Loss Of Kennedy's Senate Influence Still Palpable05:13

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. (AP)
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. (AP)

One year ago Wednesday, Sen. Edward Kennedy died of brain cancer at his home in Hyannisport.

Since then, the political landscape has changed dramatically. As partisan divides have emerged, and an oft-threatened filibuster slows progress in the Senate, Boston Globe editor Peter Canellos says the loss of Kennedy's behind-the-scenes influence in the Senate remains obvious.

"Kennedy's skills were in securing commitments early on from various senators, sort of private commitments," Canellos said. "He really understood how far each member would go, in what they would back and in what were immovable obstacles for them."

Now, Canellos said, that influence is missed.

"I think that the Democrats particularly have suffered in his absence," Canellos said.

Over his career, Kennedy exerted his political weight in support of health care reform — the so-called "work of his life." It passed in March after months of fraught partisan negotiations. Canellos said Kennedy's presence might have made that process smoother.

"I think he would have brought home the health care legislation in a better time frame and with less political cost and he would have helped to broker agreements on some of these other issues," he said.


This program aired on August 25, 2010.