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Civil Discourse Institute to Open in Tucson

3 years ago
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Former presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush, who have joined forces in the past to head disaster relief efforts, are uniting again as honorary chairmen of a new National Institute for Civil Discourse.

Formation of the institute, intended to promote compromise among opposing political parties and views, is being announced Monday in Tucson, Ariz., site of a shooting rampage last month that killed six people and wounded 14 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

The new organization's director, Brint Milward, told the New York Times that the institute will focus on political disagreements "from the grassroots all the way to the top. In a great democracy, it's important for people to hold fast to principles, but at the same time to understand where they might be able to compromise."

Milward is head of School of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona's flagship campus in Tucson, where the institute will be based.

Fred DuVal, vice chairman of the Arizona Board of Regents and former co-chairman of Giffords' finance committee, is the driving force behind initiative and has raised more than $1 million thus far in private donations to fund it. He said he was inspired by President Obama's comments at a memorial service for the shooting victims, held in January at the University of Arizona, the Washington Post reports.

"At a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized, at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do," Obama said in his speech, "it's important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds."

Besides the two former presidents, other honorary chairmen of the institute are former senator and Democratic majority leader Tom Daschle and former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Board members include former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Rep. Jim Kolbe of Arizona; Ronald Reagan adviser Ken Duberstein; Fox News host Greta Van Susteren; and Trey Grayson, head of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University.

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135 Comments

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Michael

Civil discourse results from reasoned argument, not from some institution. The principles of civil discourse are best learned at home from parents who engage in the community so as to participate in shaping policy.

February 22 2011 at 9:19 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
garry402

I think they should be in Wisconsin.

February 21 2011 at 9:26 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
pamcori

I love this idea!!! We all know about the Arizona terrible incident, but we probably forgot about how disrespectfully O'Reilley treated our USA President.
We need to be more emotionally intelligent, starting with peopple who have important roles in the media like Mr. O'Reilley. Stop calling Mr. Obama a communist because, the honest truth is that he isn't. And democrats, stop calling the Republicans Christian hypocrites who do not want to help the poor, because they do care about those in need. Respect for each other's opinions, that's what we need, and try to solve problems in the most pragmatic way.

February 21 2011 at 6:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
AncientRvr

I greatly admire the relationship between HW Bush and Clinton. Bet there won't be a word of this on FOX.

February 21 2011 at 6:28 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to AncientRvr's comment
Phyllis

Its George Herbert Bush not George W! I would like to be at that family gathering.

February 21 2011 at 6:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
saunterer3

They should all move in together. When you break it all down --- there is VERY little difference between republicans and democrats. Look at what they have done to our country. VOTE THIRD PARTY.

February 21 2011 at 6:03 PM Report abuse +15 rate up rate down Reply
JW

Bush and Clinton, where were all these good ideas and actions from you when you were in office?

February 21 2011 at 5:55 PM Report abuse +16 rate up rate down Reply
libofvirginia

I do not believe that Mr. Jefferson forsaw that the two party system would end up being a frat brat elitist snake aka the Democrats and Republicans niether head of which has a real answer. The Democrats would run us into socialism and destroy the middle class be taxing them into poverty as an answer to how to fund the nation's programs. The Republicans and the weird appendage they sprouted that I call the weak tea party's answer is to cut domestic programs that would deprive the most needy of our citizens driving them into the streets to beg before the next winter freeze took care of all their worldly needs. They would have the min. wage abolished and with the desired demise of the education department there would be plenty of uneducated labor to work in the unregulated industries for little more then company script. What we the people need is real leadership that will impliment real changes to not only fund the needed programs of America but that would do so without following the rut carved by the snake. May our Lord have mercy on all us poor sinners and grant our nation and ourselves wisdom,prosperity,and courage in these latter times

February 21 2011 at 5:39 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
mmcarhelp

The backbiting of a number of these posters right here against both Clinton and Bush (one poster even talked about having Bush decked) is EXACTLY the kind of trash-talk that this institute is (or will be) designed to PREVENT. Civil discourse means exactly what it says....CIVIL.

February 21 2011 at 5:36 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
sdar120

Mr. Bush and Mr. Clinton:

Thank you for coming together to solve some of the problems at hand. We clearly need more people like yourselves. As former presidents you have shown your statesmanship beyond your terms at the White House. Both of you are statesmen in my eyes.

May you have all of the resources and help to further your causes.

May you and your families remain safe in Our Lords Care.

Respectfully:

Stephen H. Darden

February 21 2011 at 5:35 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
distanceearth

Two weeks ago, Bush said that he was done with all things politcal. Looks like he lied again. If I were President Clinton, as soon as I saw Dubya, I'd deck him. Then, I would return the favor of wiping his hands on Dubya, the way Dubya wiped his hands on Clinton in Haiti.

February 21 2011 at 5:25 PM Report abuse -14 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to distanceearth's comment

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