The Body Politic

Sensible discourse on issues of the day since 2003

Kimberly Krautter

Kimberly Krautter
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
October 26
Southern fried iconoclast and Atlanta native Kimberly Krautter is The Anti-Coulter. She blogs about the intersection of public communications and public policy with a side order of musings on pop culture. For 22 years, Ms. Krautter has been a strategic communications consultant to Fortune 500 and emerging industry companies as well as a freelance journalist published in business magazines in the U.S., U.K. and France. Her social commentary has been featured in the Atlanta Journal Constitution with light-hearted series featured in Atlanta magazine and others. A popular early blogger, "The Body Politic" was originally hosted on Typepad and has now migrated to Open Salon. Known to have the swiftest soapbox in the South and for being staunchly anti-wing nut, Ms. Krautter believes, "Liberal is not a four-letter word, for that matter neither is Conservative, and solutions are found in the Sensible Center where people are eager to speak with each other instead of just being heard." She is currently authoring a major journalistic work titled "Foreclosure on the Fourth Estate: How spin-fluence and info-tainment killed the American newspaper." Follow her on Twitter @kimbrlykrautter [note: there is no "e" in the "kimbrly" portion of the Twitter handle.]

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AUGUST 26, 2009 2:33PM

10,000 Words from Ted Kennedy: A little girl and the Lion

Rate: 7 Flag

By Kimberly Krautter

The first time I met The Lion of the Senate, I was not nearly as in awe of him as I was of then House Speaker Tip O'Neill. I was about eleven years old and four-foot nothing, and the Speaker was enormous to me. In truth, he dwarfed most. Being precocious and a political junkie even then, I was of course aware that both were giants, and I was eager to sponge every essence of the meetings. I was impressed for all of the obvious reasons but also because both gentlemen had a twinkle in their eyes, a mirthful laugh and massive paws that enveloped mine into a generous but gentle handshake that pulled me into a hug.

I also remember being so proud of my dad whom I was shadowing as he made visits on The Hill, championing his dream -- and an official project of the State of Georgia -- of helping Americans learn as much about citizenship as they know about baseball. Each listened to my dad, agreed it was important, pledged their support, and I believed them. Neither let him down. The dream and the project live on.

The second time I met Senator Kennedy it was on a political junket with "The Dean's List," a group of high donor fundraisers for Governor Howard Dean's Presidential Primary campaign. We had been invited to participate in the "Unity" events that aimed to get all Democrats and party backers on board for the John Kerry nomination. Our friend Terry Lierman put together an amazing day of small group meetings with Democratic Party luminaries from both congressional chambers, and we were all very impressed and honored. But THE man we were most excited and abuzz to meet was Senator Ted Kennedy.

He did not disappoint.

The broad, welcoming grin, the twinkle in the eye and the mirth I remembered were there, but our group was treated to something entirely different. There was an urgency in his message to us that day. We must be unified. Our young people were dying in a senseless war while our enemies were being emboldened and multiplying as our military endeavors were distracted from the real perpetrators of 9/11. And if we didn't unify on the matter of health care reform, our entire economy would face collapse and the government would go bankrupt. We had to get together.

I remember thinking, wow. This is one man who can use 10,000 words to say something so simple. The thought was one of admiration for how earnest he was and how he spoke, not as a grizzled, jaded and fading political vet. Rather, he spoke with the vim and vigor of a young pup candidate, a true believer.

And so, we believed him. I wonder if we'll let him down?

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… wonder if we'll let him down? Kimberley, lets hope not.

Two giants in one day must have been an incredible experience to be there at an age when you knew more than given credit. You were able to watch these men – both examples of what is good in politics – help your dad marshal his dream into law. And they inspired a girl to follow hers, too, I’d imagine.

The passing of Senator Kennedy will hopefully bring back some of the civil conversation between of lawmakers.

- rated
It was a whirlwind day. Actually, we met many Congressmen and Senators over a few days. I trotted along in my dad's shadow. We even attended Senate committee meetings (where I took notes -- wonder where they are now??? Must find that box!) Kennedy and O'Neill stood out in my mind. The others were a blur. Names I remember, but not the actual encounters. It was amazing!!
Yes, you need to find those notes.... who knows what you jotted down.
But, I am sure they will be interesting.
You have led an interesting life so far. Just getting that close to movers/shakers is a privilege few of us will ever have.
"We" would never let Ted Kennedy down, but "we" don't seem to have much a voice in "our" Party.
We can only hope that by reflecting on Ted's contributions we'll find our voice growing loud enough to be heard by the Democratic Party leadership.

The hope still lives, but the dream is in the ICU.

Godspeed, Senator Kennedy.
Thanks, Paul. Perhaps "we" just need to be more insistent on being heard. Perhaps we should bug the heck out of our Representatives and Senators to make absolutely sure OUR voices are being heard over the vicious cacophony. Thanks as ever! Kimberly
Beautiful. I met Ted Kennedy twice - both and was impressed by his warmth and his genuine interest in the people he was, sort of, forced to meet! I had nothing to do with politics - my friend was dating his son. Well, that was the first time I met him. The second time was random - I was working as a caterer at a fundraiser on Martha's Vineyard, and said how pleased I had been to meet him the year before. And he remembered the encounter in detail.

I loved him, in the way you do, I think. He was my Senator for my entire life - except for the years I didn't live in Massachusetts, of course - but even then he was MY Senator.
I appreciate your memories;what a beautiful tribute to him. Thanks.
Kent & Aim, thanks for the kudos. So pleased you enjoyed the piece.

Aim -- how wonderful that you had Ted Kennedy as *your* Senator. I'm not surprised he remembered your first meeting in such detail. The hallmark of a great statesman like him is the ability to authentically connect with people. And it seems that all the people were his people. He truly cared. Following my dad around The Hill in the 70's I was priviledged to meet several true Statesmen. Howard Baker is another I truly admired. I so wish more of today's leaders would study their forebears. Or maybe we just need to demand that? Maybe both.

OK, now I am finally going to cry. Thanks for this Kimberly, and thanks im for the comments. I only loved him from afar.
Had we elected Kerry and Obama we would probably stil have the same foreign policy with Bush and McCain. We vote for shills and puppets who pretend they are representing our interests instead of their financial backer's. Meanwhile nothing changes except the speeches. We get better excuses for being all over the middle east as opposed to getting the fuck out of there. Idealists are fruitcakes.
The Kennedys have it made. Give a few good speeches and people overlook the date rape and alcoholism.
Bitter much, Mr. Thompson? Your retorts do a disservice to the gonzo guy you purport to imitate.