The Sword Through the Breastplate of Righteous Compromise
“Compromise is a stalling between two fools.” – Stephen Fry
The idea – pronounced often and loudly by those who claim moderation in their political outlooks, and by leftists pretending to be reasonable – that bipartisan compromise is the cure to what ails our cancer-stricken economy finds itself, to paraphrase Bing Crosby in White Christmas, off the nut about a mile-and-a-half.
For starters, it’s not difficult to see that those most prevalently calling for compromise rarely, if ever, deem theirs to be the views thrust aside in favor of the decided conclusion. Far more often, we see the if everyone just agreed with me things would go swimmingly approach to compromise.
The politically astute justifiably laugh at those who maintain some grand idealism in regard to politicians’ temperaments toward a supposedly beneficial middle ground. Today, those who pine for compromise are either uninformed about the true nature of the issues, or ignorant regarding plausible solutions.
As Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has accurately asserted on several occasions, politics and governance are not about reaching “proper” compromises, or about each side getting something it wants, but rather about finding solutions to problems.
When one side opposes viable solutions, compromising becomes a major hindrance to success, especially when government and taxpayer money is involved. You don’t compromise with an intruder by allowing him to take just one of your children.
For this reason, Rubio notes the farcical (but all too commonly propelled) scenarios paraded in front of Republican politicians by a media trying to paint them as unmovable extremists. Wisely, when he’s presented with the question: “Would you trade $1 in tax increases for $9 in spending cuts?”, he rejects the premise. The question is bogus and purely a media-concocted sham for several reasons. Democrats would never agree to $9 in spending cuts, no matter how much they were allowed to raise taxes. But more importantly – and this is what Rubio focuses on – this compromise isn’t a solution at all, which is the whole point. Without entitlement reform (Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are the main drivers of the spending and debt), any halfhearted swing to increase taxes or cut spending serves only to kick an increasingly weighty can further down a menacingly dark alley.
As Cal Thomas writes in his July 18th Townhall column, “Having an adult conversation in a racially and politically polarized age is nearly impossible, especially when our current political culture does not require a solution to problems, only the use of rhetoric and symbols to gain political power.”
Extensively beneficial compromise can only be utilized when both parties have a mutually desirable end and differ only on the means. This happens in the private sector and family structure all the time. Co-workers and spouses would be not be co-workers and spouses for long without some appropriately sacrificial give and take.
The same cannot be said for the public sector and federal government. There, and albeit unfortunately, compromise means nothing more than the right constantly trying to scale the waterfall of the left’s bad policies. Quoting Joyce Meyer, “Compromise means to go just a little bit below what you know is right. It’s just a little bit, but it’s the little fox that spoils the vine.” Besides, what do Republicans gain from policy compromise? Societal and economic failure for which Democrats and the media blame…Republicans. It’s a lose-lose for the American people and the GOP alike.
Let’s even pretend the causes for our current economic coma and tsunami of national debt are a wash (they aren’t, but play along), and place equal blame on both parties. Consider the policy implications of both the left and the right going forward.
Senate Democrats have refused to propose – let alone pass – a budget in more than three years, and have no plans to do so for the remainder of the year. President Obama and his Democrat congress will not touch one penny of federal government’s massive spending, save for cuts to health care benefits for our fighting troops (yes, you read that right). The Democrats’ only strategy to address our spending and debt problems is to increase the amount of both. Meanwhile, Republicans in the House have offered more than 30 de-regulating bills that would lead to job growth, passed a budget that saves Medicare while reducing spending and the debt, and done their darndest to block further spending boondoggles that do nothing but waste money and add to the problem.
While President Obama is killing the Keystone Pipeline and shipping solar, wind, and car manufacturing jobs overseas, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has thrice presented a plan to reform entitlements and balance the federal budget without raising taxes. It isn’t difficult to judge which side is serious about mending this nation’s fiscal wounds.
No compromise can or should be reached with people who believe food stamps and unemployment benefits stimulate the economy. That’s not a condemnation of those programs, it’s a fact; redistributing tax dollars to those who don’t pay into the system is not a stimulant, it’s a tranquilizer. Providing and extending the incentive not to work can hardly be expected to garner any net economic advantage. No serious, critically-thinking mind would dispute this.
So what is there to be done? The solution is simple: win elections. It’s the only way. Win the presidency, keep the House, take the Senate. The solitary path of escape from this burning building is a Republican sweep in November. The GOP is the only door under which smoke isn’t seeping. Repealing Obamacare, addressing entitlements, and returning to any semblance of solvency are all but unicorns if Democrats are allowed to keep their noose around the neck of economic growth and prosperity.
This isn’t about working together, finding common solutions, or reaching across the partisan aisle. It’s about defeating an enemy; one whose goal is diametrically opposed to any historic precedent for success and traditional American values. Looking for middle ground with those who either oppose traditional American ideals or are veritably irresponsible (so, Democrats) will only up the ante of America’s bet with catastrophe, and is veritably irresponsible in itself. No loving parents let the insane jailbird uncle help raise the kids.
As Sir Winston Churchill stated emphatically, “No compromise with the main purpose, no peace till victory, no pact with unrepentant wrong.”
Churchill was talking about war, which seems appropriate for our conversation as well.
The entire idea of the American experiment is that all have the freedom to succeed if they work hard enough and long enough. The very foundation of our blessed Land of Opportunity is free markets and minds, merit, competition, individualism, self-reliance, and most importantly, liberty. You can decide for yourself which side reinforces those ideals today.
The goal of any war is to win. In the case of America’s future, this means elections. Peace through strength. Prosperity through ensuring that good ideas based on prudent and proven principles soundly trample bad ideas. Staunch conservative resound is far better for everyone than some faux nobility gained from compromising with fools.