He also worked across the aisle, helping George W Bush to pass his No Child
Left Behind Act to improve school standards, joining with John McCain to
forge a humane immigration reform.
He was a senator able to be fiercely ideological and also fiercely pragmatic,
able to develop friendships beyond politics – friendships that are the
grease that makes the Senate work. He was a master of parliamentary
procedures and the helm of a ship of highly skilled staffers.
He was also, of course, a politician. Despite being a proponent of green
energy, he single-handedly prevented the construction of a wind farm off
Cape Cod because it might obstruct his sea view. In 2004 he fought hard to
remove Romney’s right to appoint a temporary senator if John Kerry were to
win the presidency. And yet in the week before his death he urged a return
to the appointment of a temporary senator – in order to keep a Democratic
vote for healthcare reform intact. He could be partisan and hypocritical, as
well as bipartisan and principled.
Coming from an ideological opponent, I thought this was more interesting and compelling than Obama’s.