Running out to store, I heard Rush Limbaugh criticizing Chris Christie for using the word “compromise” too often in his speech last night.
Said Rush — who wants nothing of compromise in our governance: “Winners don’t compromise with losers.”
Well, alright, I guess that’s one point of view, but it seems to me the man wants to have his cake and eat it too. He (and I, and many others) criticized President Obama for saying at his first meeting with the GOP, “I won,” and for later reminding them on another occasion that he won in ’08 and that “elections have consequences.”
We hated that. We found that arrogant (because it was arrogant) and said — “this is not how one governs. How can he not listen to half the country!”
But now — shoe on other foot, suddenly Rush Limbaugh is suggesting that a GOP candidate must essentially be willing to turn to the Democrats in ’12 — assuming he or she were to win — and say, “I won,” and perpetuate the stalemate that is preventing constructive solutions to our problems.
It’s the stagnant mindset that keeps something like Paul Ryan’s serious plan to replace Obamacare in the DOA pile, in Congress.
It’s the stagnant mindset that has a “post-partisan” president out there on the campaign trail throwing red meat and demonizing the loyal opposition, which may feed his base, but still does not allow for real solutions to our problems to be explored and developed.
Limbaugh’s shouting, “where do you want to compromise with Nancy Pelosi; where do you want to compromise with Harry Reid; where do you want to compromise with Barack Obama?”
It’s stirring rhetoric to the faithful, but it does nothing at all to get us out of this mess. No, I don’t especially want to compromise with Pelosi or Reid, but you know what? You have to live in the world “as it is.”
That doesn’t mean roll over — it means fight for what you believe in, but also recognize that no one likes to be steamrollered and the people with whom you are in opposition need to feel like they’re participating, or nothing goes forward.
I know, I know, Limbaugh is looking at a big picture — his intention is to stir up his listeners and get momentum going to elect not only a GOP president but collect a super-majority in both houses (as though we loved it so much when one party was in total control from 2008 to 2010) but in his passion he’s encouraging his listeners to forget that a president must be president of the whole nation — not just of the base.
This “winners don’t compromise with losers” language. It turns me off, because it’s what we’re living with right now. And it sucks.
Limbaugh is misleading when he says “St. Ronaldus Magnus” “never compromised.” Limbaugh knows darn well that Reagan was the one who wrote in his biography, An American Life:
” When I began entering into the give and take of legislative bargaining in Sacramento, a lot of the most radical conservatives who had supported me during the election didn’t like it. “Compromise” was a dirty word to them and they wouldn’t face the fact that we couldn’t get all of what we wanted today. They wanted all or nothing and they wanted it all at once. If you don’t get it all, some said, don’t take anything. I’d learned while negotiating union contracts that you seldom got everything you asked for. And I agreed with FDR, who said in 1933:
‘I have no expectations of making a hit every time I come to bat. What I seek is the highest possible batting average.’ If you got seventy-five or eighty percent of what you were asking for, I say, you take it and fight for the rest later, and that’s what I told these radical conservatives who never got used to it.”
I’m always astonished at conservatives who deify Reagan with one breath and then completely ignore the fact that he wrote that — he knew that politics is the art of the possible, and that nothing is possible with a steamroller but destruction and waste.
I don’t know who I am going to support for President; I do know that Christie has made a positive difference in his state by being tough when toughness mattered — I’ll never forget him sending the Democrat budget back within five minutes of receiving it, with his veto. He got what mattered to him in the budget. He got what mattered with regards to the unions. And he even cut off funding for Planned Parenthood. I give all of that a lot more weight than how many times he used the word “compromise.”
I think Christie has more than demonstrated that you compromise where you can — get your 75% and fight again another day. And that is downright Reaganesque of him. The real Reagan, not the “pure and perfect conservative” hagiographic fiction that so many cling to.
We are currently being governed by an “I won-do-as-I-say” president who is catering to the nit-pickers on his side. I frankly don’t want another, not from either side.
Anyone currently running for president from the GOP side would be an improvement over Obama. But I want a president who has demonstrated that he can actually lead, and bring others around to his way of thinking — not browbeat and not make end-runs around the congress or the constitution.
And I will point out to some of the “purists” that even Sarah Palin made her reputation — and governed effectively and successfully — by being a conservative who stuck to her guns on what mattered to her, but still was able to work with the opposition.
It’s an old chestnut that in a storm it’s the rigid trees that fall, while those that still have a small reserve of flexibility survive. Being stubborn and single-minded can often accomplish much, but being completely inflexible just blocks solutions and foments resentment. It gets us to where we are, today.
A reserve of flexibility matters. I don’t want another president who does not have it.
UPDATE: Hot Air has more