Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Kinder, Gentler Political Noise -- for Now, at Least

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Kinder, Gentler Political Noise -- for Now, at Least

Article excerpt

It strikes me that the dialogue between Democrats and Republicans has become a bit less acerbic and more civil since the election. I write these words with more than a little trepidation because something could happen between the time I write them and the time you read them that could change the situation completely.

And I know my perception could be influenced by my hope that I am right. I am a strong believer in a vigorous two-party system and I think the system works best when the differences between the parties are expressed in calm and considerate language that can be understood by the voters.

That's what has been happening recently. The policy differences between the parties still exist but the language has moderated -- even in the Susan Rice affair, currently the leading newsmaker in the party warfare.

You will recall that Ms. Rice is the U.S ambassador to the United Nations and widely believed to be a candidate -- perhaps the leading candidate -- to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state in the second term of President Obama.

Three GOP Senators -- John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte -- have said that if she is nominated they will oppose her. I personally think she would make a splendid appointment. So do lots of other people, including many Republicans, but the three senators are well within their rights. Ms. Rice asked for a meeting with them, and on Tuesday she, along with acting CIA Director Michael Morell, met for more than an hour with them.

Topic A was the explanation that she had given on television of the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

Rice said that she and Morell had explained to the senators that, "the talking points provided by the intelligence community, and the initial assessment upon which they were based, were incorrect in a key respect: There was no protest or demonstration in Benghazi. While, we certainly wish that we had had perfect information just days after the terrorist attack, as is often the case, the intelligence assessment has evolved. We stressed that neither I nor anyone else in the administration intended to mislead the American people at any stage in this process, and the administration updated Congress and the American people as our assessments evolved. …

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