Some (small) common ground

Sometimes it’s interesting where you find items of common ground.

After receiving a nice e-mail last weekend from Joel Rosenthal about a recent post, I took a closer look at his blog, Straight Talk. I knew it was there but hadn’t paid much attention. You see, there probably isn’t a lot on which he and I agree. Mr. Rosenthal was the longtime chair of the state GOP (and an unquestionably successful one), a Bush elector at the 2000 Electoral College, and the state GOP’s front man for many policies with which I disagree. But in looking at his blog there are some items of common ground.

For example, his take on the transportation bill Bush signed this past week talks about how heavy it is in political pork. While recognizing voters demand pork, he notes, “If the constituents were more concerned about what they are doing to the future this hog wild spending might not be tolerated.” Sounds somewhat like things I’ve said in posts about elevating parochial interests over the greater good. (Although I note he tended to focus on “bridges to nowhere” in Tim Johnson’s neck of the woods and little, if any, of the pork John Thune put in the bill).

Moreover, while he appears to toe a fairly straight party line, at least so far his posts surpass what some tend to pass off as political discourse today. He said in his first post that his blog was “not about GOTCHA politics, it is not about the personalities of politicians and elected officials and it is not about the failings of the main stream media.” So far, it appears his politically-related posts are his analysis and views of issues, not using certain hot button issues as an excuse for name-calling or attack politics.

Finally, his first pick for Justice O’Connor’s position on the Supreme Court was Judge Roger Wollman of the U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. I have never examined whether there is a particular ideological bent in Judge Wollman’s opinions. I would venture, though, that amongst the South Dakota bar, Judge Wollman is probably universally considered a fair, analytical and deliberate jurist who applies and follows the law and treats people with respect. Seems to be that makes him eminently qualified for the Supreme Court.

Yep, you can find common ground in many places even if the ultimate conclusion comes via a different perspective. The question now is probably which one of us should be more concerned about this commonality — him or me.

An honest man in politics shines more than he would elsewhere.

Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad

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