A Ted Kennedy anecdote

He knew the difference between a Senator’s job and a President’s.

Francis Bator was Deputy National Security Adviser to Lyndon Johnson, running the rest of the world while Walt Rostow made Vietnam safe for democracy. He recalls a visit to the Oval Office by Sens. Richard Russell of Georgia, John Pastore of Rhode Island, and Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts. All three states were, back then, textile producers.

They urged the President to hang tough against concessions on textiles in the Kennedy Round. Protection against textile imports was a red hot issue in the negotiations. The industry maintained a formidable lobbying operation.

After hearing them out, the president said something like, “Francis here is watching over all that for me and will certainly keep an eye out and keep me informed. He knows how important you all are for me.”

Heading for the stairs to the basement on the way to West Executive Avenue, with Russell and Pastore in the lead, Ted hung back and quietly said something like “You know Francis, with my brother, I know something about what it’s like when you have to think about this kind of thing from where the president sits. So please don’t take us too seriously ….”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com