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Filling Ted Kennedy's shoes
Who will take up his role in the Senate? Can anyone?
 

"Ted Kennedy's death was one of those rare events that can pause politics," said Michael Grunwald in Time, "but nothing can stop politics." So Massachusetts and Washington are abuzz with speculation over who will fill Kennedy's seat, which under a 2004 change in state law remains vacant until a special election can be held five months from now. Any Kennedy—especially Teddy's widow, Victoria Reggie Kennedy—would be "hard to beat."

Maybe, but the Kennedys' relationship with Massachusetts is complicated, said Marc Ambinder in The Atlantic, so it depends on which Kennedy runs, and whether there's even "a unanimous choice within the family." And Massachusetts might amend its rules so the seat won't be vacant when the Senate debates health-care reform, which was so important to Kennedy. If Gov. Deval Patrick gets to appoint a caretaker, the "smart money" is on former Massachusets Gov. Michael Dukakis "or someone of his stature."

The more important question is not who will fill Kennedy's seat, said Gerald F. Seib in The Wall Street Journal, but who will fill his shoes as a dealmaker in Congress. Kennedy was one of those increasingly rare leaders "who knew how to fight, but also how to get a deal done at the end of the day." The nation needs more politicians like that, because striking a compromise is often the only way to get anything accomplished.

In one sense, Ted Kennedy cannot be replaced, said John Kass in the Chicago Tribune. With Kennedy's death, there is no one to carry on the myth of "Camelot, those shining knights" who rose from the presidency of his brother, John F. Kennedy. The Left is trying to revive the myth for "one last ride" and use "a dead Kennedy to push for nationalized health care," but "with the death of the Massachusetts Democrat, finally, mercifully, let's let Camelot go."

 

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