Appropos of Mark’s wonderment at Obama’s seeming ability to rise above pettiness, I think it is best to hope that he pulls a Jefferson.
You know; Thomas Jefferson. The man who, after the bitter and brutal campaign of 1800, could say this:
Every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans — We are all Federalists.
Very nice. And Jefferson also said that “the greatest good that we can do our country is to heal its party divisions & make them one people.”
But Jefferson as always had his eye on the main chance. After all, the Campaign of 1800 was bitter and brutal in no small part due to Jefferson’s political supporters. Only a few months after penning the noble words of his First Inaugural, he told his Attorney General, Levi Lincoln, what he really had in mind:
I shall . . . by the establishment of republican principles . . . .sink federalism into an abyss from which there shall be no resurrection for it.
Author: Jonathan Zasloff
Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees.
Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses.
Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.
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