By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – We spend enough time talking about division and dysfunction in our political culture. We also need to make note of it when someone models a different way.

That would be none other than former President Bill Clinton, who spoke this weekend at the funeral of Richard Scaife, a billionaire conservative and key figure in the so-called “right-wing conspiracy” who spent millions touting presidential scandals and backing some of the most harsh critics of Clinton during his years in office.

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It turns out that after Clinton left office, he and Scaife found common cause in the Clinton Foundation’s work fighting AIDS in Africa, and the two men formed what Clinton calls a “counterintuitive friendship.”

“He fought as hard as he could for what he believed, but he never thought he had to be blind or deaf” to other views, Clinton said of Scaife, according to newspaper accounts. “Our differences are important… but they don’t have to keep us at arm’s length from others.”

What a novel concept.

You mean, just because someone takes an opposing position from yours, or even multiple opposing postions, it doesn’t mean you need to demonize and shun each other? And you might even find that if you work at it a little, you could find common ground with your political adversary and get something constructive done?

Let’s call Congress back into session, they need to hear about this.

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It doesn’t surprise me that Clinton is so magnanimous this way. He was the best presidential schmoozer we’ve had in modern times.

But the fact that his open-minded approach makes news speaks to the pathetic depths that our infantile, narcissistic political culture has sunk.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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Jon Keller