Sometimes it takes the passing from the scene of a strong yet reasonable and accommodating voice to show how valuable and in short supply that commodity is in today's political discourse.
Such was the circumstance with the news last week that former Sen. Warren Rudman, Republican of New Hampshire, had died at age 82. The loss of the cofounder of the Concord Coalition, the prominent advocate for comity and thoughtful compromise in the nation's politics, triggered an uncommon outpouring of bipartisan regret and posthumous praise for Rudman's efforts to restore cooperation between the parties.
This Yankee stalwart's Southern Democratic co-chairman of the coalition, former Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia, saluted him for his determination to work "with members of both parties who were willing to put America's interests first" and "knew America had to face up to our current and long-term fiscal challenges."
Another Democrat and former chairman of the coalition, former Sen. Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, whose failed bid to return to the Senate was backed by Rudman, remembered him as "a leader who always put the nation's interest ahead of politics." The comment could have been directed at the Democrats and Republicans now poised to address the ominous "fiscal cliff" facing Congress before year's end over federal deficit reduction.