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DEMOCRACY: Government & Politics | March 14, 2003



An Unpublished Letter to Los Angeles Times

The Presidencies of George W. Bush and Bill Clinton offer stark contrasts in "the fine art of compromise".

Compromise was at the heart of Bill Clinton's greatest successes, in both budgetary talks at home and peace talks overseas, producing years of relative peace and unprecedented prosperity. However, compromise was also at the heart of his greatest failure, in his personal dealings made all too public.

George W. Bush came into office pledging to be uncompromising in his principles. And indeed, it was his moral courage that led and sustained our nation through its darkest days, post-9/11.

However, his relatively uncompromising stands, in both budgetary and diplomatic matters, have polarized positions, throughout the nation and around the world; and we Americans now face enormous costs, in terms of both monetary and human sacrifice, from growing deficits at home and looming war, and nation-building, overseas -- Herculean tasks with which we can expect little help from those we have historically considered our friends but from whom we have regrettably become all too alienated.

Somewhere between being too flexible and being too rigid lies real human strength.

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