In the coming weeks, the new unelected Senator from Massachusetts could have a pivotal role in important legislation like health care reform. As Bloomberg.com recently pointed out, "With Kirk in place, Senate Democrats again have 60 members in their caucus, the number of votes needed to shut off debate on legislation in the chamber." With that in mind, Kirk could prove to be a critical ally of President Obama if he helps the 44th president push liberal health care reform through this year, possibly without the help of any Republicans.
From what is known about Kirk, he seems like he will be closely aligned with Kennedy's politics on a variety of subjects. Not only was Kirk the preferred candidate for several members of Kennedy's family (including Kennedy's widow), he was also the former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee so many will likely expect that Kirk will be a liberal partisan during his short time in the Senate.
During that time, though, the legislation that he votes on could have a major effect in this country for many decades to come so the decisions of this temporary appointment may turn out to have a lasting effect both in Massachusetts and in this country.