Say what you want about Kennedy. But certainly Republican senators are afraid of him. Remember the Republican filibuster of the medicare bill was successful last time. Democrats came one vote short of 60 votes needed for cloture. This time it looked like the same deal. Republicans like Cornyn, Martinez were speaking on the floor dead set against the bill. The vote count was going to 59 again... Then Kennedy showed up. When it's clear that the filibuster failed, Republican senators including Cornyn, Martinez, Warner, Hutchison switched their votes. The final bill passed with a veto-proof majority 69 votes. This was hilarious. You can keep hating Kennedy, but evidently senate Republicans fear him. The only person missing in this vote is, you guessed it, Senator McCain. He just doesn't care, does he?