From Issue Spot: Civility Can Save the Day in Law and Politics

Last week, political television pundit Chris Matthews made headlines during his Boston visit.  The BBA was there when he addressed the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Forum.  Matthews is on a book tour promoting Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked.  The irony of his book’s subtitle was not lost on the audience as week one of the government shutdown was coming to an end.  The subtitle – when politics worked – provided a perfect contrast to the recent events on Capitol Hill. 

Though television political banter is hardly known for its speakers’ calm demeanors and respectful exchange of ideas, Matthews pointed to these traits as the hallmark of a relative golden age of politics.  United States Representative from Massachusetts and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill and President Ronald Reagan were on different sides of the aisle, but they managed to work together and find compromises to benefit the country.  Outside of politics, they became personal friends in a relationship built on mutual respect.  Tip was the first person to visit Reagan in the hospital after he was shot in a failed assassination attempt in 1981.  President Regan was fond of the expression “we’re all friends after 6:00.”  Both recognized the importance of talking through their differences and putting America first.

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