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Lion of the Senate


“When Ted Kennedy Rallied the Democrats in a GOP Congress”

An interesting read describing how “stuff” gets done in the United States Senate.  Ted Kennedy was a master legislator whose efforts, along with his Democratic and Republican peers passed countless pieces of legislation that continue to benefit millions of Americans every day.  I think it would be hard to find anyone living in the United States today that has not been positively affected by Ted Kennedy’s leadership.  (Before you kick back a response – ask anyone on Medicare if they are happy with their insurance coverage).

There are dozens of Ted Kennedy biographies on the market but this one is specific to the time period after the 1994 Congressional midterm elections when the Republican Party regained the majority in both the House and the Senate.  “Lion of the Senate” describes events over the next 24 – 36 months in which Kennedy worked tirelessly with both Democratic and Republican allies to pass bipartisan progressive legislation and helped millions of Americans in areas of health care, education and the minimum wage.   While not a “Legislating for Dummies,” it explains the fine art of negotiation and bipartisan compromise, two art forms that are probably done much more often than we believe. Kennedy Color

The book ends with the role he played in crafting the Affordable Health Care Act.  While he did not live to see it signed into law, he used the time he had left to advise and guide those involved in the legislative process, specifically offering advice to the White House and congressional leadership based on the lessons he learned from the failed 1994 attempt.  Some of the criticisms of how Obama and Congressional Democrats handled management of the AHA bill tie back to Kennedy’s advice.  Now I understand how and why certain events transpired in the way that they did.

For anyone interested in how a bill becomes a law in the modern day Senate, this is a good option.  Do not expect to understand the details of Senate parliamentary procedure.  This book, I am sure is but a mere outline of “Robert’s Rules of Order:  U.S. Senate Version.”

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