There's a lot of noise today about promoting political squishiness to a virtue and endorsing the notion that compromise for its own sake is noble. I uncompromisingly dissent.
First, let's understand that compromise for pragmatic purposes or out of political necessity is wholly different from compromise for its own sake. It is the latter I reject, recognizing that the former is, by definition, sometimes the best of the bad options. Those types of decisions have to be made on a case-by-case basis with a thorough evaluation of the available options and the short- and long-term implications of settling for the imperfect solution.
We often hear that "the American people are sick of all the partisan wrangling and just want politicians to get along, compromise and get something done for the good of the nation," as if there were a consensus out there as to what is good for the nation and the only obstacles to achieving it were partisan bickering.
The recently hatched group that labels itself "No Labels" is "calling for a new politics of problem-solving." One if its label-eschewing founding members, David Frum, cites a survey allegedly showing that "61 percent of independents ... endorsed the proposition that 'Governing is about compromise, and I want my elected officials to work with the other side to find common ground and pass legislation on important issues.'"
Now that's interesting. Not even two-thirds of self-described independents subscribe to the Rodney King credo, "Can we all get along?" Thirty-two percent of those rascals "chose the contrary position that 'Leadership is about taking principled stands, and I want my elected officials to stand up for what they believe in, even if it means that legislation on important issues does not pass.'"
Just think of what the results might have been if the poll questioning hadn't been loaded toward squishiness? I mean, the poll question could have admitted that gridlock is preferable to bad bills and as many as half the squishes might have rejected squishiness.