A lot of us liberals were disappointed, although not surprised, to see the threat of a default over the debt ceiling trotted out again. I mean, it seemed to us like the deal was: pass a budget, get the ability to stick to the budget. Apparently not.
So I was annoyed, wondering, like many lefties, why compromise has suddenly become a code word for “why don’t you accept nothing while I just get my way,” when I realized, duh, there was nothing sudden about it.
We started to hear about the evil of flip-flopping back in the ’88 election, and that’s when we should’ve realized that our opponents weren’t talking about what they thought but, rather, what they believed, and that belief was on its way to replacing opinion.
And where’s the room to meet in the middle on belief? Meeting in the middle with belief means giving up on the fundamental truth you believe in. “Jesus is the son of God” vs. “There is no God”: where can people on either of those ends compromise without selling out their fundamental beliefs?
With today’s policy debates now faith-based – “trust in me and after we’re austere enough the capital-holders will reward us with growth” – why should political compromise be any different?
No, the answer is that there’s no room for a deal, because the basis for negotiation never changes. And that’s ok: we can work with a consistent meaning of compromise, whatever that meaning is.