Will the GOP seize its historic mandate to legislate according to conservative principles, or, mistaking weakness for magnanimity in the pink clouds of victory, will it succumb to the siren song of “compromise”?
If history is any guide — and I hope it’s not, and maybe the tea party will make the difference — sooner or later, the GOP will again be lured by wily Democrats onto the rocks of compromise. As if congenitally crippled by more manners than necessary and a dearth of street(fighter) smarts, Republicans have traditionally been easy marks for that corny old con of “bipartisanship,” inspiring them to “reach across the aisle” only to have their arms, not to mention their promises to constituents, broken.
Predictably, the pressure’s already mounting in the media. Headlined pleas were piling up even before the final votes were tallied, as if to stymie the force of the political tsunami washing away the foundations of the Obama State. “Rand Paul’s big Senate test: Can tea party compromise?” (Christian Science Monitor); “Reid: `Legislation is the Art of Compromise’” (CBS); and, my favorite, “Republicans must compromise to win enduring majority” (TheStreet.com).
Enduring Democratic majority, that is.
The fact is, compromise between diametrically opposed world views — in this political case, the state’s view (Democrats) versus the individual’s view (Republicans) — is just a nice word for the ploy Democrats use when necessary to leverage any disparity in strength into an asset. When they’re strong, they sound like President Obama, who just a few weeks ago described compromise, Democrat-style: “We don’t mind the Republicans joining us,” he said. “They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.” When they’re weak, Democrats make mournful little appeals to “comity” and “civility” that Republicans can’t seem to ignore, especially with the media piping up with the manufactured threat of “gridlock” — another creaky ploy. Honestly, who really believes the country can’t wait just a little longer for another thousand new pages of congressional laws?