The lack of enthusiasm for Bill Thompson has roots in more than a super-rich opponent. New York City believes in the values of the Democrats, but doesn't trust them to produce strong leaders on the local level.
Some see Kennedy's legacy as the roaring liberal lion, ready to express moral outrage. And surely he was that. But his lasting legacy may well be as the respected legislator who could reach across the aisle.
With polling numbers on the public option, and an activist base on fire on this issue, it is going to be more and more difficult for Democrats to vote against it when they have to vote in the light of day.