August 28th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

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)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

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.

That's not to say there aren't plenty of senators who would like to assume Kennedy's role. They include folks like Senators John Kerry, Chris Dodd, Tom Harkin, Dick Durbin and Russ Feingold.

In the end though, the party may not be able to find a single figure with the personality, clout and popularity to replace Ted Kennedy. Sad really, that the greatest deliberative body in the world – home to the likes of Hubert Humphrey and Everett Dirksen – has become little more than a partisan snake pit where not a whole lot worthwhile gets done anymore.

Here’s my question to you: Who is likely to assume Ted Kennedy's leadership role in the Senate?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Bob from Louisville, Kentucky writes:
Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin is the most "Kennedy-like" member of the Senate. He has leadership ability, is independent-minded, does not cater to nor is he in the pocket of "special interests" and he has the ability to "reach across the aisle" in order to bring about the passage of meaningful legislation. Like Kennedy, he has an excellent civil rights record and has consistently displayed concern for the less fortunate.

Chris writes:
It is difficult to imagine a replacement who could approach Kennedy's ability and effectiveness anytime soon. My guess is that the new standard-bearer will be John Kerry, Kennedy's fellow liberal and colleague for over twenty years. But even he will, like Kennedy, have to grow into the role.

Lance from Ridgecrest, California writes:
Jack, Just pick out the next most socialist senator after Obama, Clinton, and Kennedy and that's your man/woman. One thing I would be willing to bet on is that whoever it is, they will be East coast, old money, and it will have little to do with brains, or ability, and everything to do with the politics of the ultra-left. Dang, that sounds like Kerry, doesn't it? Or Dodd.

Mike writes:
How about Al Franken? He's from the land of Humphrey and influenced by Paul Wellstone and Dan Moynihan. He's a witty, likable, progressively ideological political wonk with no ties to special interests like other, "long in the tooth" legislators. Just what this Senate needs, fresh horses!

James from Richmond, Virginia writes:
Your analogy of the Senate to a snake pit is very appropriate. At this time, I can't name a possible replacement for Ted. On the other hand, everyone knows who the snakes are. Why can't the voters educate themselves and stop sending the snakes to Washington?

Filed under: Senate • Ted Kennedy
soundoff (168 Responses)
  1. Jayne

    It seems many of the senators have some of Ted Kennedy's qualities, but none have them all. The one who stands out as a person who, like Senator Kennedy, passionately believes in fairness and equality for all is Bernie Sanders.

    August 28, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  2. Jim Michigan

    I hope it is somebody that is elected, not appointed. This country has over 300 million citizens, please tell me that our political positions can come from any sector, any background and that they are not reserved solely for wealthy families. I am tired of Kennedy's, Bushes and for god sakes I don't ever want to hear of the Clinton's. Bill was great, but the wife and daughter need to find a different path in life.

    August 28, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  3. Wilhelm von Nord Bock

    Sherrod Brown is a first term "back bencher" from Ohio, which is hardly a solid Democrate state, BUT he has the same "fight for workers and the middle class" atttude as the late Senator did and I think he could become a strong leader for liberal causes. I know this because the right wingnuts are already trying to demonize the man.

    August 28, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  4. Toye Smith, Bridgeport CT

    Jeez, that's an easy one Jack. I nominate Roland Burris. He's certainly shown us the stuff he's made of. Or perhaps any one of the back-stabbing blue dogs will do. I'm afraid the majority of this bunch lost their brains a long time ago, they' won't recognize Teddy's shoe if you smacked them in the head with it.

    August 28, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  5. Millie Castillo, Ohio

    Jack: It is going to take someone with a strong backbone to fight those individuals both Democrats and Republicans and to inspire those that have the courage to stand up and be counted. Unfortunately most of those courageous individuals are dead!

    August 28, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  6. Russ in PA

    Hopefully the citizens of America will take over the leadership role, as "leadership" is turning America into a whining welfare state.

    August 28, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  7. Jack Kramer in California


    Al Franken would be the perfect person.

    August 28, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  8. Emden (Deep in the Heart of Hurst Texas)


    Surprisingly no one comes to mind.

    HealthCare was his primary focus for most of his senate career.

    Other than Hatch, no one strikes me as charismatic enough.

    August 28, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  9. Paul Austin, Texas

    Caroline Kennedy is a strong woman and now is the right time for strong women in politics. She is very smart and is a gifted speaker and if it is her wish to be in a leadership role she can not only do it but she can also go very far.

    August 28, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  10. Chuck in warren, Ohio

    Jack: I would take the job if I lived in Massachusetts.

    August 28, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  11. Bizz, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    Jack, I no idea who will or can replace Ted Kennedy in the senate. That is what is so sad about his passing. The republicans are so dug in and refuse to cooperate at all especially on Health Care. The only one that might have had a chance to put a dent in their armor was Senator Kennedy. I hope they realize if it was not for the democratic party we would not even have Social Security or Medicare. Now they have a chance to give us healthcare and they turn their backs on us again. I hope Senator Kennedy can visit the republicans in their dreams to change their minds.

    August 28, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  12. Jason, Koloa HI

    Barack Obama already has, they passed the torch at the convention.

    August 28, 2009 at 1:29 pm |
  13. Jackie in Dallas

    I don't think that there is anyone in either the House OR the Senate that has the abilities that Senator Kennedy had in abundance. In specific, there really doesn't look like that there is anyone that has the ability to pull bipartisan support together, or the ability to disagree with someone without insults and anger. There are some who could possibly develop those skills, but it is going to take time for that to happen.

    August 28, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  14. David Alexandria, VA

    There are so few elder statesmen left. In the near-term, I would like to see John McCain elevated to the position(s). He is a clear thinker, bi-partisan, and well-respected. Long-term, I believe that Obama will return to the Senate once his term is over and elevate himself..

    August 28, 2009 at 1:35 pm |
  15. Tom, Bradenton, FL

    Hopefully no one belonging to a dyansty.

    August 28, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  16. george

    Assume is the right term, because Senator Kennedy is almost irrreplacable. His leadership over the years was the only leadership in the Democrat Party in the Senate, so replacing him will be a tough job. His temporary replacement should be a rubberstamp for all that Senator Kennedy stood for, that should only be fair in this case. His voice surely will be missed. My choice would be Chuck Shumer of New York.

    August 28, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  17. Ben in Maryland

    There is no one in sight. A leader finds a way to get things done, even if they are not as 'perfect' as they'd like. There are no such people visible in government today. All today's crops of hypocrites are interested in is thwarting the other side. Just as Imhof says he will vote against the health care bill, regardless what it says, so there are Democrats who will vote for it without reading it. Both sides are hypocrites and unworthy of the institution that once housed Humphrey and Dirkson.

    August 28, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  18. GWTripp

    Most likely the first choice of pontifs will be Senator Kerry. I, however am keeping my hopes high that some new, progressive thinker will soon enter the vacuum left by Kennedy's passing. Hopefully that person will remain true to the ideals of doing right by the way of humanity and not get caught up in the politics of the mundane as Presedent Obama seems to have done of late.

    August 28, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  19. bill rupert

    I think Chris Dodd can do it Jack. I watched him during the mark-up hearings on Health Care. He did a very good job. True, he had some big shoes to fill with Senator Kennedy being absent but he seems to have the kind of personality and patience that fits with good leadership and bringing people together. He's very likeable and you can't say that about many of them up there
    On the republican side – Give me Susan Collins from ME. She seems to be one of the few, on that side, that cares about a good solution – and what works instead of right wing ideolgy: And you never hear any meaness and/or pettiness from her. We need more Susans
    Bud/Reston, VA

    August 28, 2009 at 1:59 pm |
  20. Fred R Deleon

    Why Ted's substitute has to be a Kennedy?
    Have you heard about "Civil National Security Force"?
    Who is responsible for granting Omar Kaddafi visa to enter in USA?
    Do you know if under Obama's Health Care Plan I go to Germany to take care of my health Obama's Plan would pay the Hospital and doctors bills? Canada does it. Don't they? Silent???????
    Affraid loosing your job if you question all of the above?
    Ohhh man.......Tell you what......Keep on asking what you ARE TOLD to ask. I will baco from Canada Monday or Tuesday so we will have the
    chance to talk a little bit more. I love your honesty.

    August 28, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  21. Joe in VA

    Easy question. Of course it will be Caroline, despite the fact she lives in NY. They'll work something out. After all, she is a Kennedy and she's entitled.

    Chatham, Va

    August 28, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  22. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    No one. There is simply no one who has the juice, or the desire, to make things happen for the people who elected them. It takes a statesman to lead. The last congressional statesman died this week.

    August 28, 2009 at 2:06 pm |
  23. Kay in WV

    Nobody. There is not a single other Senator left who has the good will of both their own party and the opposing party that enabled him to push compromise, the personal conviction and clout that allowed him to buck the party, and the faith that their word is their bond that created an atmosphere where he would/could be trusted when he proposed compromises. I wish there were but politics in this country is all about re-election today and not at all about the good of the country.

    August 28, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  24. David in San Diego

    Senator Kennedy had a "leadership role" on only certain issues. He was not in the official leadership. No one persomn will be a dominating figure in health care reform, education, and immigration. The responsibilities will fall to several people, issue by issue.

    August 28, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  25. Mark in OKC

    How about Caroline Kennedy....I think she should run for her Uncle's seat no matter what opinion polls think....she would be voted in overwhelmingly.

    August 28, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  26. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    I am not aware of anyone in the Senate that can replace him as a leader since most of them are so self-absorbed that leadership is out of the question for these people. The Republicans are focusing on one thing, the failure of Obama and the Democrats that remain are too deep into the pockets of the lobbyists to care about others. A good leader is about being responsible, not winning or losing the next election.

    August 28, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  27. Bob White, Kansas

    Nobody can replace Senator Kennedy. Yes someone will fill his Senate seat. And other liberal Senate leaders will emerge. But nobody will replace Senator Kennedy, The Lion of the Senate.

    August 28, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  28. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    I can only tell you who won't, and that's Reid.

    August 28, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  29. Ryan - Galesburg, IL

    Jack, republicans keep suggesting that Kennedy was a moderate, which is of course a lie. Further, they insist that they "could have" worked with him on healthcare, even though they voted against his healthcare bill in the HELP committee. More untruths.

    Ted Kennedy was a progressive and a populist. The most appropriate persons to take the helm of his causes are Senators Feingold and Durbin. Then, republicans can rail against their populist inititives too, and then eulogize them, also with untruths.

    August 28, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  30. Don in Kona Hawaii

    Wouldn't be interesting if thye nominate Caroline Kennedy to this post, in that way the Kennedy family would still hold a high profile in politics. Most any other person would be just like any other politician, arrogant, inefficient and bloated. We need to get rid of most of them.

    August 28, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  31. Heath Missoula Montana

    Who knows...I doubt that we will see another Democratic Senator who is as effective as Ted Kennedy was. I hope that there will be a liberal Democrat that is a strong voice for that side of politics, but yet also able & willing to be pragmatic enough to find real solutions through dialogue & comprimise with the other side of the political spectrum. For a Democrat to be openly liberal & be recognized as the liberal leader of congress, they would have to be overwhelmingly loved by his/her constituants. I don't think that in this current political climate, there is a Democrat with that sort of job security.

    August 28, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  32. Richard McKinney, Texas

    State Attorney General Martha Coakley, Rep. Edward Markey, former Rep. Marty Meehan and former Rep. Joe Kennedy, the senator’s nephew.
    Now if your asking who is going to fill the void in experience then I would have to say any chimp in any zoo across America could do the job even better. They work for bananas and any lobbyist would get nothing more then a shake of their behind. Lets face it Jack every politician serves only one person and that is themselves. Americans have always come second and always will.

    August 28, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  33. STAN - IL.

    I'm not sure anyone can fill Senator Kennedy's shoes, but I am impressed with Senator Tim Kaine. He is the man that ran for Senator wearing his son's combat boots. He seems like a strong voice to take over the leadership. Even though he is a junior Senator, you have to start somewhere.

    August 28, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  34. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, just pick out the next most socialist senator after Obama, Clinton, and Kennedy and that's your man/woman. One thing I would be willing to bet on is that whoever it is, they will be east coast, old money, and it will have little to do with brains, or ability, and everything to do with the politics of the ultra-left. Dang, that sounds like Kerry doesn't it, or Dodd.

    August 28, 2009 at 2:46 pm |
  35. Stephanie

    Well it won't be a Republican because they don't even have the integrity to come out and state publically that the lies and myths propagated by their followers are wrong.

    Where have they been as these protestors make such outlandish comparisons and come to townhalls with guns and pictures of Hitler?? McCain saying one thing at a televised townhall for publicity doesn't count as he has had amole time during his numerous interviews to call them on it.

    They are cowards and no leader is ever a coward!

    August 28, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  36. Bob

    Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin is the most "Kennedy like" member of the Senate. He has leadership ability, is independent minded , does not cater to, nor is he in the pocket of,"special interests" and he has the ability to "reach across the aisle" in order to bring about the passage of meaningful leglislation.

    Like Kennedy, he has an excellent civil rights record and has consistently displayed concern for the less fortunate.

    Louisville, Ky

    August 28, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  37. Karen, Idaho Falls, Idaho

    Caroline, of course. There will never be a Massachusetts Senate seat without a Kennedy.

    August 28, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  38. James

    Michael Dukakis

    August 28, 2009 at 3:00 pm |
  39. Lester

    Jack, I don't know if anyone can; his shoes is too big to fill.

    August 28, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  40. Pensacola

    ANY Democrat without a head full of gray hair, doesn't recall when he/she met Abe Lincoln and truly believes all for one and one for all. Time to turn this ship around.

    August 28, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  41. Lester


    No one can fill his shoes,it's just too big. Senator Kennedy was the end of camelot, an end of an era. Ted was the Democratic Party.

    Seattle, WA

    August 28, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  42. Diane Dagenais Turbide


    i sure would like to be there and get work done!

    August 28, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  43. Ryan

    Why does it have to be a Dem? John McCain has many of the same qualities, including the working across the aisle.

    August 28, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  44. Jennifer - Winnipeg

    Jack, I am sure there are many who could try, but few or none who could come anywhere near accomplishing what Ted Kennedy did. However, I do believe it should be someone relatively new to politics. A younger person who hasn't been brainwashed to be totally for the 'party'. Someone fresh, with a goal of serving the people, not an old dyed-in-the-wool partisan whose main goal is to disagree with everyone and anyone who sits 'across the aisle'.

    August 28, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  45. Diane Dagenais Turbide


    don't you think we have failed from some of our teachings and experiences of democracy, we have failed quite a bit by not seeing more Kennedy to exist from all generations from all families!

    August 28, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  46. Maurice

    I don't know if there's a strong enough candidate to fill such a huge void. God himself could only fill those shoes.

    August 28, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  47. Prabir


    The answer to your question is Al Gore or Mario Cuomo

    Cedar Knolls, New Jersey

    August 28, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  48. Dominic Gardunio

    Jack, I really don't know who will assume former sen. kennedy's seat. Until they find someone for his seat, it should be Sen. Kerry because he too is from the state of Massachusetts and he believes in the people of this nation.

    North East, PA

    August 28, 2009 at 3:27 pm |
  49. Elan

    I don't think anyone can assume Sen. Kennedy's leadership role, I've never known a time when Sen. Kennedy wasn't defending a worthy cause. I can't imagine a future without him. Hillary Clinton wasn't suited for a leadership role, she was too transparent, always striving for a more powerful position, she didn't seem to care about anyone, which was apparent in her presidential campaign. I don't think any Democratic or Republican senator cares as much about people as Ted Kennedy did. It was obvious that he truly cared. Most of the senators now only care about advancing their political career through alliances with insurance companies, and other special interest groups. The country has changed for the worst. I'll miss Sen. Kennedy immensely.

    August 28, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  50. Quentin from New York City

    Nobody. That's all I have to say, it's all I need to say.

    August 28, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  51. Randy from Salt Lake City

    There are no leaders left. Only liars who do what the corporations and AIPAC tell them to. We're totally doomed.

    August 28, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  52. Gretchen from Denver

    Russ Feingold

    August 28, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  53. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Jack, I might be alone in this, but I hope no one will assume the role that Sen. Kennedy held. I think we have to many powerful people in both houses of Congress. No one should be able to twist arms to get what they want. If a bill isn't good enough for the whole as it stands, it should be set aside. If we had term limits no one would ever be so powerful that their presence would be missed.
    Hartwell, GA

    August 28, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  54. Greg, Ontario

    Maybe Bill Clinton will take the job. He is a democrat that seemed to want to get the same things for the American people that Ted Kennedy did.

    August 28, 2009 at 3:35 pm |
  55. Jim


    Interesting question. I'd have to give the nod to John Kerry. He has some celebrity status from his run for the presidency and that run, hopefully, cooled his oval-office ambition so that he can be counted on to be around in the Senate for many more years. Like Kennedy, he's also a Massachusetts Senator, also combines liberal zeal with real-world pragmatism, and and also has considerable personal wealth with which he could pursue his own missions of mercy. Whether he has that special gift that Kennedy had for seeking and finding compromise, we'll see.

    Reno, Nevada

    August 28, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  56. Darlene in Oxford, Mississippi

    No one will match him, ever.

    His longevity in the Senate is rivaled only by Thurmond and Byrd - name five lasting things either has done....

    Now it is time to pass the torch to a new generation - look past the other truly old timers (Dodd, for instance). Of the younger set Klobuchar of MN and Mikulski of MD both bring much to the table. Put your chips on them.

    August 28, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  57. Peter - Boone, NC

    It is truly disheartening that not a single Senator is capable of carrying the torch that Senator Kennedy carried for so many years. In my mind, Senator Kennedy was one of the very few people in our elected government that truly understood that he was sent to Washington to represent the people of his state and, moreso, the people of this great nation. Too many of our leaders (I use the term loosely) on both sides of the aisle and all three branches or government have long forgotten to whom they owe their place in our government. I pray that someone steps up and takes the torch before it burns out.

    August 28, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  58. Ron from SF

    Replace Ted Kennedy? Not going to happen. No, every Democrat in the Senate is too willing to compromise with the Republicans and that's why a Public Option in Health Care Reform, won't pass the Senate. It's sad that they can't pass what already cleared Kennedy's committee–in his name, as they will pay in 2010 for not doing so. Despite the Astro-Turf Loons in the Town Halls, the majority wants a Public Option as part of Health Care Reform to keep the Insurance Thieves honest.

    August 28, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  59. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: HIs Senate seat will be "Filled,"---but I do not believe that anyone available will ever be capable of assuming his "role in politics."

    August 28, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  60. Mike in St. Paul

    My fear is no one; that the mold has been broken.

    August 28, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  61. Kerry Diehl

    I would hope it will be someone with more logical, conservative views that will only propose and support bills we can pay for WITH CASH ON HAND!!!!

    August 28, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  62. Susan from Twin Falls Idaho

    Hopefully his wife Vicky, pillow talk it like osmosis, the best way to absorb knowledge.

    August 28, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  63. Richard McKinney, Texas

    Jack it may be time to retool congress. Lots of these folks have been there for years doing the same things that keep getting this country deeper and deeper in debt. We really don't need to replace Kennedy we need to replace the way congress conducts business. They can not seem to decide on anything in a timely manner and when they do it seems to be the wrong solution and only creates more problems Kennedy included. It is time to get all lobbyist's out of Washington and have complete and I mean complete transparency in government. No more sliding bills through if they are greased with enough pork. This spending insanity has got to stop and term limits for all congressional members needs to be employed.

    August 28, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  64. Katiec Pekin, IL

    There is only one person as dedicated to helping all people, and that is our president. No senator has stepped up to the plate in the past
    with the sincere concern that Senator Kennedy had. It would most
    certainly have to be a Democrat as the party of big business could
    care less about our survival.

    August 28, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  65. don judson

    Let's see – celebrity, seniority, personal charm, legislative saavy, and ideological zeal – nope we are 0 for 99 on that combination. The only one to fill his shoes in the next few years might be Senator Durbin of Illinois, who is the solon closest to our President and might be seen as his spokesperson during negotiations. Long term we might see John Kerry continue to become more statesmanlike and effective behind the scenes. At least he is not running for President or primping (pimping?) for the right wing like the Republicans!

    August 28, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  66. Debra~Arizona

    I would hope that it would be someone who will carry on with the legacy that Senator Kennedy strived for.
    Health Care for All, not just the chosen few.

    August 28, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  67. Jay in Texas

    I don't believe the Senate has anyone who call fill Ted Kennedy's shoes. I don't know of another senator who is willing to stand up for what is right and never waver like Senator Kennedy did.
    Brownwood, Texas

    August 28, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  68. docb

    Feingold would be good but does not have a strong enough personality... Durbin waffles too much –same with Kerry.
    Clinton had the borrowed star power of her husband but was/ is no negotiator--she does have a bit of his temper though!

    It may have to be someone new who will not take 40 years to come into their role! The older group have not developed the skill to talk their way out of a paper bag...let alone a self made corner! How about Bernie Sanders...he could curl some Senate hair!

    Kennedy was shaped by the magnitude of his family and the tragedies...He was eloquent and bombastic and rude by turns but the common people felt he was on their side and he was! It takes a certain background and humility to pull that off..It can not be faked!

    We have not seen them yet!

    August 28, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  69. Darren

    Why Senator Barney Frank, of course.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  70. james in anaheim california

    No one who is forthcoming will be able to fill the proverbial shoes of Sen. Kennedy. Name one senator democratic or republican who would even come close to what Sen. Kennedy brought to the table?

    August 28, 2009 at 4:02 pm |
  71. Laura, Boston

    The best way for the dems to be like Ted Kennedy in this regard would be for the people of my state to elect an independant or republican. Maybe Former Lt. Governor Healey.

    I think my party (I am a dem) is becoming fractured during this health care debate and I see now the major disadvantages of having one party hold all offices. Nothing gets done because the ruling party feels like they "rule the school". Getting things done is why people like me elected these officials into office. Senator Kennedy wasn't ashamed to give up something to get something in return. He truly worked across party lines.

    I want someone else in there capable of doing that.

    Laura, Boston MA

    August 28, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  72. John from Alabama

    Jack: I believe the two most visible Kennedy's might assume the role of leadership. They are Caroline or Patrick, but I am afraid that politics might get in the way of the fire and compassion needed to serve the small guy. My only hope is that health care reform, an energy policy, and justice for the working poor will not die with Senator Teddy Kennedy.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  73. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    I would like to see Joe Kennedy but you never know whether or not he would accept the position. He is the only Kennedy that i believe could come close to assuming the leadership role of the Kennedy's

    August 28, 2009 at 4:03 pm |
  74. OBDAG in Appleton, WI

    I don't think there is anyone that can takeover the role Kennedy held. That is a sad fact since so many other politicians claim they want to reach accross the aisle to work with the other party. In truth I really can not think of one that truly attempts to live up to his or her comments. The only person that might take over that role would be Sen Russ Fiengold of Wisconsin. At least he has a proven background that he has tried on many issues to attempt to work out a compromise. I certainly don't need public statements about doing this, I just want to see that "action" in terms of results. It will be interesting to see would happens in the coming months.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  75. Bob

    HI Jack, I'm writing from Falmouth, MA not to far from Hyannisport. I truly believe we have lost one of a kind with Ted Kennedy. He was a great statesman who can never be replaced. He fought hard for the people of Massachusetts and this nation and won a lot of battles. People like Ted only come along once in a lifetime. He will be missed and I don't believe there is anyone who has the tenacity or work ethic to fills his shoes.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  76. Nancy-Lincoln, NE

    There likely will be a new leader down the road but they won't be assuming Kennedy's leadership role, they will be redefining what leadership is. I puzzle at people who suggest John McCain to fill this void. He can't even get along with a lot of his own party much less work with Democrats beyond Joe Lieberman.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:06 pm |
  77. Allen, Cypress, Texas


    We don't have statesmen anymore. All we have now are ideologues and demagogues. Senator Kennedy will never be replaced. He was a staunch liberal who understands that nothing gets done without compromise. We have a Republican Party that is unfit to apologize for their handling of the state of American affairs when they were in power and are so hellbent on winning that power back by demagoguing the President who's trying to fix their mess. We have a Democratic Party that's running away from its identity. Ted Kennedy will be sorely missed.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  78. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    In a perfect World, and Lord knows we are far from that, no one would be needed to replace Senator Kennedy as we could all come together for the common good of one another.

    Our higher power must be in all relationships, not in an individual, otherwise we will continue to live in dysfunction and turmoil.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  79. Jeff in Virginia


    One person does not need to immediately fill this void. Further, it is nauseating that the media is already trying to coronate John McCain for
    the role.

    Falls Church, VA

    August 28, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  80. David Gerstenfeld

    As a lifelong democrat, the only name that comes to mind is John McCain. He may be a (pardon the expression, republican), but he's an American first & talks both sides of the aisle. But first, he needs to learn to stop saying 'My Friends" in every sentence.

    You did Good Ted !!

    David, Las Vegas

    August 28, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  81. Katiec Pekin, IL

    What in the world was so great about Humphrey and Dirksen?
    There are many others who deserve to be mentioned, but these
    two? One who immediately comes to mind is Lane Evans.
    Much more could get accomplished if politicans would stop playing
    their political games, putting personal gains and interests over the
    welfare of the American people.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  82. Sue

    Sadly, I doubt anyone can replace Sen. Kennedy in spirit and generosity, someone who truly loved the people of our country.

    And psst Wolf, it will never t be John McCain no matter how hard you dream. Lake Oswego, Oregon.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:08 pm |
  83. Laura, Boston


    I am from MA and I can tell you that no one will ever do more for the people than Kennedy did. It would take a book to fill his accomplishments.

    I don't know any single senator currently serving who would put in the work involved to become the type of leader Kennedy was. Even John Kerry doesn't reach across party lines very often.

    My answer would be someone new and refreshing who is moderate like the majority of the people and not afraid to work across the aisle. Maybe someone like Jim Webb.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  84. Pablo in Arlington Texas

    in the Senate and the House at this time there is no one with the brains, the stature, the work ethic, the vision, or the humanity to take Teddy's place. But then, Edward M. Kennedy was not Teddy when he first set foot on the Senate floor.
    Teddy is not something you are, it is something you become.... if, by the grace of God, you have the heart for it.
    Arlington Texas

    August 28, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  85. Jackie in Dallas

    I don’t think that there is anyone in either the House OR the Senate that has the abilities that Senator Kennedy had in abundance.

    Specifically, there really doesn’t look like that there is anyone that has the ability to pull bipartisan support together, or the ability to disagree with someone without insults and anger. There are some who could possibly develop those skills, but it is going to take time for that to happen.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  86. Elizabeth, Clarksville, Tennessee

    No one filled John F. Kennedy's shoes when he was snatched from the Presidency. No one will fill Ted Kennedy's shoes in the Senate. We can hope that in the years to come someone will come along that has the intelligence, charisma, and abilities like Ted Kennedy that can be a good substitute.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  87. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    Possibly the person who takes his spot. I know neither senator from my state, Ohio, has the qualities that you listed for Senator Kennedy.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:12 pm |
  88. David K

    No once can fill his shoes. However if we're looking for a liberal who is not afraid to work across party lines and buck his own party when he knows it is the right thing to do, the only answer can be Senator Russ Feingold.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:13 pm |
  89. Jimmie


    Unfortunately, I don't think anyone can replace Ted Kennedy's influence and voice in the Senate. Perhaps the only senator with enough star power is John McCain. He's known for working across the aisle like Kennedy did, but he still sticks to his conservative principles. I think McCain is the closest thing to replacing Uncle Teddy, but I doubt he could do it. I think the Senate will be missing a "voice" for quite awhile.


    August 28, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  90. Mari, Salt Lake City, Utah

    President Obama, will lead and is leading. He has inspired a new generation of voters like no one since John or Bobby Kennedy. We are expecting great leadership from Barack Obama, even if the GOPers don't..... they have been wrong, very wrong before and are on the wrong side of history this time, also!

    August 28, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  91. Paulette from Dallas,PA

    I think John Kerry will make a play to fill the vacuum. He' been around,knew Kennedy,and has the Heinz fortune behind him.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  92. Ray in Nashville

    No one, Jack, because there are no leaders in the Senate (or House, either.) The men and women now serving first have to ask permission of their wealthy business owners before they can take any action. Of course, this really isn't any change from the past 100 years or so, is it?

    August 28, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  93. Sly, Alpena, Mi

    My only answer is: "Michelle Obama".

    August 28, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  94. Mitch

    Tobey maguire

    August 28, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  95. Annie, Atlanta

    No one. Most of them are bought and paid for by corporate America. We’ve become too stupid to realize we’re being sold down the river by our fearless leaders, to the highest bidders?

    August 28, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  96. Joe CE

    He well well liked & respected, able to get together on some issues with some Democrats & Republicans. However, it recent years it was not areal leadership role. There is nothing to fill.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  97. Roger

    Any liberal arts student can fill the show of sen Kennedy
    Somebody who does not know much macro economics.
    Someone who is emotional instead of intellectual
    Someone who think that the society railroad can be pushed
    by the labor rather than pulled by the financial efficient.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  98. Rick

    I'd like to say I think Mike Huckabee will eventually assume Kennedy's role in the Senate. Not because I believe it or anything. I just think it would be hilarious to hear you say that on TV.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  99. Jeff Grottick


    Three words...Senator Bill Clinton.


    Jeff Grottick
    Toronto, Ontario.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  100. David P Vernon

    Tucson, AZ – For the present, nobody. Ted Kennedy represented a unique combination of personal and family qualities. There is at present no other Senator Kennedy, although there are several of the next Kennedy generation who might try to be. There is also no orator of comparable quality, the only other one now being President. There is no one of equivalent compassion and humanity. Maybe there will be a replacement, in time. but not soon.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  101. Ken Healy

    No doubt Teddy Kennedy's shoes will be very hard to fill. I do believe however that Chris Dodd will emerge as the new leader.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  102. Felicia (Georgia)

    I think it will be his protege from Colorado...Sen. Michael Bennett. Teddy was skilled at placing things in order before his death. He was grooming Bennett to take over his leadership role in the Senate. Seems like a good choice.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  103. Linda Lawrence

    New Mexico senator Jeff Bingaman is a qualified candidate. Solid, committed, hard worker. If it's someone else, let's hope that whoever will have the compassion and work ethic that is in the hearts of the Kennedys.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  104. Larry So Cali

    Jack, There is a Man Named "Thom Hartman". it's too bad more far left people like me don't know about this Man. He has the genius to take apart Neo-cons into such small pieces you would need an "electron Microscope" to find any piece of them...It's too bad more people don't know about Thom Hartman..All the vest...!!!

    August 28, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  105. Mojo Bone

    Affability, charisma, willingness to reach across the aisle for the betterment of average Americans? Al Franken.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  106. pat reed

    Maria Shriver or Donald Trump both care about people and are very smart.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  107. Chris Hanlon

    It is difficult to imagine a replacement who could approach Kennedy's ability and effectiveness anytime soon. My guess is that the new standard-bearer will be John Kerry, Kennedy's fellow liberal and colleague for over twenty years. But even he will, like Kennedy, have to grow into the role.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  108. Janice from Collingswood NJ

    It is sad to say but they don't make men like the Kennedy's anymore. Kennedy had the passion, character, compassion, integrity and personality it takes to make America a better place. Maybe there is someone in a college political science course who will one day carry the banner but until then we seem to be out of luck.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  109. Karen in Newark NJ

    Probably not one of the remaining Senators has the ability to "work a room" the way Kennedy did.I just hope we don't try to honor his memory with some piece of junk legislation instead of the real reform which he knew we need.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  110. James Richmond, VA

    Your analogy of the senate to a snake pit is very appropriate. At this time, I can't name a possible replacement for Ted. On the other hand, everyone knows who the snakes are. Why can't the voters educate themselves and stop sending the snakes to Washington?

    August 28, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  111. Darryl Price, Denville NJ

    There are only a few statesment left. Its at times like this that I am reminded of just how much we miss Senator Paul Wellstone. With that said, I'd cast my vote for Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, or John Tester of Montana. If only seniority weren't a prerequisite because far too many Senators these days are followers rather than leanders, care more about getting reelected than getting things done and are prone to checking the prevailing political winds before casting their votes rather than simply acting on principal. Rest in peace, Teddy. We miss you.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  112. Dave

    Jack, those are going to be hard shoes to fill but I think that Dodd or Chuck Schemer would be my guess.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  113. Mark M San Francisco CA

    Well the wording of the question is wrong, there will never be anyone to "assume" Mr Kennedy's role.

    There is no one that can "assume" his position, I assume a Democrat will be elected to his seat since the voters will be voting.

    I also "assume" things will never be the same, he was one of the last carring people on the job, the rest are about there party and only there party, and not for the people as Kennedy was.

    So I "assume" things will never be the same, and I "assume" its all down hill from here.

    God Help us now that one of the Super Hereos has fallen, and the Jokers are going to take over without someone to keep them in control.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  114. john armstrong

    I think it's bound to be Maria Shriver. Of all the Kennedy's she best has the profile, the talent and the passion to carry on her uncle's legacy, especially while health care is still up in the air. She might even decide to run for the seat permanently, or turn it over to her husband when Arnold's term as Governor runs out.

    John Armstrong Trenton Ontario Canada

    August 28, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  115. Torvin in savannah Ga.

    We have all suffered a great loss Jack. Who can be the new "LION"?? well there's not a good litter to pick from but as a registered democrat i'd give my vote to Sen. Kerry.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  116. Victor

    Nobody understands his passion & commitment for reform better than his wife. Therefore she should take over his seat in order to preserve the great senator's legacy & commitment for change.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  117. John C. Schoeni (Shaney)

    Caroline Kennedy. Somehow the powers that be will have to solve the residency situation. But I am sure they will figure it out. That’s why Caroline passed up the New York senate seat because she was secretly talked to about taking Senator Kennedy's seat, by Senator Kennedy and/or the Kennedy family. Who else could carry the torch that was passed to her father, then to her uncle Bob, then to her uncle Ted, and would have been passed to her brother, but is now passed to her for a long time to come.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  118. David Hernandez

    without a doubt, Jim Webb is a strong candidate.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  119. Pugas-AZ

    I think Chris Dodd would be a good choice. This is a good time for someone with finance commite experince to step up. Certainly not either half of the Polosi/Reid act.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  120. Steve

    With the passing of Senator Kennedy, it is time for Patrick Kennedy to step up and take his father's role as the the voice of the voiceless and continue the Kennedy family's goal of helping every single American.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  121. Dave Welhouse

    It will be difficult for anyone to fill Senator Kennedy's shoes because he was from a safe demoractic state that reelected him time after time and he entered the Senate years ago when "compromise" wasn't such a dirty word. We have a polarized Senate and House today that it is a wonder anything ever gets passed, but my hope lies in Senator Fiengold. He worked with John McCain on the campaign finance bill. McCain could be, but he has to run to the right to stay off a challenge from someone in his own party this next year.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  122. Trina Wallace

    Senator Kerry possesses all the attributes needed to effect the leadership to pass an inclusive health care bill. The US Senate should undertake the passage of such a bill in honor of the life work of Senator Kennedy - not to mention the need of so many hard working Americans. Don't get me started.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  123. Jackie

    No one else has the star power, or is as smart or as charismatic as Ted, Hillary,or Barack. Maybe it could have been Joe Biden, but that is no longer an option. I can't think of anyone else other than these super star dems.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  124. Glenn from St.Petersburg

    Jack, the loss of Sen. Ted Kennedy probably can't be measured in terms of leadership, personality, conviction, and helping the little guy. But, to answer your question, how 'bout me? I'm the piano player at my church, and I think I could do at least as good a job as those plundering, arrogant, hypocritical, feelingless, greedy, self indulgent folks that now inhabit the Senate. Have I got your vote?

    August 28, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  125. suzi hauman

    Jack...look, if a former 'food service person' (Mary Bono) could take over Sonny Bono's Congressional seat, SURELY an intelligent, experienced, Lawyer with a political background such as Vicki Kennedy could hang in there for a few months...I'd LOVE to see her do it!!!

    August 28, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  126. Chris Bevers

    Don't be too quick to dismiss Russ Feingold. He did a forum recently at our local newspaper here in northeast Wisconsin this week, and even as a supporter, I was most impressed with his bipartisan spirit.

    He is a thoughtful, centrist thinker, not nearly as liberal as Senator Kennedy, and based on previous legislation with his name on it has able to reach across the aisle to other centrists in the Republican party (think McCain-Feingold).

    He's also not an automatic vote in President Obama's corner, so when it comes to health care reform he might be counted on as a more independent voice. We are very fortunate to have him representing us in the US Senate.

    Chris Bevers
    Kaukauna, Wisconsin

    August 28, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  127. Jeanne, Hagerstown, MD

    The only obvious person that comes to mind for me is, another Kennedy. With 20 + nieces and nephews, most groomed for public service, there is no doubt one waiting in the wings for this moment. It's probably even been discussed within "the family".

    August 28, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  128. Jeff

    if there is any replacement i should be his widow Vicky.
    but this is America and I bet the seat will be open until 2010's election.
    good old America's legislators hard at work as usual.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  129. christopher morrissette

    Robert Kennedy, John Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr, Franklin Rosevelt, etc... Get the picture Jack. No one will re-place the lion but his roar will continue to be herd decades from now

    August 28, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  130. DeeDee

    I cannot imagine any leader anywhere who performed as well as Senator Kennedy did. He certainly exceeded anything that I thought was possible in an elected official. But that being said, I choose to see the glass half full. There are a lot of "great people" out there. They just need to be given a chance. We didn't know anything about Barack Obama until a few years ago.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  131. ken m.

    Jack, it wii be a kennedy which one ,who knows, but the family will not let this past buy, and when it comes to set the election i pitty any one who runs ,since there will be a kennedy there also , the family and treadition will make it so, i remember only 2 time i seen my cry, the lose of a new born ,and the day president kennedy died, he cryed like a baby, i found that as even a teanager very hard to take, of the three i belive teddy was the one who did the most , but we just do not know what the world would of been like if the two brothers lived, how much futher this country would of been, but teddy spent all those years looking behine always wondering if he would be next, but his life changed and touched every american. ken

    August 28, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  132. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Since we can't get Hillary Clinton, I'd like to see Former President Bill Clinton assume Senator Kennedy's role. I think he would shakeup things in the Senate without roaring like a Lion and that's exactly what's needed.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  133. Linda in Arizona

    Only another Kennedy can replace him. As of now, there is NOBODY. John Jr. might have been able to, but they killed him too. I hope his widow takes his seat in the Senate and then runs and wins. She must share his values, but nobody can replace him. Nobody.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  134. Lew, Poconos, PA

    Arlen Spector of PA has the guts to stand up for what is right, even at the loss of his Senate seniority caused by his switching parties. He believes in America and is a worthy successor to the Kennedy legacy.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  135. Ann Reay

    Look for the underestimated, the ridiculed, the one damaged and dismissed to rise to this occasion. Look for the person who wants to be a part of something rather than above it all. It's likely we're overlooking this person right now.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  136. Mike

    How about Al Franken? He's from the land of Humphrey and influenced by Paul Wellstone and Dan Moynahan; he's a witty, likable, progressively idealogical political wonk with no ties to special interests like other, "long in the tooth" legislators. Just what this Senate needs...Fresh horses!!

    August 28, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  137. Ken in NC

    The Open seat will be filled but the void left by Senator Kennedy will never be filled again. He is the only man I have ever known that had and thought of those that had not. He was not perfect but he was good.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  138. Patrick, Seattle

    Why don't you run Jack? We could use some of your optimism in the Senate!

    August 28, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  139. Michael in Albuquerque, NM

    It is time for the public to step up and take a leadership role. We must stay informed and intouch with our representatives, and tel them where we stand.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  140. Casey from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

    I believe that it will be Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island, who will replace Ted Kennedy as the liberal icon. Sheldon is a relatively young Senator, who he is a very liberal senator on the left. The Democrat leadership is very pleased with on his stance on issues, especially on torture, and he was the very few senators that voted to give funds for Obama to close GITMO.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  141. Michael

    So wonderful you just mentioned Hubert Humphrey! He's a man who had his hand in every piece of great liberal social legislation form Truman through Johnson. Yet he has been almost totally written out of popular American consciousness. He's even the guy who coined the term "we can disagree without being disagreeable." People should never forget Hubert Humphrey. America wouold be a lot better off if he was here today to lead us

    August 28, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  142. mary j ankney

    Senator Jim Webb will be the next lion on the hill!

    August 28, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  143. Louis Brizzolara

    I believe Babara Boxer (D-CA) will emerge as the new leader of the Liberal Wing of the Democatic Party. After her years in California Politics she knows how to move in an incremental way toward the final result needed. I think she has been severly under estimated in the past , and she will come into her own now.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  144. Jim in Illinois

    There have been many Senators who worked across the aisle. Senators like Everett Dirksen, Paul Simon and Paul Douglas for example. Jack Kennedy once said Illinois' Paul Douglas would have made a great president. Teddy had the celebrity, but he also did the hard work. We don't need more celebrities, we need more hard work.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  145. Melanie E., Indiana

    Two words, Bernie Sanders. Senator Sanders passionately fights every bit as hard for working people in this country and is just as capable of roaring as Senator Kennedy was . The history of the Democrats and Republicans in the Senate as of late is a disgrace and perhaps handing over the reigns to an official who puts people before either "party" is exactly what we need right now. I am not from Vermont but feel as many others do, my Senators are worthless so I have adopted Senator Sanders as my own. My own Senators don't answer my e-mails or concerns yet a Senator 1000 miles away in another state always does. I would also keep an eye on Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Jim Webb of Virginia. Both are honest men who will spend there time in the Senate fighting for the middle-class. I believe both men will do great things in the future.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  146. Fred Ratte

    Senator Webb of Virginia comes to mind. His response to Bush’s “State of the Union Address” nailed it. He is a very fair, responsible, intelligent individual.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  147. Betty, San Diego, Ca.

    There is no clear prospect to fill Ted Kennedy's leadership role in the Senate. It is leadership by committee for now.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  148. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    There is no doubt that he leaves behind a huge void........and I don't see anyone on the scene currently that has the chops to fill it. It will have to be a new face, and probably someone currently flying below the radar.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  149. Kevin,Fl

    I would like to say , incredibly sad whenever a Human Life passes on, and I wish that family the best. However , whomever it is that assumes the role, I personally just hope theyd choose a more "Middle" direction.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  150. Steve G. J

    I am always amazed when someone like Sen. Kenndy dies. The rest of us need to sit down and shut up, the people of that state I feel certain know who should be their next representative.
    It is a sad day for the country and for that wounderful family who have given all of us so much.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  151. Larry

    We didn't know how great a legislator Ted Kennedy was for a long time. In fact he did not have a very favorable image in most of the country. He apparently had all the gifts to learn the process needed to get the job done.
    I belive there are others who given time in office will be able to learn and develope into leaders that we need within our system of government.

    None will be able to exactly fill his shoes but hopefully they will be in different shoes that could be even more effective.

    Under our system we don't need to depend on individual politicians but on our system that has worked pretty good for over 200 years.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  152. Katiec Pekin, IL

    Problem is, Jack, it takes many years to learn how to play the game effectively, as that is the only way to get anything done in politics.
    Ted Kennedy, because of his knowledge, determination and senority was able to cross the line and debate, pursuade, and push the right
    Today, too many politicans have no interest in any idea, cause, plan but their own and are not open to what could be best for our country.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  153. Jeffrey in Atlanta, GA

    I hope no one will fill his "leadership" role. I respect Sen. Kennedy for all he did, but lifelong congressmen are not good for the country. A senator should have one or two terms, then make way for someone else, that keeps them representing the people instead of their own interests.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  154. Clint Lynnwood Wa.

    No one can fill his shoes, but I think that Bill Clinton come closer then anyone.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  155. Jack Hedden from Whitesboro, TX

    It must be someone who is not ashamed to be called a liberal and will stand up for liberal convictions. They must also have senatoral seniority and be respected for their convictions and respectful of the positions of others. Senator Russ Fiengold or perhaps Senator Diane Fienstien are possibilities. I probably spelled both names incorrectly.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  156. Lucy

    I admittedly do not know enough about current senators and their relationships to each other and the Senate as a whole to give an educated response to this question. Intuitively, I would say: nobody. Maybe John Kerry.
    SF, CA
    writing from: Garching, Germany

    August 28, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  157. PAT California

    I don't think Caroline is strong enough. My choice would be Maria Shriver! I wish she would get more deeply into politics. She would also make a good governor for California when her husband's term is up. With a Republican husband she can see both sides. She would be my choice!

    August 28, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  158. Ellid

    Mark in OKC –

    Sorry, but unlike New York, Massachusetts requires that a Senator actually live here. Caroline Kennedy is not eligible and will not be eligible before the January special election.

    My choice for the next great Senator? Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, or freshman Amy Klobuchar would be my pick.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  159. Canaman

    I don't think Hillary could have been a viable choice , even if she had remained in the Senate. People see her as somehow divisive and partisan. However, Obama would have been a viable choice had he not won the presidency. I think John McCain could assume the leadership. He just needs to drop his temper. On the side, Jack, can you ask Wolf why he has lost his neutral coverage these days? Is his spot being sponsored by Health Insurance companies?

    I know you won't dare to ask him since you might lose your job as well, Jack.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  160. Dave, AB, Canada

    Jack the choice is obvious – James Carville. First we need to get him elected...and maybe a hat.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  161. notfooledbydistractions

    There is no one – democrat or republican – serving now that has the motivation for the common people like Kennedy did. Our senators and representatives are all beholden to corporations and industry first, party second, their own pockets third, and their constituents fall somewhere way down the line. There's no one to stand up and truly serve the needs of the people. It's a shame.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  162. Larry in TN

    The other Senators are more concerned about campaign fund raising, egocentric self-agrandizement, and pay no heed to what the citizens, who cast the votes that put them in office, are really wanting. In most Senator's minds it is all about me, myself and I with little to no concern for the plight of the other citizens of the U.S.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:43 pm |
  163. STAN - IL.

    Bill Clinton or Jim Webb, very tough guys.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  164. Linda Coderre


    I don't know who (Maybe Mike Dukakas), for the four or five month period unti someone can be elected. As far as electing someone to fill Teddy's seat, well it's Joe Kennedy Junior, and none other.

    I lived my entire life until 2000, in Massachusetts. Joe was an excellent representative in Washington. Then he decided that he wanted to run for governor, his wife was going to write a trashy book about their marriage, and his late brother Michael, got into the headline busting affair with a baby sitter.

    I don't see how they can ignor him, unless Patrick wants to move up from Congress. A lot of the Kennedy Kids could do it, as they are probably very well versed on what's going on. But for my mind, Joe would be good.

    Linda Coderre
    Lynchburg, VA

    August 28, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  165. Herman Johnson

    Hopefully, someone who has the education, integrity, power, and wealth hailing from a family tradition of giving the last full measure of devotion in behalf of a people where they too are witnesses of exclusion by the wealthy, powerful, White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  166. Terry, Chandler AZ

    Jack , you failed to mention Sen. Harry Reid as a possible candidate to take over the role once held by Sen. Kennedy. I'd have to say Sen. Dodd or Durbin. No way can Kerry project a leadership image. As for Reid: well I wonder why he is in his present position.

    August 28, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  167. Jim

    Jack, A leadership role in the Senate will be granted not appointed. Based on: a quick wit, intelligence, humility after force, atriculate on several levels, good at horse trading, sometimes a long memory and sometimes a short memory, able to burn bridges, perifial vision, piercing eyes, doesn't dreive slow in the fast lane or fast in the slow lane and never behind tinted windows, but most of all never forgets a face or name. All of the above will serve the nation well.
    Jim Los Angeles

    August 28, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  168. Sharon, Rockford, IL

    Given these polarizing times, I doubt there is anyone that could pick up for Teddy in the short run. Teddy knew where the bodies were buried and was able to get things done. Today the senate is all about "me" rather than the good of the country. Very few are able to look at the big picture, they would rather serve their own self interests regardless of the outcome.

    August 28, 2009 at 5:05 pm |