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Paul Kirk on Principles & Values


Passion for anonymity and discretion

The first thing you should know about Paul Kirk is that he is the soul of discretion. You will not see him, I'm willing to bet, on cable talk shows or calling press conferences. Rare for Washington, he has had a passion for anonymity and was generally so tight-lipped he would not tell you if your coat was on fire. He keeps his word and he would keep your secret.
Source: Mark Shields editorial in Newberg Graphic Sep 29, 2009

1985: abolished Democratic Party caucuses

In 1985, Democrats' spirits were low. The national party was broke and widely viewed as a collection of coddled special interests.

The national Democratic Party then was constitutionally incapable of saying no to any semi-organized clique based loosel upon gender, ethnicity, or personal conduct that sought status as a sanctioned party caucus. Caucuses were forever issuing their own non-negotiable demands. Chairman Kirk--over the noisy threats of caucus addicts--straightforwardly abolished Democratic Party caucuses.

He announced that the Democratic Party would again compete in the South by his decision that Atlanta would be the site of the party's 1988 national convention. He directed that the written party platform would no longer be an endless compilation of the wish lists of every influence-seeking faction.

Heading into the 1988 general election, the party was solvent, remarkably united and running on a platform that was a relatively succinct, if deliberately vague, statement of principles.

Source: Mark Shields editorial in Newberg Graphic Sep 29, 2009

Worked for Robert Kennedy & Ted Kennedy campaigns

Given the myriad other roles Paul G. Kirk Jr. has played for Senator Edward M. Kennedy--strategist, divorce lawyer, master of ceremonies at the senator's memorial service, executor of his estate--his appointment Thursday as the interim appointee to the Senate seat Mr. Kennedy held was both kismet and deeply pragmatic.

After Harvard and Harvard Law, Mr. Kirk worked for Robert F. Kennedy's presidential campaign in 1968 and almost quit politics after Mr. Kennedy's assassination. But when Edward Kennedy told him "he had a responsibility to fight on," Mr. Kirk went to work for him in 1969, becoming Mr. Kennedy's chief political strategist and one of his most trusted confidants.

Mr. Kirk returned to Boston in 1977 to join the law firm Sullivan & Worcester, but rejoined Mr. Kennedy in 1980, serving as national political director for his unsuccessful presidential campaign. He was elected chairman of the DNC in 1985, with crucial support from Mr. Kennedy and his allies in organized labor

Source: Abby Goodnough in New York Times Sep 25, 2009

Chair of DNC from 1985 to 1989

Kirk was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 1985, with crucial support from Mr. Kennedy and his allies in organized labor. Mr. Kirk had a victory in the 1986 midterm elections, when the Democrats recaptured control of the Senate after six years, but he also witnessed the harsh defeat of Michael S. Dukakis to President George Bush in 1988. He chose not to seek a second term, returning instead to private law practice in Boston.
Source: Abby Goodnough in New York Times Sep 25, 2009

Other candidates on Principles & Values: Paul Kirk on other issues:
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Deval Patrick
MA Senatorial:
Joe L. Kennedy
John Kerry
Martha Coakley
Scott Brown

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AK:Begich (D)
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ID:Risch (R)
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Newly appointed in 2009;
special election in 2010:

DE:Kaufman (D)
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Announced retirement as of 2010:
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Up for 6-year term in 2010:
(13 Democrats; 15 Republicans)
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