The Hiller Instinct: Kennedy's passing
The proof is his unrivaled record of making the bills he supported become law...laws affecting all Americans, especially those who didn't have the money or influence to get them passed themselves.
It wasn't just raw power that made Kennedy so effective--it was the power of his beliefs, plus the power of his personality...and most of all it was his recognition that compromise is not another word for defeat...but, instead, a word for incremental progress.
More than nearly all politicians, Ted Kennedy knew that half-a-loaf is better than none...and he always believed that if get the first half, then, ultimately, he could get the second half, too.
So trading political chits and cooperating with Republicans across the aisle became something he was more than willing to do.
Compare that with the partisan divide that paralyzes Congress today...and consider how the current stalemate over health care might be different were Kennedy in Washington to help find common ground.
Many of the tributes to Ted Kennedy today mention how much he inspired other politicians to follow in his footsteps...but the inability of any to actually do it is another tribute to Kennedy's unique set of political assets: a permanent commitment to empowering the powerless; a fondness for voters and a love of campaigning; a tireless work ethic, and a terrific sense of humor.
Ted Kennedy was an original. And Vice President Biden wasn't exaggerating when he said "I don't think we shall ever see his like again."
Biden was quoting Shakespeare, but you don't have to be an English major to know he was speaking the truth: all you have to do is look at America when Ted Kennedy went to the Senate in 1962, and look at it now.
Andy Hiller, 7News.
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