I thought this piece in the WaPo was kind of interesting:
Behind each of Edward M. Kennedy’s legislative victories was a vast coterie of staffers who became Washington legend. They meticulously packed the senator’s black briefcase each evening with tabbed, underlined and dog-eared briefing papers. They helped him hone his floor arguments late into the night over dinner and wine at his home. They took turns walking Splash and Sunny, cleaning up the mess that Kennedy’s Portuguese water dogs left on the manicured Capitol grounds.
Suite 317, tucked along a marble-floored and white-columned corridor of the Russell Senate Office Building, was not only the liberal lion’s den. It also was the finishing school for generations of Kennedy’s cubs, hundreds of zealous proteges who came to work for the Massachusetts Democrat. For decades, scores of smart and ambitious Democrats flocked to Kennedy for jobs, and his staff of dozens, which swelled in size as he attained seniority, became unrivaled and widely praised across Capitol Hill.***
“Teddy’s staff was the farm system for the Democratic Party for a generation,” Kerry said. “He was a magnet for brilliant, creative, progressive minds and hard-charging, hard-nosed operatives. But it was bigger than that. Teddy’s staff had an unparalleled loyalty to him because he was so unfailingly loyal to them.”
I’m the first person to admit Kennedy had a troubled past, and did some horrible things, had some personal failings, and was, like all of us, a flawed person. Just as I think the true measure of a person is how they treat those who can not defend themselves (animals, kids, etc.), the true measure of a leader is how they treat their staff. The only other recent people I have seen this kind of loyalty going both ways were Reagan and Hillary Clinton. Maybe there are others, but it seems like with these folks, it really stands out. Their folks would crawl over broken glass for them.