Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Politics of Compromise: Who's to blame for the shut down?

Compromise.  The first thing that comes to my mind is: finding common ground or agreement through communication. 

Sounds good, right?  Most of the country agrees that compromise is necessary for the government to function.  The only group that views compromise as a bad word, is the Tea Party.  Now that group has gone to congress and hijacked our government.

According to a study conducted by Allegheny College, a slight majority expressed a willingness to compromise verses standing firm on ideology.  However, when you look into the numbers, a majority of both liberals and independents wanted compromise.  But 65% of all conservatives - including 72% of those who identify themselves as VERY conservative - strongly favored standing firm on ideology over finding a compromise. 

A similar study conducted by the Pew Research Center just before the 2010 elections, found that more than twice as many Republicans (40%) as Democrats (19%) or independents (15%) said they would be less willing to favor a candidate willing to compromise.  Just like the study conducted by Allegheny College, the Pew Research Center found that 71% of those who identify with the Tea Party "Admire political leaders who stick to[their] positions" and refuse to compromise.

We've always stated that the Democratic Party was far more inclusive than the Republican Party.  With the evolution of the Tea Party, this is far more noticeable. 

The Republican Tea Party was duly elected in November of 2010.  Rightfully so, they've taken the position that they were sent to congress to do the work of those who elected them.  No problem there.  The issue I see is that they fully expect the Democrats to COMPLETELY abandon their constituents.  To the extent that they are willing to shut down the government if the Democrats refuse.  Of course, in a showing of limited backbone, the Democrats have conceded $30 billion from the President's proposed FY2011 budget to the Republican Tea Party.  That means they have met the Republicans nearly half way in their initial $63 billion cuts.  But this is STILL not good enough for the Tea Party.  Even though the vast majority of the American public want a compromise, the Tea Party FULLY expects everyone to bow down to their every whim and wish.  Since the rest of our government leaders aren't bending over completely, the Tea Party goes in front of the camera, and blames the Democrats for the shutdown because all they did was compromise and meet them half way instead of accepting ALL their demands. 

On top of everything else, the Republican Tea Party insists on including 'riders' to their budget plan.  These riders are corner-stones of the Democratic Party including women's rights and environmental protection.  I find it interesting that the Republicans are only asking for HUGE cuts in the areas supported by Democrats, yet offer no cuts to the programs they support.  Nothing on reducing the HUGE subsidies received by oil companies.  Why not?

Look, we know historically speaking, compromising can be negative (looking at you Three-Fifths).  However, I think it is safe to say that we are living in a day and age where the vast majority of the citizens in this country have representation.  They also have individual views and opinions.  Our government includes the view, interests and needs of more than any one individual, and as such, requires compromise.  The very essence of our democracy is based on compromise. 

A good government is ran on compromise.  Without it, we find ourselves in a world of recalls and repeals.  Imagine if one side or the other ALWAYS came to the legislative table with the mind-set to be uncompromising.  We would NEVER progress as a society or as a country.  As we are witnessing today, the moderate Democrats and Republicans would like to compromise, but the Tea Party will have none of it, the result, or government will shut down.

Is the Tea Party to Blame for the Government Shutdown?
Is the Democratic Party to Blame for the Government Shutdown?
Is the Republican Party to Blame for the Government Shutdown?
Should our politicians compromise or stand, uncompromising, on their ideology?  Even if it means shutting the government down?
Who will a Government Shutdown hurt more, the Republican, Tea or Democratic Party?
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