Ted Kennedy, I.P.


In an effort to speak well of the dead, a note about the late Sen. Ted Kennedy's stealth geekiness (or his staff's anyway, which can amount to the same thing when you are a political abstraction): 

Fifteen years ago, Ted Kennedy became the first Senator to communicate with constituents over the Internet. Back in 1993, this was no small feat. At the time there were no congressional offices connected to the Internet. (The House launched a pilot program on June 2, 1993, hooking up seven members to an Internet network.) One dedicated staffer and the technology hubs of MIT and other top-level educational institutions made Kennedy into the first digital Senator.

Reliable bill text is hard to come by so far in this round of health care reform. Until something more substantial is available, we will have to content ourselves with browsing old usenet group postings for the HillaryCare text—which we can do thanks to old Teddy!:

Kennedy's office also used the bulletin board to post the text of legislation for review, most notably the release of health care legislation prepared by Kennedy's committee on the eve of President Bill Clinton's big health care speech to Congress. Casey later worked with MIT to get the Kennedy bulletin board groups posted into usenet groups (ne.politics and talk.politics.misc). A year later … Kennedy launched the first official Web site for a Senate office.

R.I.P., Kennedy's I.P. address.

Via the Sunlight Foundation