If you ask leading Democrats who can replace Ted Kennedy as the Senate’s liberal standard-bearer, the most frequent answer is “nobody,” writes Doyle McManus of the Los Angeles Times. No one has a record to match Kennedy’s, and in today’s Senate, building one would be virtually impossible. "The Senate is much more polarized than it was when Kennedy arrived in 1962, and that makes legislating—especially legislating based on bipartisan compromise—more difficult," McManus writes.
Kennedy had the advantage of never having to worry much about re-election. That let him burnish his liberal credentials so that when he managed to forge a compromise with Republicans, he could convince Democrats to go along. His death "may also mark the end of an era in the Senate, from a chamber where legislators often crossed the aisle to make bipartisan deals to one where party unity has become the rule."