Ted Kennedy is synonymous with "liberal." He lived the label. And, apparently he was a decent guy to friends of varied stripes.
In 1992 I ran for US Congress. I lost in the primary to Jennifer Dunn. Dunn had four times as much money, campaigned five times longer than I had, and won by only one vote per precinct.
During that campaign I flew to Washington D.C. and met with Republican members to seek support. One office I visited was that of U. S. Senator Orrin Hatch.
At the time, Hatch was known as a conservative. As I entered to meet him, I couldn't help but notice the painting that was the focal point of the entry way. I can't remember the picture but I do remember that it was signed by Ted Kennedy! Kennedy had painted his friend a gift and memento of their friendship.
Gifts from across the isle come in different forms. One I received came in the form of an invitation. I was being politically attacked by my own Republican Majority leader, Senator Jim West. (This is the same guy that later became Mayor of Spokane and made national news for using a city computer to surf for boys, for giving jobs for sex, and other things.) West didn't like women a close associate of his later told me. So, he went after me in the press. It had been precipitated after I became aware of some questionable emails in Olympia. He jerked me around in the press for weeks. He had help doing this, of course. He wanted what he generated in the press to be used against me in a campaign. "He wants you out of office," said former Senator Kent Pullen. "Do you understand me? He wants you out of office!"
I lost 15lbs. in six weeks as he attacked me. West was eventually recalled from office. He died without family, discredited (even Jay Leno mocked him). Because of his credibility issues my opponent was unable to use what West had generated to use against me.
The days were dark. I couldn't eat. My own leader was attacking me. And, my good friend, mentor, and employer outside of the legislature passed away of cancer as all this was happening.
The invitation was from Senator Adam Klein. He could see what was happening to me. He watched as my leader attacked my integrity. West wanted to keep me busy thinking I was going to come forward with emails that were found.
Senator Klein asked me out to dinner and we ate and talked. Yes, he learned what was going on in our caucus. But, he took the time when I needed it. Adam is the most liberal member of the Senate. I am a conservative. On issues the lines are usually drawn. But, it doesn't mean we can't respect the person for their characteristics, including kindness and honesty.
Ted Kennedy...I didn't know you. But, I believe you were loyal to your beliefs and fought hard for your issues. In death, I will remember the good things you did while reconfirming my own beliefs. And, I will remember a nice thing a liberal did for me.