S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Monday, August 08, 2011

What's in a name?

Today President called for Congress to "use common sense and compromise."  Neither legislative body yet seems broadly in the mood to do the dreaded deed, "compromise."  Why is that?  According to, here are the four meanings of the word compromise:
1.  noun - a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an agreement reached by adjustment of conflicting or opposing claims, principles, etc., by reciprocal modification of demands.
2.  noun - the result of such settlement
noun - something intermediate between different things: The split-level is a compromise between a ranch house and a multi-storied house.
4. noun - an endangering, especially of reputation, exposure to danger, suspicion, etc.: a compromise of one's integrity.

Compromise."  Look at the different ways the word can be defined between numbers 1 and 4, from agreement to endangerment.  No wonder it is something to be sought after by some and avoided by others.  Here is an illustration.  In his 8/4/11 - CQ Roll Call Daily Briefing, David Hawkings said,
. . . The first poll since the completion of the debt deal, conducted by Gallup for USA Today, shows 46 percent disapproval for the package and 39 percent approval. Among the all-important independents, 50 percent disapproved and 33 percent backed the compromise. The opinions on the left and right were predictable, but signaled that Obama and Biden had succeeded — at least initially — at framing the deal more to their base’s liking than Boehner and McConnell. While 58 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of liberals express support for the legislation, fully 64 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of conservatives say they opposed it. (The poll of 1,012 adults was taken Tuesday and has a 4 point margin of error.)

Notice that the term "debt deal" is more often preferred than the term "compromise,"  the result of a settlement between the parties.  On the previous day Hawkings did use the term "compromise" in a quote he included. Perhaps it is because there was precious little middle ground to be found between such different views. To quote,

QUOTE OF NOTE: “I don’t see any momentum for more compromise after this deal than there was before. Maybe less,” Mark Halperin said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” this morning — reinstated a month after being dropped indefinitely for calling the president “kind of a dick” on the air.

The two extremes along the political spectrum are afraid of compromise.  In an August 2  Roll Call article, steamed activists are planning to disrupt forums. To quote:
As leaders attempted to sell the rank and file on the parameters of the compromise, Congress struck with President Barack Obama, tea party groups and liberal organizations alike bristled and promised that they will not be forgiving come the next election.

Members of the rank and file are angry that their leaders struck any kind of compromise, despite the very real danger of debt default.  It seems they fear their reputations will be endangered by giving another inch of ground.  This is the rigidity of unbending ideology.  The results of such politics today were marked by a 500+ point drop on the NYSE.

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