Sometimes the most outstanding United States senators come from the smallest or least-populous states. That surely describes Sen. John Chafee of Rhode Island, who passed on last Sunday.
When a bipartisan consensus was needed, Senator Chafee would help cobble it together. Perhaps that came from being a long-serving Republican in the nation's most-Democratic state. More likely, it came from within.
This Marine combat veteran could be a stubborn partisan. But more often he was found listening to both sides and looking for the good in people. His long legislative legacy includes a cleaner environment and better access to health care.
Bipartisanship needn't mean surrendering principle. It's a willingness to look for common ground in the interest of the whole nation. Washington needs more of what Chafee gave.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society