September 19, 2006


Democrat, Republican and a Bond of Addiction (MARK LEIBOVICH, 9/19/06, NY Times)

In the precarious course of his recovery, Mr. Kennedy, the 39-year-old son of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, has come to rely heavily on [Representative Jim Ramstad, a Republican from Minnesota], 60. He has served as Patrick Kennedy’s sponsor, his primary source of advice and support in what he calls “the daily fight for my life” against addiction.

The day after the accident, Mr. Kennedy received a phone call from Mr. Ramstad, a recovering alcoholic who has been an evangelist in Congress for addiction treatment and 12-step recovery programs. The men did not know each other well.

But in battling their addictions, the two built a fast kinship that flouts the partisan divisions of Congress, their own divergent politics and the conditional nature of so many friendships in Washington. They speak daily, often several times. Mr. Ramstad visited Mr. Kennedy during his 28-day rehabilitation, driving two hours each Saturday from his Minnetonka home.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 19, 2006 11:41 AM

A profile in personal courage! Too bad it's going to put him on the Kossak "watch list" what with him saying that "he's learning to take orders from a republican."

Posted by: Dave W at September 19, 2006 11:52 AM

I've told the story here before, but the Grandfather Judd owed his seat on the Federal bench to Patrick's dad. Robert F. Kennedy and Jack Javits had a deal whereby for every couple judges that RFK got to pick Javits would get one. He'd picked our grandfather but when RFK got shot the Johnson White House wanted to drop him and name a Democrat instead. Javits went to Ted Kennedy and explained what was going on, so he interceded with the White House.

Posted by: oj at September 19, 2006 12:00 PM

And of course Teddy famously has his Senate freidnship with Orrin Hatch, so it's not as if the Kennedys have been at the forefront of the Howard Dean-style of politics that not only champions liberal, statist causes and spouts inflamatory rhetoric, but also goes in-your-face to demonize Republicans and anyone seen as to their political right (i.e. the Lieberman-Lamont clashes).

Teddy's not Tip O'Neill throwing back a drink with Reagan behind closed doors after hours, but he's not the Daily Kos folks, either. So it's not all that surprising to find Patrick bonding with a House Republican based on a mutually shared interest/flaw that on this issue brings them together.

Posted by: John at September 19, 2006 12:12 PM