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Book examines ‘strategic civility' of Sen. Howard Baker

  senator howard baker
In the current political and cultural environment, civility is going the way of the dinosaur. Our "leaders" now argue for the sake of argument, accuse for the sake of advantage, and seek to demonize those with opposing points of view. Consequently, public governance has become dysfunctional. But there was a time when civility and collegiality and teamwork were cherished American values. There was a time when leaders from opposing political parties were actually friends and tried without compromising their principles to work together in a bipartisan effort to promote the general welfare. One of the greatest exemplars of this civility was a United States Senator from Tennessee. For over forty years, he was a leader in the most contentious arenas in American life: courtrooms, political campaigns, the halls of Congress, and the White House. In all of these venues, he practiced the art of strategic civility that brought adversaries together, finding agreement often to their surprise. The Senator was Howard H. Baker, Jr. of Tennessee, and to this day, he remains a role model of what strategic civility can accomplish. This book is the story of his civil life.

NASHVILLE — A book examining the qualities that made the late U.S. Sen. Howard H. Baker Jr. successful and beloved during his long career is now available in a second edition from the Tennessee Bar Association.

The Other Fellow May Be Right: The Civility of Howard Baker from Memphis lawyer William H. "Bill" Haltom Jr. not only looks at details of the statesman's life and career but also examines Tennessee's changing political climate.

"Thoroughly researched, breezily written, and timely, The Other Fellow May Be Right is an important reminder that relentless partisanship and search-and-destroy tactics are not the only way to conduct the public's business -- or our own," Nashville lawyer Gary C. Shockley writes in a review published in the Tennessee Bar Journal ( "One Tennessean chose the opposite path and followed it to his country's highest offices and greatest honors."

Haltom will sign copies of the new book on June 15, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. during the Tennessee Bar Association's annual convention in Kingsport.

"The late Sen. Howard Baker remains the role model for civility in these uncivil times," said Haltom. "I am delighted that the TBA Press has published the updated edition of my tribute to this great man."

The book is now available for sale from the Tennessee Bar Association's website as well as

The Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) is the largest professional association in Tennessee with more than 13,000 members. Founded in 1881, the TBA provides opportunities for continuing legal education, professional development and public service. The TBA's dedication to serving the state's legal community is evidenced by its membership roll, which represents the entire spectrum of legal practice: plaintiff and defense lawyers, corporate counsel, judges, prosecutors, public defenders, government lawyers and legal services attorneys.

Published July 4, 2017

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