Especially people who tended to disagree with him, like Senator Orrin Hatch. And use his Irish wit and charm to make people feel good, but also to see how likable he was. Senator Warren right now at least to me sounds like a political activist who also happens to be a U.S. Senator. But who seems more interested in fighting the good fight. Even if that means gridlock gets continued. Instead of working with the other side even to make policies as good as they can be.