A Liberal Case For No Compromise In Washington

Washington D.C. - photo by Patrick NouhaillerNumerous articles on this blog have critiqued Republicans’ unwillingness to compromise. I’ve mentioned that House Speaker John Boehner doesn’t even like the word compromise. So you would think that I believe compromise is a good thing in Washington. Well, if we were dealing with two political parties that gravitated towards the center of the political spectrum, one being center-left, the other being center-right, then sure, compromise is a good thing. That’s not the make-up of Washington D.C. at the moment.

Democrats are collectively a center-left party. Sure, there is the Congressional Progressive Caucus in the House, and then you have a very liberal independent like Bernie Sanders who caucuses with Democrats in the Senate. But on the whole, Democrats in Washington are not very liberal. They are slightly liberal at best.

Republicans are collectively a conservative, even very conservative, party. The Republican Party in 2013 cannot be labeled center-right. It is solidly right. And there are more than a few Republicans who are not only very conservative, they can be called nothing less than extreme right-wing ideologues. When you want to tear down and destroy the 20th century, everything positive since the New Deal, you are not conservative. A conservative would demand maintenance of the status quo. There is nothing status quo about the extreme elements who are driving the Republican Party further to the right with each passing year.

As a result of this dichotomy, in 2013, it is liberals who are now the greatest protectors of status quo. Sure, liberals still want to build on the achievements of the 20th century, things like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, etc. But liberals first job in 2013 is to protect these achievements above all else. And that means no compromise on these achievements with an extreme right-wing Republican Party.

There is nothing but evidence from a progressive perspective that stalemate is the best of the worst options to protect what the American public gets out of government, and going forward. And getting to a place essentially where one of the two parties becomes essentially inoperable, and it does not become electorally viable. And I would argue that even the pursuit of some kind of “grand bargain” is actually disruptive. It brought us the “sequester”…Baked into the cake…was an entitlement reform deal, cutting Social Security and Medicare…The White House pursuit of this “grand bargain” has brought us the sequester.  – Sam Seder on Up with Chris Hayes, 03/17/2013

When you try to bargain with a political party that sees government as the problem, you will not end up with a compromise that defends and strengthens the achievements of the 20th century. When you try to bargain with a political party that sees tax cuts as a means to “starve the beast,” driving up deficits and making it politically viable to cut programs like Social Security and Medicare, you will not get a compromise that helps the average American.

What you end up with are compromises that hurt most Americans and only benefit a few rich entitled people at the top. That is a recipe for a plutocracy, not a democracy.

That is why there is a liberal case for no compromise in Washington.

photo by Patrick Nouhailler

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