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A Dash of Pepper

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Compromise? No way.
By SHEILAH PEPPER
The Gazette Staff
Lately, inside the Beltway and even among some so-called conservative pundits, the word "compromise" is being bandied about with disturbing frequency. (This always happens when Republicans win elections!)
By the time you read this, the much-touted meeting between Congressional leaders and Obama will have taken place.
I'm hoping that the Republican leaders will keep Margaret Thatcher's statement firmly in mind: "Compromise often indicates an absence of leadership."
There is a wonderful essay on the subject by Professor James Ceaser in a current issue of the Claremont Review of Books. Here is one excerpt:
"2010 is the closest the nation has ever come to a national referendum on overall policy direction or ‘ideology.' Obama, who ran in 2008 by subordinating ideology to his vague themes of ‘hope' and ‘change,' has governed as one of the most ideological, partisan presidents. Some of his supporters like to argue in one breath that he is a pragmatist and centrist only to insist in the next that he has inaugurated the most historic transformation of American politics since the New Deal. The two claims are in tension. Going back to 2009's major political contests, beginning with the governors' race in Virginia and New Jersey and the Senate race in Massachusetts, the electorate has been asked the same question about Obama's agenda and has given the same response. The 2010 election is the third or fourth reiteration of their negative judgment, only this time delivered more decisively. There is only one label that can describe the result: the Great Repudiation."
There has been a lot of rather foolish blather in the mainstream press and even on FOX about the Tea Party and what really motivates it. It was obvious of any sentient onlooker that spending, taxes, the deficit and the growing size of government is the glue that holds the movement together. But there is a further underlying concern, which Professor Ceaser describes here:
"For many Republicans, and especially the Tea Party movement, the economic issues were linked to a deeper concern. The size of government and the extent of the federal debt represented not only a burden on future generations and a threat of American power, but also a violation of the spirit and letter of the Constitution. The Tea Party, in particular, with its Jeffersonian ideas, has reintroduced the Constitution to the public debate, a place that it has not held in the same way for over a century. This theme is what connects the Tea Party to the American tradition and makes their concerns matters of fundamental patriotism. The stakes in the 2010 election for these voters went far beyond economic questions, and for Democratic leaders to reduce everything to frustrations about ‘the economy, stupid' represents a final act of belittlement.
Then Professor Ceaser concludes with a superb definition of the current push for "compromise."
"Along with the Democrats' open campaign to persuade the public that the election did not mean what the Republicans thought it did, there is an allied effort underway, far more subtle, to undermine and weaken the GOP position. It comes from a group of self-proclaimed wise men who present themselves as being above the fray. These voices, acting from a putative concern for the nation and even for the Republican Party, urge Republicans to avoid the mistake of Obama and the Democrats of displaying hubris and overinterpreting their mandate. With this criticism of the Democrats offered as a testimony of their even-handedness and sincerity, they piously go on to tell Republicans that now is the time to engage in bipartisanship and follow a course of compromise. The problem with this sage advice is that it calls for Republicans to practice moderation and bipartisanship after the Democrats did not. It is therefore not a counsel of moderation, but a ploy designed to force Republicans to accept the overreaching policies of the past year-and-a-half. It is another way to defend Obama's ‘change.' If Republicans are to remain true to the verdict of 2010, the message of this election cannot be merely containment; it must be roll back."
I wish I could send Professor Ceaser's word to every single Republican leader in D.C. When Democrats use the word ‘moderation' they mean ‘You will agree with us.'
When Democrats or their friends in the press use the word ‘bipartisanship' they mean ‘We win, you lose.'
The mid-term results reflect a broad popular mandate, exceeding anything Obama achieved two years ago. He won because the electorate was tired and worn down and his people were smart enough to keep their true colors well hidden. The GOP took this election with an invigorated electorate, courtesy of the Tea Party. Compromise is the last thing the voters want as a result.
Every GOP leader needs to have Prime Minister Thatcher's statement about the hazards of compromise engraved on a plaque and placed where they are certain to see it every single day.
Copyright©2010SheilahPepper