Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 28, 2010

'THIS IS NOT A TIME FOR COMPROMISE'.... There seems to be a pattern here.

Republicans aren't in the mood for compromise, especially on repealing healthcare reform, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Wednesday. [...]

"This is not a time for compromise, and I can tell you that we will not compromise on our principles," Boehner said during an appearance on conservative Sean Hannity's radio show.

Republicans aren't exactly being subtle here. Last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) said, "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.... Our single biggest political goal is to give [the Republican] nominee for president the maximum opportunity to be successful."

A few days earlier, Ken Buck (R), the extremist Senate candidate in Colorado, insisted, "I'm not compromising." House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) insisted the last Republican majority that worked with a Democratic White House -- you know, the one that shut down the government (twice) and impeached the president -- compromised "too much," and the GOP shouldn't repeat that mistake next year.

I know I keep harping on this, but I think it matters. One of the angles I emphasized yesterday related to the perception that the American mainstream has a visceral dislike for this kind GOP rhetoric. Today, there's evidence to back that up.

A newly-released New York Times/CBS News poll, for example, found that 75% of likely voters want Republicans, if they regain a majority, to compromise in order to get things done. (Keep in mind, 75% of Americans don't agree on much, but they agree on this.) Perhaps more important, 66% of self-identified likely Republican voters also want to see their party compromise with Democrats in the next Congress.

It's not like Boehner can say, "Well, I'd love to compromise, but my party won't let me." Two-thirds of GOP voters are already urging him to negotiate and be willing to make concessions.

In a new Bloomberg News poll, the results were even more one-sided. Respondents were asked, "If Republicans win control of Congress, what do you want to happen -- do you want the parties to stick to their principles even if means gridlock and nothing gets done, or do you want parties to work together even if it means compromising some principles?" A whopping 80% chose the latter.

Boehner, McConnell, and their cohorts seem to think they'll be better off ignoring this vast American mainstream. "This," Boehner insists, "is not a time for compromise."

We'll see how that turns out for them.

Steve Benen 10:40 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (34)

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Got film?

Mitch McConnell:

"The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.... Our single biggest political goal is to give [the Republican] nominee for president the maximum opportunity to be successful."

Posted by: koreyel on October 28, 2010 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know what goes on in peoples heads, outside of not much, of course. They WANT compromise, but they're going to vote for the people who promise NOT to compromise.
Uhm, how do you people explain that to the rest of us in the rational world?

Posted by: c u n d gulag on October 28, 2010 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Are you kidding me? It'll turn out FINE for them! The Teatards will whoop and holler, the media will solemnly lament the lack of bipartisanship and consider gravely what more the Democrats should be doing to encourage it, the American people will forget what happened yesterday, and the Republicans will get away with it again!

Republican politicians are past masters at bullying. Democratic politicians, by contrast, are afraid of each other, of the Republicans, of the media, and of their own shadows. Until the Dems wake up and fight back, until they stop worrying about what some mythical middle-of-the-road voter might maybe do if someone said something nasty about the Democrats, or about what some media scribbler might write, they'll keep getting bullied until they're pushed right off the playing field.

"Democracies get the governments they deserve."

Posted by: bleh on October 28, 2010 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

We'll see how that turns out for them

Well, it's been working pretty well for them while they've been in the minority. I imagine things will only get better. From their perspective.

Posted by: kc on October 28, 2010 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

I used to think that it would be a wonderful thing (for Democrats) if Republicans try to repeal health care reform, since it would bring home to people all the benefits and show Repubs to be on the losing side of policies which, when they're described, people tend to support.

Then I saw the pathetic, gutless refusal of most Dems to defend HCR this fall, accurately recounted here: http://www.theonion.com/articles/democrats-if-were-gonna-lose-lets-go-down-running,18333/

And now it's obvious to me that, if Repubs try to repeal HCR, Democrats will be behind them 100%, and let it die as an issue. Depressing.

Posted by: Basilisc on October 28, 2010 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

"This," Boehner insists, "is not a time for compromise."
We'll see how that turns out for them.

It's going to turn out great for the Republicans. But it's going to suck for the country.

Unlike in 1995, what passes for journalism today is "fair and balanced" reporting. For every story, "journalists" flip through their rolodexes and get a quote from a Republican, then one from a Democrat (but only from a moderate Democrat), and then move on to more important issues like which of the Real Wives of Orange County looks best in a bikini.

These "journalists" act like stenographers for the Republicans, uncritically reporting as fact whatever nonsensical talking point the Republicans are pushing that day. So no matter what actually happens in 2011, and no matter how much that Republicans have bragged about how they will shut down the government, the public will be told by the "journalists" that the stalemate and government shutdown is completely Obama's fault.

I used to say it as a joke, but now I swear that any day now I expect to turn on the teevee and hear, "Today on Meet the Press, Republicans raise new debate on an old issue -- Is the Earth round or flat? We'll hear discussion from both sides of the issue."

Well sorry guys, I know it's more work for you "journalists" but there aren't two sides to every issue. The Sun doesn't orbit the Earth. Tax cuts don't pay for themselves. The Community Re-investment Act didn't cause the mortgage meltdown. Obama didn't nationalize the country's health care system, he's not a secret Muslim and he does have a birth certificate.

The Founding Fathers thought that a free press was so essential to a viable Democracy that they put it in the very first amendment to the Constitution. It's a (possibly fatal) tragedy that the corporate owners of today's press don't feel that way.

Posted by: SteveT on October 28, 2010 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Let the record show that the primary question addressed by voters in the 2010 Election was whether or not to shut the country down completely. Truly this is precisely what the Founding Fathers had in mind.


Posted by: chrenson on October 28, 2010 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen wrote: "... 66% of self-identified likely Republican voters also want to see their party compromise with Democrats ..."

Clearly, Republican politicians are not about to abandon their principles and compromise with Republican voters.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on October 28, 2010 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think statements like these will matter. They'll say in a poll that they want compromise, and see no difficulty cheering on the candidate that will "stand up for what they believe in."

The only effect may be downstream, when we're worse off in two years because of no compromise en masse, but that requires a Democratic spine. It requires Dems to *constantly* point it out and campaign on it. Hell, it's where we are now, and they're not doing that, so I sincerely doubt our discourse will be that rational.

Posted by: Andrew on October 28, 2010 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Smart pols NEVER say they're going to compromise, especially less than a week before an election. Hokey smokes, Steve, you and many other Dems, including me, have ripped Obama for doing just that the past two years.
Compromise occurs when both sides realize they can't beat the other. Until Obama shows the Republicans that, they have no reason to deal.

Posted by: JMG on October 28, 2010 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Boehner and McConnell are both under tremendous pressure to prove their loyalty to tea party groups if they want to still be leaders next year. So they don't have much choice in this, it is the only thing they can do to survive politically. What the nation as a whole wants is irrelevant. They have to please their own supporters or lose everything.

Posted by: Shalimar on October 28, 2010 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Yup, they (the Republicans) listened so well to what their constituents wanted during the health care debate that they are sure to listen now. Oh, yeah.

Posted by: gifgrrl on October 28, 2010 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

Shorter Boehner: "You know who else didn't compromise? Nazis, that's who!

Posted by: puravida on October 28, 2010 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

How's it going to work for them? Great! Because they have been telling voters they're not going to compromise and they're going to get a majority, so obviously the polls were wrong!

Everyone knows Democrats stole the 2006 and 2008 elections.

Posted by: karen marie on October 28, 2010 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Another last minute commercial for the Dems that writes itself:

"80% want parties to work together even if it means compromising some principles...but one party has vowed they will not compromise..."

The other day John Stewart showed clips of McCain repeating the same thing for, literally, decades: "Washington is broke...this place don't work..." It is becoming more and more apparent that Republicans prefer to keep it broken - it fits their mantra that government is always bad, and allows them to manipulate that same broken government to their own ends. I believe they truly fear a democracy that actually functions effectively and is "of the people, by the people, and for the people."

Maybe that's why so much Republican money is being poured into this election, and the goal going forward is a one term Obama presidency (economy and unemployment be damned) - they fear that all the government waste, disfunction, and corruption that they thrive on is being threatened. It's not a large government that they fear - it's a government that actually function as it should.

The president said this is his inaugural address:
" The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. Those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government."

This vision of government is what they fear, because, if implemented, it will put the Republicans out of business.

Posted by: delNorte on October 28, 2010 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

Tea party = Hard right neo-fascism

Once you dip your toe into that pool, there's no going back. But the establishment elites appear willing to ride the tiger nonetheless.

Posted by: BetweenTheLines on October 28, 2010 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK
"This is not a time for compromise, and I can tell you that we will not compromise on our principles," Boehner said during an appearance on conservative Sean Hannity's radio show.

They have principles? Who knew?

Also, Boehner's decision to appear with the dress-up Nazi guy? Boehn-headed move.

Posted by: navamske on October 28, 2010 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK
The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.

Yeah good luck with that. Especially when your rabid teabaggers demand a Palin/Reagan ticket.

Posted by: The Answer WAS Orange on October 28, 2010 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

liberal here's a comment on your diatribes. Your typical of those that want everything their way. It's your way or the highway. God you're as bad as the radical right wingers maybe worse because you whine so much.

Posted by: Gandalf on October 28, 2010 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

I saw the tail-end of Hardball last night. chris Matthews was completely mystified why Healthcar was such a toxic issue for Democrats, why they had to run from it as fast as possible instead of embracing the accomplishment. It was a complete mystery to him. Mystery? I wondered how much air-time he had given to the tea baggers, and Sarah Palin and death panels instead of dismissing all of that as garbage.

Posted by: SaintZak on October 28, 2010 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

"...obama/dlc leadership FAILED to do anything meaningful..."

Are you serious? There are a couple million people who still have jobs because of the stimulus who would dispute that...and, being self-employed, Health Care Reform is a big f*ing meaningful deal to me.

Did Obama and the Dems do as much as they could have - probably not, but to say they've failed to do anything meaningful simple isn't true. Take your own advice and start paying attention.

Posted by: delNorte on October 28, 2010 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

I am totally depressed with our entire political process. I will vote Democrat but where I live it looks like Toomey & Corbett. I just hope they don't screw too much up.

Posted by: EDR on October 28, 2010 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately 90% of likely Republican voters are delusional to the point of believing that an uncompromising do-nothing Republican congress that will spend most of it's energy "investigating" the Obama administration, and a petty obstructionist Republican minority in the Senate will be negotiating in earnest with the President.

Posted by: Rip on October 28, 2010 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

navamske wrote: "They have principles? Who knew?"

Actually they have one principle: greed.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on October 28, 2010 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

So what MORE should the Democrats be willing to give up in the spirit of compromise, Steve? Your argument benefits whom?

Posted by: Michael7843853 on October 28, 2010 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

Mark my words (and the words of many others), the Republicans will shut the government down next year. It will last at least a month, if the Democrats have any cahojnes, and don't get wishy-washy and override a Presidential veto.

It will come over the debt ceiling, possibly with a provision attached from a Republican House to repeal Health Care reforms.

If the Democrats are in charge in the Senate (by a thread), the Republicans will demand that they just pass the House bill, or they will hold up everything.

But the damage that will be done to the economy is the most important part to them. If they cause a government shutdown early, they can plunge us back into recession. They can cause additional thousands of jobs to be lost. But they know our stupid media and the stupid public will say "It's both sides fault." And they are banking on the public forgetting by the time the Presidential election rolls around.

I expect unemployment to be about 12-15% for 2012, if the Republicans follow this strategy.

Posted by: Chris on October 28, 2010 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

liberal wrote: "... ability to tolerate decent."

That would be "dissent".

The appearance of illiteracy does not enhance your comments.


It's all well and good to post deliberately annoying and inflammatory comments in order to provoke a response.

It's called "trolling", and some people enjoy amusing themselves by doing that.

People, that is, who have nothing better to do than to impress themselves with their ability to waste other people's time with deliberately annoying BS.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on October 28, 2010 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Boehner's comment suggests that there IS a time to compromise. I wonder when that is.

Posted by: short fuse on October 28, 2010 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Well said mate!

Posted by: Pinot Grigio wine on October 28, 2010 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

liberal-do I want more out of Obama?-Yes Do expect that I will get everything I want?-No
That's not intolerance or propaganda that's realistic expectations of what will get done. I basically don't think anyone here is squashing your opinions but I do think your an asshole.

Posted by: Gandalf on October 28, 2010 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

SteveT, a free press IS vital to the health of any democracy but, as you further stated, the corporate media owners are only worried about the next batch of ratings.
It wasn't a coincindence that the "real journalism" we miss so badly actually only happened while the "Fairness Doctrine" was in effect. Prior to 1934, there was just as much bad journalism as now, however, because the medium was print it wasn't as immediate nor, quite, as incendiary. When radio, and then broadcast television, arrived and provided daily news FREE(!), many people switched from newspapers to those media. Most newspapers, in an attempt to keep their customers, adopted the electronic journalism standards and provided, on the whole, news that was just that - news. Not regurgitated party hand-outs. Not "Democrats say/Republicans say" faux even-handedness, but actual facts that supported or disproved the contention(s) made in the story.
I miss Walter...

Posted by: Doug on October 28, 2010 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Many women and men do not ever put down to reach their objectives, or never set goals to begin with, due to the fact that they experience a fear of disappointment or rejection. Perhaps they don't really think that they will be able to accomplish this, or perhaps they mistakenly think that if they just tell themselves what they wish enough times, those ambitions will magically be fulfilled.

Posted by: How to set goals on November 2, 2010 at 5:53 PM | PERMALINK

ha. baggers have been counter-protesting that their biggest gripe is debt/deficit (a concern that miraculously, yet reliably comes out of remission when dems are pres and/or dominate congress). yet, repugs want to repeal 'obamacare' first.
conflicting priorities. something's going to break. i think most likely, gop will be shave off various dissident teapartiers. there's a huge supply of fresh useful idiots to replace them.

Posted by: baggers are ignorant on November 4, 2010 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

I hope they don`t compromise w/Obama.Even it means that democrats take the presidency again in 2012,so long as obama is gone. any one democrat or republican or even a boyscout could have done more for our country then this dumb, idiot, no account,fag.

Posted by: gaetano on November 5, 2010 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK



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