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Ted Kennedy: "What did Daniel Webster Do?"... Seriously?



In President Obama's eulogy to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, he recounted an incident when still a senator wherein Kennedy asked him for a vote on a measure scheduled for St. Patrick's Day. Senator Obama thought the bill had little chance of passage, but promised to vote for it. When the vote was over, the measure passed to Obama's surprise. "Luck of the Irish," Kennedy quipped to the junior senator from Illinois.

Said the President: "Of course, luck had little to do with Ted Kennedy's legislative success, and he knew that. A few years ago, his father-in-law told him that he and Daniel Webster just might be the two greatest senators of all time. Without missing a beat, Teddy replied, "What did Webster do?"

We know Kennedy was joking (a statue of Webster graces the grounds of both the state houses of Massachusetts and New Hampshire), but we cannot let this statement, brought to our attention by a friend, pass without comment. For instance, New Hampshire-born Daniel Webster wrote all his own speeches and managed his senatorial duties without an Ivy League educated staff to prop him up. In fact, senators in Webster's day had no staff support at all, even responding to constituents in their own hand at their small desks on the senate floor. No saint (who is?), Webster incredibly pleaded (and won) landmark cases before the U.S. Supreme Court throughout his adult life, even as a sitting senator, cases that set a young nation on a steady legal course.

Two things Daniel Webster (born of a poor farmer) and Ted Kennedy (born to privilege and wealth) had in common, they both represented the Bay State in the nation's upper house for many years, and they both liked the booze. Otherwise, Kennedy and Webster had nothing in common. For more on Webster, click here, here, and here. Oh, and P.S. Daniel Webster did not write that dictionary. -- Dean Dexter.

-- Posted August 31, 2009



Bob Novak RIP

The late syndicated columnist Bob Novak and Dean Dexter discuss the publcation of a biography of the late New Hampshire governor and long-time U.S. Senator Styles Bridges, who Novak knew well. Novak was in New Hampshire attending a  reception for the publication of the book by Dr. James J. Kiepper April 27, 2001. Novak, who wrote the foreword for the book, announced his retirement as a syndicated columnist on August 4, 2008 after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. He succumbed to the illness on August 18, 2009. Click here. -- Roland Young Photo. -- Posted August 18, 2009



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