No compromises on a ship of fools

Armstrong Williams | 10/17/2013, 2:54 p.m.
Usually when two sides cannot come to an agreement, they can let an arbiter weigh their arguments and settle the ...
Armstrong Williams

Usually when two sides cannot come to an agreement, they can let an arbiter weigh their arguments and settle the dispute. Some arbiters try to find the optimum compromise, while others simple rule in favor of one side over the other.

Unfortunately for America, we have no arbitrator. Instead, we have two groups of buffoons flinging muck at each other. On one side, we have a group of Republicans in the House refusing to do anything unless Obamacare’s individual mandate is delayed or, better yet, defunded. On the other side, you have the Democrat Senate refusing to vote on any bills.

Traditionally, the president tries to act as the arbiter in such disputes, but Obama refuses to entertain negotiations. He insists that the House GOP drop all their demands and give him free reign.

Does neither side understand what a compromise is? In a negotiation, unless you are dealing with a fool, you never get everything you want. You must make concessions in order to move forward. I am a businessman and can tell you that time and again, I have to compromise to make a deal. By finding areas of agreement and contention, we can iron out those issues and find some kind of middleground. I may not get everything I want, but I get enough to make the deal worthwhile for both my associates and me. The biggest difference between my business deals and the current shutdown squabble is that I can walk away if I think the deal is too skewed against me.

Obama, Boehner, and Reid cannot walk away.

The GOP’s idea of a compromise is to offer a delay rather than liquidate the Affordable Care Act. This notion was the strategy behind passing both bills and sending them to the Senate, figuring that the Senate would obviously reject defunding and negotiate on the delay.

But Republican leadership is stupid. They could not foresee that Reid would bundle the bills and force an up-or-down vote for both or either all at once. They thought the debt ceiling deadline was leverage when, in actuality, it was a corner into which they were blindingly running.

They were also dumb enough to think they could beat the president and Democrats in a PR war over the shutdown. In Washington and the media, political compromise means the Republicans should capitulate to the Democrats. Democrats standing on principle are “courageous,” while Republicans doing the same are “jihadists, arsonists and terrorists.” It has been this way for at least 30 years and remains so. To expect anything different is insanity.

In the Senate, Harry Reid’s idea of a compromise is to demand that the GOP pass a clean continuing resolution that keeps everything the same as it is. He knew perfectly well that stonewalling the House would lead to a shutdown and was rightly confident that the Democrats could win the media battle.

Over in the White House, the president sat back and proceeded to simply be an adolescent. He refuses to even meet with Republican leaders to hammer out a compromise. He sends out marching orders to the 83 percent of the government not actually shut down to make the shut down as obvious and painful as possible, just as he had done earlier this year for sequestration but even more outrageously.