By Bradford Fitch, president and CEO of Congressional Management Foundation - 01/25/11 12:12 AM EST
CMF played a small role in the session, helping to coordinate a presentation in conflict resolution by Wendy Swire, an expert on the topic of “Getting to Yes.” I had the privilege of attending the session and was struck by the interest of the lawmakers in the topic. Committee members sat around tables, seated Democrat next to Republican, with placards at their seats with blue donkeys and red elephants.
The facilitator ended with a quote from Abraham Lincoln. Toward the end of the Civil War, Lincoln was at a gathering and offered a degree of praise for Southern secessionists. A woman in the crowd angrily confronted Lincoln. “How could you say such things about our enemy?” she asked. Lincoln responded: “The best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend.” What would the 112th Congress look like if all members followed the example of Chairman Smith and President Lincoln?