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Sender: Michael Briand
Subject: history
Date: Mon, Apr 28, 2014
Msg: 100955

Would it make transpartisanship more concrete in if we could see it in the country's political history? Are there figures who embody what most of us would describe as transpartisan? Although Tocqueville, for example, was only an observer of early American democracy, his observations and reflections contain elements of what we would characterize today as both liberal and conservative. For example, he celebrated individualism, self-reliance, and responsibility for self and community. Yet by temperament he was conservative, with a conservative's appreciation for long-standing institutions, such as religion. Similarly, in their own ways Emerson, Thoreau, and Lincoln held views and subscribed to values that were both liberal and conservative. And what about the long list of prominent public figures who have been described as liberal conservatives and conservative democrats? Could "transpartisan" best capture the outlook of Theodore Roosevelt? Wilson? FDR? LaFollette? What about Thomas Dewy, Truman, Eisenhower, Nelson Rockefeller, Lodge, JFK, George Romney, Sam Ervin, Howard Baker--even LBJ and Nixon ("the last liberal president")? Is there any utility in looking for transpartisanship in the form of such public figures of the past? Perhaps saying why someone should be included or excluded from consideration would help us specify what we mean by "transpartisan."

The foregoing reflection makes me wonder: Are we concerned about a phenomenon in U.S. public life that really is as recent as the 60s and 70s, maybe the 80s? If so, then what has changed, and why?

Michael Briand Chico, CA


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