Commentary: Cooler heads must prevail in our political discourse

One of my favorite TV programs is CBS’ “Face the Nation,” a news show moderated by Bob Schieffer on Sunday morning. I respect Schieffer, in part because he goes out of his way to avoid espousing any particular political position. There are no sacred cows in his weekly interviews with political luminaries, and he doesn’t hesitate to ask the questions that need to be asked regardless of the political stance of the person being interviewed.

For example, on a recent program he politely but firmly pressed ahead with probing questions when senior White House adviser David Axelrod gave what to me seemed to be a non-explanation why the administration is criticizing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for giving money reportedly from foreign sources to Republican candidates when there isn’t any evidence this is actually taking place.

Axelrod’s response was that while he has no hard evidence foreign funds are being used this way, there also is no evidence this is not the case. This response brings into question the legitimacy of the charge, which was made in a national advertisement.

In any case, Schieffer’s program is well balanced — if he interviews someone on the left one week he offers an opposing political position a chance to be heard the next week. He treats each interviewee with equal respect.

But there’s a more compelling reason I like Schieffer; he is one smart cookie. Frequently, I have found the most important part of his 30-minute program comes at the end, when he offers his take on some onerous political or social problem.

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