President Barack Obama and House Republicans' showdown over the debt and deficit quickly is turning into Washington's OK Corral. And politicians on each side are trying to convince you which are Tombstone law enforcement (the good guys) and who the rogue cowboys (the bad guys) are.
The real problem is that though they accuse each other of being relentlessly uncompromising, partisan preference and self-preservation is too often each camp's greatest agenda. Compromise was an honorable concession in yesteryear, when two sides respectfully came together for the common good. Now it is a weapon used to pit your opponents against the American people -- in the arsenal to assassinate an opponent's character.
If I were in the Washington corral right now, this is what I would shout to those political yahoos: The issue and question shouldn't be what compromise can you make to acquire your partisan preferences, but what catalyst can you create to build up our economy?
There is no better example of extreme partisan politics and underhanded compromises than President Obama. Two weeks ago, in the heart of the Washington debt debates, he proposed a far-reaching debt reduction plan that would force Democrats to accept major changes to Social Security and Medicare. Sounds so compromising, doesn't it? But it is conditionally connected to the Republicans' support for a tax hike on households that earn more than $250,000 annually.
The politically devious aspect of that offer was that it had a twofold demise for Republicans if they rejected it. First, they would appear to be rejecting the heart of their political quest and plan, to cut spending. Secondly, they would be perceived by the public to be obstinate and uncompromising, unlike President Obama.
Mark Mardell, North America editor of BBC News, hit the nail on the head concerning Obama's modus operandi: "If the Republicans quit, refuse to do a deal in the face of what looks like the president being so willing to compromise that he is damaging his reputation with his own party, they will look like ideological hotheads."