This PBS documentary on James Baker caught my attention recently. It’s a workmanlike 90 minute feature on “a remarkable politician and statesman who represents a time when a divided Congress got things done, and when presidents and politicians worked together.”

“Baker, now 84, helped get three presidents elected, served in top posts for two of them and was a central player in some of the most momentous events of the late 20th century.”

Baker is a fascinating figure for all the reasons mentioned above, but also because he seems like one of the last realists in national Republican politics. A realist, to my thinking, is someone who treats a person on the other side of the table as a person, and not as a reflexive ideologue.

I liked the summation from the documentary of Baker’s approach as George H.W. Bush’s Secretary of State: “In Baker you see somebody exquisitely focused on solving the other side’s problem in order to solve his own. Baker and Bush were really exemplary at this.”