When Good Sense Ruled in the Capital

'Hardball' host Chris Matthews details a time when Washington actually worked.

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[See a collection of political cartoons on Congress.]

Any hope for a more civilized era?

The book is a sort of operator's manual to how you can reach agreement even when you disagree. I mean, conservatives are never going to be liberals, and liberals aren't going to be conservatives, so the two sides have to find a way where they reach common ground, or at least reach compromise, where they get something of what they want and aren't forced to give up something they consider essential. And that's what negotiation is about.

Why should people read this book?

Great stories of American politics in action. Fabulous stories of these two older guys with different points of view and how they dealt with each other – from praying together to representing each other overseas, to having birthday and St. Patrick's Day parties together; establishing a cordiality at the same time they were arguing with each other.

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