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Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That Is Destroying America [Hardcover]

By Cal Thomas (Author) & Bob Beckel (Author)
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Item Number 65602  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   288
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.1" Width: 6.1" Height: 1"
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2007
Publisher   Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN  0061236349  
EAN  9780061236341  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Inspired by their popular "USA Today" column, a conservative and a liberal show politicians of both stripes how to get beyond partisanship, restore civility, and move the country forward.

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More About Cal Thomas & Bob Beckel

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Cal Thomas is one of the most popular syndicated columnists in the country, appearing in hundreds of newspapers. He also writes the Common Ground column (with his liberal Democrat friend Bob Beckel) and regularly appears on Fox News. He began his career in radio, TV, and print at the age of sixteen. 2014 marks the thirtieth anniversary of his syndicated column.

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Product Categories
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
One of the best political books in years  May 29, 2008
You can see why the authors are friends. There is a level of respect and admiration on both ends. They may not agree on certain issues, but they both want what is good for America. Since I am a Democrat, I will say I am glad to see Thomas agrees with Beckel on the most partisan posturing that has been going on as of recent history and that Republicans have been driving it. Not that the Democrats have been innocent, but Republicans just took it too unimaginable levels.

I am also glad to see that they cover the history of politics. Goldwater working with Carter (post lawsuit) was interesting. All-in-all, I think politicians should read this book. Perhaps their perspectives would change somewhat.
The time has come to change the course of American politics.  Jan 16, 2008
I used to consider myself to be a political junkie. For a good many years I found myself spending at least 1 to 2 hours each weekday evening and a couple of hours every Sunday morning watching programs like CNN's "Crossfire", "Hardball" with Chris Matthews and ABC's "This Week" to name but a few. Then about 4 years ago I suddenly stopped watching. I simply could not take it any more. I had tired of all of the talking heads bickering and pointing fingers. I was tired of the gridlock. I made up my mind that my time was better spent reading about the important issues of the day. According to co-authors Bob Beckel and Cal Thomas there are lots of folks like me who have tuned out politics. And if the results of the early primaries in both parties in 2008 is any indication, the American people are seeking fresh approaches to the myriad problems that our nation is facing. "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That Is Destroying America" provides the reader with a road map of the events that have led us to this rather sorry state of affairs and offers concrete suggestions as to how to deal with the ongoing problem of polarization in American politics.
Frankly, I found the first two-thirds of "Common Ground" to be a bit tedious at times. Beckel and Thomas rehash dozens of events over the past several decades that have contributed in one way or another to increasing lack of civility and rampant partisonship that is now so prevalant in this country. The authors point to events like the confirmation hearings for Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas, the impeachment of Bill Clinton, the Iran-Contra hearings, the battle over national health insurance as well as the ongoing abortion issue as among the key reasons why politics has been poisoned in our country. In addition, Beckel and Thomas correctly point out that hundreds of special interest groups have a huge financial stake in keeping the people of this country divided. I sort of figured this out a while back and refuse to contribute to these types of highly charged one issue organizations. Likewise, much of talk radio has become highly partisan and quite inflammatory and no longer lends itself to a reasoned discussion of the important issues of the day. And that's too bad! Again, those who have been paying attention will not find a whole lot of new information in "Common Ground" about the events that have caused this phenomenon of polarization to occur.
More interesting to me, however, is the last few chapters of "Common Ground" where the authors point to some key issues where they feel consensus can be reached. In addition, they make suggestions as to how candidates can sell the concept of compromise in presenting their ideas to the American people. Bob Beckel and Cal Thomas are also very big on the idea of what they call "second opinion" groups. Much like the Grace Commission that was assembled by President Reagan in the 1980's to help point out and eliminate waste in government, these "second opinion" groups could help our elected officials do a better job and as the book points out "help promote policies and actions that serve the interests of the most people, rather than the narrow and partisan interests of a select few." It is just this kind of thinking that has been sorely lacking in Washington over the past several decades.
To sum up, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That Is Destroying America" is really not a bad book. However, if you happen to be someone who reads a lot and pays attention to what's going on then I suspect your time would probably be better spent reading something else. On the other hand, if you are one of those people who is just trying to get up to speed on some of these important issues then "Common Ground" would be a pretty good choice for you.
Under Whelmed!  Dec 1, 2007
I have just complete Common Ground by Cal Thomas and Bob Beckel. The authors are purported to be a conservative and a liberal. I assume Cal Thomas is the conservative but I find that label to be a misnomer however I do agree with Bob Beckel's liberal leanings. The books theses supposedly deals with divisiveness in government but the authors lay most of the blame on conservative "rightwing talk show hosts" people, if I remember correctly, are not members of the Congress. How can radio personalities have such an impact on the United States Congress?

The beginning of the book declares that we have an obligation to help the less fortunate survive. Perhaps the authors never heard of food stamps, subsidized housing, Medicaid, Salvation Army, Red Cross; church affiliated programs and plethora of other help agencies. Vocational training and trade related apprenticeships are offered in quite a few trades. If a less fortunate individual is not aware of all of the programs available to her/him, he or she must be living under a rock somewhere.

I did not buy the book an I suggest that others not bother. Go to your local library and read it free. It is worth that price.
An interesting book with some useful suggestions  Nov 11, 2007
I agree with the authors that there's been too much polarization in recent American politics. Many issues facing our nation are for the most part bipartisan. We need a functioning economy, we need excellence in our institutions, we need to address issues in health, transportation, the environment, education, economic stability and security, housing, human rights, justice, and much more. There's normal disagreement on many such issues, but that's not the problem. I think the problem comes when we characterize those on the opposite side of the aisle as having nothing positive to contribute and of being counterproductive or unpatriotic. That can lead to a cynicism which reduces our ability to see differences among candidates, and it can lead to worse government. It also means that campaign rhetoric can swamp serious discussion of issues, so that our votes have little to do with the actual platforms of the candidates, let alone with what the candidates will surely plan to do once in office. And that makes for less sensible and less consistent policies and government.

This book has some discussion of the problems as well as some approaches to common grounds for dealing with some of the issues.

Of course, I may be a little biased. I'm a liberal, but I'm certainly not a supporter of Michael Moore and even less of Ann Coulter, two of the more noted "polarizers." Even Moore and Coulter, of course, have occasionally made some good points, but that's not the point: their net effect has been counterproductive.

I was sad to see that the authors were not able to agree on the issue of the Iraq war. I know this is not an easy issue, but it is a very important one. Beckel and Thomas wrote separate sections about it and agreed on a little at the end. I hoped they could do better than that.

On the other hand, Thomas did make a good point in his section which Beckel did not explicitly disagree with. Namely, there has been a consensus in the State Department on the issue of a new Levantine Arab state! It wants one, and it has wanted one no matter whether the administration has been Republican or Democratic. Thomas noted that the purpose of such a state would be to destroy Israel and to expel the Jews from the region. That's true, it ought to be said more often, and it shows a big problem with the whole idea of creating such a state. Our Congress has been far less eager to impose such a state on the region than our State Department, and perhaps a less polarized Congress might have an effect that could outweigh the State Department here.

On a practical matter, I agree that it would make sense for candidates to give their opponents a little more credit. That would enhance everyone's credibility and it would make it easier for folks to work together for the common good.

I recommend this book.
how do we get there?  Nov 11, 2007
Good book from two who should know. Many people already know all this, now if we can only get Washington on board....good read, good thoughts, surely it is what we want.

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