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MoveOn founder, tea party figure meet

by Joe Garofoli. Reprinted from SFGATE.


photo: Sean Havey, The Chronicle

It was a mind-blowing political tableau: a co-founder of liberal bulwark MoveOn sitting in her Berkeley living room, laughing, sharing homemade blueberry scones and occasionally agreeing with a national Tea Party figure.

Truth is, MoveOn's Joan Blades - clad in Lululemon yoga pants and clogs - and Mark Meckler, sporting a leather cowboy vest, boots and a belt buckle larger than a baby's head - have been talking online and over the phone for a few years now. Quietly, until now.

"Transpartisanship" is the genteel word for what they're doing. Blades has been involved in similar types of projects for about a decade, but this is a fairly new school of political thought, which posits that people can come together to find some common ground without abandoning their core beliefs. 

The gathering this month marked the first time Blades and Meckler had met in person, and each brought two like-minded friends. The occasion was the latest installment of Living Room Conversations ( www.livingroomconversations.org), Blades' latest national transpartisan project that she co-founded with former GOP operative Amanda Kathryn Roman, who lives in New Jersey.

It involves one or two co-hosts pulling together an intimate gathering of folks who might believe they agree on little politically - until they sit down together to listen to one another's perspective. Civilly.

Eventually, they find places they agree. That's what happened between Blades and Meckler, and it should give hope to a nation locked in scrums over guns and immigration and taxes.

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