Skip to content

Recalling The Effective Leadership Of Senate Giant Ted Kennedy

March 30, 2015

Bob Schieffer, CBS News’ Face The Nation host conducted one of the most interesting segments yesterday regarding former Senator Ted Kennedy.   Many dignitaries are in Boston today for the opening of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, which includes, among other things, a life-size recreation of the U.S. Senate chamber where the late senator served for 47 years.  It will be a most impressive sight as everything will be able to be viewed from the senators’ desk to the visitors’ gallery.    Some of Kennedy’s former senate colleagues spoke with Schieffer about the role the Massachusetts politician played in our national life, and the way politics should be handled.

MCCAIN: Oh, we had some of the great bouts, and yet I remember one time we had a huge fight that two freshmen had begun and we drove them from the floor and afterwards we were walking off the floor and he put his arm around me.

And he said, “We really did a good one that time, didn’t we, John?”

He enjoyed the combat but he didn’t personalize the combat. And that is really one of the reasons why I think so many, on both sides of the aisle, had not just respect but after a while, affection.

OLYMPIA SNOWE, FORMER REPUBLICAN SENATOR: He was a legislator’s legislator. And he used his consummate skills as a negotiator. He appreciated the norms and traditions of the Senate and also got to know his colleagues, their preferences and their dislikes and understood that your adversary today would be your ally tomorrow.

Senate changes a person, that it has ability of making a person a heightened sense of responsibility. That is something a lot of people don’t understand. This is the most unique institution in public life in many ways because of the rules of the place.

Mandates that you actually work with each other. In fact, the minority is given a status here unlike any other place in the country. And Teddy, the effect of the Senate really had an effect on him. In this very room, where we’re gathered here today, I watched him day in and day out make it possible for people he disagreed with to have victories.

SEN. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D), MD.: I think the boundless energy, the fact that he was more than willing to let other people take the credit, even though he was the big guy in the room. A very savvy and strategic legislator. And he also made things fun. He made you feel welcome. He made you feel like you mattered and you counted. I was with him when he met world leaders in these beautiful committee rooms, I was with him at the North End in Boston, walking the streets of their little getaway, where he made the waiters and the kitchen staff and the people making the meatballs as important as the people making policy.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: