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October 19, 2011

Compromise? (tmi3rd)

Good evening, everyone. Iím tmi3rd, and I finally have a night off from physics to toss my two cents into the pot. Here goesÖ and I apologize in advance for the length of this.

So RD Brewer posted the Mitt Romney takedown in the sidebar the other day, and it got me to thinking about compromise, both within our party and with the other side.

For years now, people have defined politics as the art of compromise. By that definition, itís the only way anything gets done in terms of legislation. This, in turn, led to the platitude we hear tossed around about finding ďcommon groundĒ with those on the other side of the aisle.

Again, caution... long read ahead...

Of late, WBAPís Mark Davis (who you occasionally get to hear filling in for Rush) has made a bit more noise about a contrary theory, and one that I concur with him on. His theory is that, rather than hunting for some mythical common ground Ėthe idyllic compromise- you throw your ideas out there for the world to consume, and see what wins traction in the marketplace of ideas. You then go with it when youíve got something that works.

An example that seems to both back this up and undermine the theory at the same time is ObamaCare. Rammed through by Democrats who never had any intention of compromise, the argument can be made that it was one of the crown jewels that cost them so grievously in the 2010 midterms. They did not float it out there to see what the public thought of it (of course, in truth, they didnít have any idea what was in it anyway, nor does it appear the contents of the bill mattered to them), but went with their all-or-nothing bill, and are in the process of paying for it now.

So whatís the fine print on this? Well, letís break that down for a moment. As noted in the piece RDB linked, compromising with the Democrats is ultimately what got us to where we are. Republicans who may have started off as conservatives and libertarians ultimately got sucked into the power trap- perfectly willing to grow the size of government as long as they were holding the reins- and now we have this unwieldy behemoth that passes for our federal government. As defined currently in Democrat-friendly media, compromise consists of the Democrats telling Republicans what will be passed, and if the Republicans donít go along with it, theyíre obstructionist.

Oh, and obviously, Iím not telling you anything you donít already know here.

By ramming ObamaCare through, the Democrats ignored the wishes of the public to their faces, as evidenced by the sustained polling data that indicates a large majority wants it to go away. It was going to be a cold day in hell before Democrats would be denied the Tolkien Ring of Power, and they grabbed at it, regardless of consequence. As is also well-known, the idea for this goes at least back to FDR, and possibly to Wilson.

One could regard that as a cautionary tale about compromise being a good thing, but I think it does exactly the opposite. I think the tale delineates clearly the pointlessness of compromise with those who are diametrically opposed to us, ideologically. In insultingly simple terms, we would not compromise with Al-Qaeda, Iran, or any of a legion of people opposed to the American way of lifeÖ and is it not fair to say that at the moment, the socialist bent of the Democrats (now endorsed by National Socialists and communists alike!) also has fundamental change of the American way of life at its core, too?

No, the fact of the matter is- as weíve seen evidenced by the other side and, most recently from the OWS crew- the other side doesnít just disagree with us- they think us evil. Let that sink in for a second. They donít regard us as countrymen, motivated by what we believe is in the best interests of the nation, but a force for evil. They accuse us of essentially trying to manufacture death, and when called on it, double down on it. There is no good faith in that kind of argument- if anything, itís a declaration of divorce, at best (Iím trying to avoid the use of combat terms for the moment).

What good does it do us to compromise with them, since doing so only leads to a slow erosion of the ideals that make us what we are? The current situation requires a Congress and president that will go on offense to break down the socialist structures that are attempting to root out the American way of life and replace it with something more European in nature.

Compromise ainít a part of that equation.

With that in mind, we turn to the primaries.

It gives me no pleasure to say to Mitt Romney via this blog, ďI donít believe you.Ē

Romney would be, without question, a cosmic improvement over SCOAMFOTUS. I believe heíd have the good sense to try to get out of the way of the economy improving- meaning reducing regulation and making permanent the 2000-era tax rates. I believe him when he says heíd repeal ObamaCare, after last nightís debate (as many of you know, thatís a critical issue for me). I believe heíd take a more active role in foreign policy, and I believe heíd work hard to reconstitute our military while trying to streamline the obstructions that have made advances in equipping our armed forces somewhat of a labyrinth.

My problem is that I donít believe heíd deviate from current GOP thinkingÖ that being that big government is perfectly fine as long as weíre the ones running it. For all the good that did happen under Bush 43, the unchecked growth of government by people who were nominally supposed to be of our political stripe rankles me to this day. I am not convinced that the demise of ObamaCare wouldnít have something equally abominable pop up in its place, with ďcompromiseĒ (spit) written all over it. I do believe he would compromise key foundational principles for short-term political gain without the foresight to look down the road to maintain the American way of life.

The rise of the Tea Party shows us that we can elect more doctrinaire conservatives and libertarians to office- provided theyíre properly vetted and blooded on the way to the nomination and ultimately election. The blooding of Romney last night needed to happen, regardless of outcome, and the blooding of Cain last night was equally necessary. Last nightís debate was the first time weíve seen some genuine self-vetting of candidates, and it was long past time for that to happen. A happy result of this is that there has been some questioning of things like 999 in places like the Wall Street Journal, and it is conservatives and libertarians who should be helping shape such proposals going forward.

The appeal of someone like Cain to me is that there is finally someone other than Pon Raul (deliberate so as not to invite an assault from the Ronulan Empire) proposing foundational change in the tax system that, on its surface, appears to be fairly easy to understand. Is it perfect? No. Can it be improved? Of course. Thatís how it should be, and it should be guided by conservatives and libertarians.

That example aside, with the remaining candidates, itís hard to identify one that mixes a lot of Romneyís skill in campaigning, experience, his considerable fundraising machine, and a lot of the other fundamental pieces in place necessary to win a presidential election. Where I am, itís unlikely that the outcome will be in question by the time it gets to me, so this is largely academic on my end. From where Iím watching, I figure there are probably four players left who can make a run (IMHO).

So hereís the quandary about all this: the folks who are going to vote in the Republican primary are largely united in the stance that we cannot afford another four years of Barack Obama as president. At the moment, it appears that independents agree, so the story really is who gets nominated. Thatís not to say that the game is over once the nomination process is done, but that itís the Republican nomineeís to lose once the selection is made.

The machinery is turning to speed up the process in order to give the nomination to Romney (the dreaded GOP establishment strikes again), but that gives those of us not sold on Romney two key jobs. One is to coalesce around someone who we think can beat Obama in the general (still absolutely the most important thing in the upcoming election), and if Romney gets the nomination, to drag him right on issues ranging from global warming to a nationalized health care system.

Again, the problem is that the GOP establishment is what got us here in the first place. Mishandling of governance in the last decade, combined with an abandonment of conservative/libertarian principles, has helped us to get to a situation where we have Dem and Dem Lite, prior to the Tea Party getting into the act.

Rush Limbaugh has pointed out lately that we as conservatives and libertarians have made ourselves part of the act in the past. That 2010 election didnít happen by accident, and it was because we all got ourselves involved in a real and tangible way. So, whatever you choose to do- be it support Romney or someone else- I implore you to help pick the path to the result. If Romney gets the nomination, heíll get daily messages from me urging him to tack right on key critical issues.

There is still significant time to make our voices heard, and I urge you to do so. I have it on good authority that many major players in conservatism and libertarianism check in here to take the pulse of the movement, and commenting here is certainly part of things. But that doesnít mean you can just do it here; Iím asking you to make your voices heard in as many ways possible leading into the primaries.

For the record, as of this moment, Iím frankly inclined to pull the lever for Newt, partially because things should be settled by the time my primary date rolls around, and partially because he strikes me as being the brightest guy on the stage. I will also admit to desperately wanting to see him in a debate with either Biden or Obama so that we can have a beatdown of Cheney-Edwards proportions. Cain hurt himself badly on foreign policy lately, Perry finally sort of showed up last night, youíve seen my dissection of Romney, and Gingrichís relatively off night last night was still slobberingly awesome.

I donít pretend to have a good or clear answer on this- the baggage that each candidate carries is significant, and should give us pause going forward to make sure we pick the right combination of qualifications, experience (political or otherwise), electability, and ideology. The bottom line- in the next four years, how are they going to start undoing the damage done over the last six years?

Thanks for reading!


Postscript: Mark Steyn friggin' nails it here.

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posted by Open Blogger at 08:03 PM

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