Entries Tagged as 'George Bush'

Bush Family Splits on Romney Versus Daniels

David Frum May 19th, 2011 at 10:45 am 10 Comments

News that Jeb Bush and Laura Bush have urged Mitch Daniels to enter the Republican race raises the question: is there a generation gap in the Bush family? Or a change of mind? It was only the other day that the senior Bushes were telling Larry King that they were all in for Mitt Romney.

My Opponent, Senator Kennedy

August 27th, 2009 at 11:39 pm 13 Comments

The news of Edward Kennedy’s death late Tuesday night was not unexpected. When we learned last week that the Senator had been unable to attend the funeral of his sister, hospital Eunice Shriver, we knew his own end must be near. That knowledge and the emotional preparation it allowed for do not, however, temper our grief or diminish the sense of loss that our country—especially its political institutions—has suffered by virtue of his passing.

I suspect that my own feelings are a bit more complicated or nuanced than are those of many of my friends and associates, for I have never been able to forget—nor entirely get over—Senator Kennedy’s challenge to my old boss, Jimmy Carter, for the 1980 Democratic presidential nomination. I believed then and believe today that Kennedy’s 1980 candidacy was both unnecessary and unjustified. In my opinion, it was a candidacy based more upon ambition than principle, well-crafted and skillfully-delivered speeches to the contrary notwithstanding. That year’s intra-party challenge damaged Carter enormously, and helped propel the Republican nominee, Ronald Reagan, to victory in the fall. As a result, the cause of progressive politics and government was derailed for a generation.

But far more intense than either that memory or that complaint is the realization that Edward Kennedy’s life and career over the past five decades represented a constant reminder that it was his brothers, John and Robert, who inspired me and many others to become engaged in politics in the first place.

Ted Kennedy, like Jack and Bobby before him, taught us to believe in politics as a powerful instrument for change in our society. In the late 1960s when I was an organizer in the national drive to extend the vote to 18-year olds, Ted Kennedy was one of our most active and effective advocates. More recently, for those of us who believe in and have been working to achieve standards-based education reform and school accountability, Ted Kennedy has been an unwavering champion, even in the face of opposition from longtime political allies. In between, Ted Kennedy put his stamp on just about every major area of American life.

Throughout his career, Ted Kennedy never allowed any of us to forget that public service may be a citizen’s most noble calling. He also enjoyed the game of politics… he relished the battles and the celebrations, the strategizing and the debating, the arguments and the alliances. Because he was so good at the game he was fun to watch—even if you were on or rooting for the opposing team.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, to Edward Kennedy “bipartisanship” was a lot more than some gauzy notion of political happy talk. Instead, it was about the nitty-gritty of making public policy; it was about deal cutting, and trade-offs, and of working across the aisle whenever necessary to move an issue or an agenda ahead. Ted Kennedy knew that being mean is not the same as being tough, that being stubborn is not the same as being resolute, and that when it comes to legislative politics being right is no substitute for being successful.

This is a very sad time for Democrats of all stripes, and for those Republicans and independents who appreciate skilled leaders no matter what their ideology. For those of us whose careers have put us in the political and governmental arenas for any period and at any level, we have lost a valuable role model. And for people of my age, a chapter in our lives has ended… sadly and permanently.