Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Tuesday, September 1, 2009 10:50 pm

Quote of the day

Filed under: Quote Of The Day — Lex @ 10:50 pm
Tags: ,

… from my friend Nicole, on Facebook: “In retrospect, probably in poor taste to wear a Dead Kennedys shirt while walking the dogs today.”

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Thursday, August 27, 2009 8:28 pm

Compromise

I’ve read a number of tributes to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, and one point made pretty consistently (by, among others, Sen. John McCain) was that, although deeply liberal from a philosophical standpoint, he would compromise readily with Republicans on legislation. (One significant example was No Child Left Behind.)

As Digby puts it:

Kennedy’s great gift was fighting for progress without shame or obfuscation, making the moral argument for liberalism, and always trying to move the ball forward, inch by inch if that’s all he could get and in great leaps if the opportunity presented itself.

Americans as a whole like to think we hew toward the moderate middle. The mainstream media particularly likes to think that, which is why people such as the Washington Post’s David Broder go on so much about the need for compromise and bipartisanship.

But the fact of the matter is that politically and culturally we’re pretty deeply split right now. In such times, seeking compromise for its own sake may or may not be the morally correct thing to do, depending on the issues, but often it sure isn’t the practical thing to do.

I mention this because of the current discussion about bipartisanship and compromise as it relates to the six U.S. senators, three Republicans and three Democrats, currently negotiating over that chamber’s health-reform plan. One of the Republicans is Mike Enzi of Wyoming:

Mike Enzi, one of three Republicans ostensibly negotiating health care reform as part of the Senate’s “Gang of Six,” told a Wyoming town hall crowd that he had no plans to compromise with Democrats and was merely trying to extract concessions.

“It’s not where I get them to compromise, it’s what I get them to leave out,” Enzi said Monday, according to the Billings Gazette.

Enzi found himself under attack at the town hall simply for sitting in the same room as the three Finance Committee Democrats. Republicans in the crowd called for him to exit the talks. He assured conservatives that his presence was delaying health care reform.

“If I hadn’t been involved in this process as long as I have and to the depth as I have, you would already have national health care,” he said.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that on the substance of the bill he’s right on the merits. But if I’m a Democrat, I’m thinking: “Why am I even talking to this guy? He wants concessions, but he won’t give anything in return. That’s not compromise. Forget that; we’ve got a majority, so we’ll just use the reconciliation process to ram through what we want.” If that happens, how has playing his cards as he has helped Enzi’s constituents who oppose the bill as he does?

Just askin’.

UPDATE: One of the other two Republicans, Charles Grassley of Iowa, isn’t flat-out opposing reform the way Enzi is, but he certainly has been moving the goalposts.

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