Hey, politics used to be friendly

It was Kirk who not only taught me the rules of politics, but, just as important, that there are rules. He had refined them early on setting up those “Little City Halls” for Kevin White. He knew that “all politics is local” long before being recruited by Speaker O’Neill in the late 1970s.

How many times in our daily war with “The Great Communicator” did I hear him say, “You make your breaks,” or “You gotta play your strengths,” or “It’s all about the timing?” It’s how I got the idea for “Hardball,” which I wrote after the speaker retired.

What’s missed now in American politics is Kirk’s finest advice.

It’s applicable to marriage, work relationships, and most especially to rivalries: “Always be able to talk.”

I believe Speaker O’Neill and President Reagan honored that truism to a T.