Dana Milbank: The missing giants of the Senate (Washington Post)
July 10, 2012
Four years ago this week, Ted Kennedy changed history with the sheer force of his will.
Senate Democrats, battling with the Bush administration, were one vote short of the total they needed to maintain a key provision of Medicare. Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, then used a lifeline: He called Kennedy, who was in Boston receiving chemotherapy for brain cancer, and pleaded for the liberal giant to return to Washington to provide the clinching vote. When Kennedy walked onto the floor on July 9, 2008, senators on both sides erupted in cheers, and some wept. The Medicare bill passed — with nine Republican senators switching their previous votes to be on Kennedy’s side.