August 28th, 2009
02:25 PM ET
9 years ago

Cafferty: Who will assume Sen. Kennedy’s leadership role?

The American flag flies at half staff Tuesday following the death of Sen. Ted Kennedy. (PHOTO CREDIT: CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES)

When it comes to filling Sen. Ted Kennedy's leadership shoes, it doesn't seem at first glance that there is anyone who can.

As Politico puts it, no other senator possesses the combination of "celebrity, seniority, personal charm, legislative savvy and ideological zeal that made Kennedy the most effective liberal in a generation.”

Those who worked with him call Kennedy "irreplaceable.” Many have said the senator's presence was sorely missed in the health care debate. Because of his failing health, he was unable to spend much time on Capitol Hill the last few months. Although Kennedy was a staunch liberal, he was known for compromising with Republicans – a skill pretty much lacking in both parties these days.

Perhaps the only senator who had similar star power was Hillary Clinton. And, before she became Pres. Obama's secretary of state, some aides had hoped she would assume a Kennedy-like role in the Senate.

To read more and contribute to the Cafferty File discussion click here.

Filed under: Cafferty File • Ted Kennedy
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. phoenix86

    The leader of the democratic party is Nancy Pelosi. It has been since 2006. Kennedy was brushed aside after Carter beat him in 1976.

    August 28, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. Mississippi Mike

    Good question. The person needs to be entitled by family name, an alcoholic, have mistresses, take lots of bribes, and be a hard-core ideologue. I'd say there are plenty of Democrats who fit this bill. Just close your eyes and point.

    August 28, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  3. Obama Victim

    could be shortage of socialists in the Democrat party

    August 28, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |

    Sadily Jack no one!

    August 28, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  5. An Independent

    sarah palin

    August 28, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. havasloop

    There will never be another Teddy, but that doesn't mean his state can't have another Senator as thoughtful and courageous as he was. The only problem with dealing with the Republicans is that they never want to compromise. They're like dog pooh; you know when you've stepped in some because it's harder than heck to get rid of the smell...

    August 28, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  7. Jack

    Shouldn't be too hard. Just find a rich guy who has never held a real job with no practical experience or qualifications.

    August 28, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  8. Idiot_Pelosi

    What leadership role? Do you mean the constant babbling of a socialist agenda by someone who doesn't know how to pay for every whim?

    What about the useless loud mouth BOXER from California?

    August 28, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. Leaders come and go...

    Leaders come and go and so the world will keep on

    it did and is for man so far has not yet saved the


    August 28, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. Polar Bears Against Palin

    Calm down, Jack. It will be O.K.

    August 28, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  11. JA/TN

    most left are to self serving, and closed minded

    August 28, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  12. LIP

    These things will take time to sort out. Meanwhile, everyone should play be the same rules with respect to waiting until January for a special election. If the Mass. legislature attempts to change the rules they forced Romney to play by, then they should be held in some kind of contempt. Changing the rules to suit your political affiliation is the very worst any party can do and to claim it is the proper thing to do for Ted Kennedy is just as wrong as what he and the Democtcratic legislature did when they tied Romney's hands. Two wrongs don't make a right.

    August 28, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  13. Maria - Proud Democrat

    Senator Kennedy was one of a kind and his decades of service and dedication to the American public cannot easily be assumed by anyone.
    Not even another Kennedy.

    August 28, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  14. Ken

    I always wondered why the good folks in Mass. continued to elect this guy. He had one of the worst records for showing up to vote, never supported the tax payer, has a history of poor ethicial judgment, or worse. Anyone who can run aournd drunk and partially clothed bumbling about no topic in particular would be demonstrating comparble political leadership skills.

    August 28, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  15. conserve 56

    My "impossible dream" would be for the electorate of Massachusetts to finally wake up and elect a conservative Republican to replace the seat vacated by Ted.

    I understand I am not dealing with reality, but I can still dream.

    This is part of my "hope and change" you can believe in.

    August 28, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  16. KAREN

    Oh please. May he rest in peace and god bless his family. But seriously. He was the most liberal senator. He didn't share one of my political views. So now to pretend I am going to miss him in the senate would be hypocrytical. He put forward the bill to prevent the Govenor from naming a replacement when Kerry was running so that Mitt Romney would not be allowed to put a Republican in place. And now they want it both ways because he was a Kennedy. Come on, How unfair is that? U have got to be kidding This is the height of Hypocrisy.

    August 28, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  17. Rick Maryville TN

    Certainly NOT John McCain as someone with your organization stated..............Wolf

    August 28, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  18. Conan

    This position should NOT be fille dby a family member. This is America and that position is a PUBLIC office, not a family heirloom. Its disgusting to hear talk of someone's spouse or child filling an elected position.

    August 28, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  19. Sam's Nemesis

    Hopefully a Republican wiil fill his seat.......after the election scenario Uncle Teddy fought SO hard to change when it was to HIS advantage. Now the shoe is on the other foot ...........too bad so sad......Go Massachusetts Republicans

    August 28, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  20. Gary

    I like much of the Democrat's commitment to education, health and the environment but I think what they need is some leadership that is not quite so liberal. A moderate Democrat as leader of the house and senate would go a long way to ending the bitter partisanship. As a country we want less government control and of course we don't want socialist policies. I hope the Dems find a leader who can find balance.

    August 28, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  21. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    Did not now he had a leadership role, or are you talking about the head of the gang that steals money from the american taxpayer. That is the liberal definition of leadership.

    August 28, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  22. jeff jackson, alabama

    Jack, see if this sounds somewhat familiar.
    I never knew Ted Kennedy, Ted Kennedy was
    not an acquaintance of mine. But Jack, Hillary Clinton
    No one in the house or senate had the financial
    or political power of Ted Kennedy. And that, Jack, is
    one reason we need term limits. No one should ever
    have the power, as a representative of the people, that
    an iconic senator does. The power should be held by
    the electors and not the elected.

    August 28, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  23. Tom

    Joe Kennedy should not be Ted's successor. He's no Ted Kennedy. Ted was not perfect. Who of us is? But Joe is way too imperfect. It's time for a woman to represent my old state.

    August 28, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. Dave

    Only Senator that could fill Teddy's shoes is Senator McCain – no one on the Dem side comes close

    August 28, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  25. Jimmie

    Honestly, I don't think any senator can take Kennedy's influence and face in the Senate. Perhaps the only senator with enough star power to do it is John McCain. He's a lot like Kennedy when it comes to working with senators across the aisle. If anyone, I believe McCain is the only person who will have anything close to the amount of influence Kennedy had at Capitol Hill.

    August 28, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
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