The Insiders: Political valentines

A few political valentines for today.

One goes out to Sen. Tom Harkin, whose tough-minded liberalism has never wavered. There was no better ally and no one more compassionate. He leaves behind a great legacy, most notably the Americans with Disabilities Act, which is a tribute to his late, beloved brother, Frank Harkin, and a law that makes all of our lives richer and better.

To Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who may run again. He is the embodiment of his scrappy, in-your-face state. People have counted him out for years, but he’s a winner, and he has delivered on infrastructure and the environment for his state. He is a son of Patterson, New Jersey, and they know how to fight up there.

To John Boehner, whose world-weariness is earned and is proof of someone trying to do a public service when he could be having a lot more fun.

To Susan Rice, who put her loyalty to her boss above her own ambition and made it easy for her boss to appoint John Kerry as secretary of state.

To Robert Caro and Richard Ben Cramer, one for his books on the exercise political power, the other for his seminal work on what it takes to get that power.

To David Axelrod, whose compass never wavered.

To the Supreme Court for its decision to uphold the new health-care law and in anticipation of it not blocking gay marriage.

To all the first-time voters — you never forget your first one.

And because it’s a day to be sappy: To our democracy, we put each other through a lot, but we’re still in love.

 

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