If only they could cooperate and compromise they could get things done.
I heard it in the staffroom at work. I hear it from the Harry Reid. I hear it from the media. Funny how I never hear that when the Democrats have control and are winning elections. It would appear that the word "compromise" has a special meaning in the minds of liberals. It means "go along with what we want". Sometimes it means "abandon your principles in order to do what we want", and occasionally it means "do what we want and we'll say nice things about you in the media".
Here's the problem, and the general direction of discussion that I had in the staff room (friendly thankfully as I work with a lot of really good people).
If compromise only works one way, it isn't compromise, its an abandonment of principle.
A few examples:
- I think that illegal immigrants should be blocked from getting jobs and deported if arrested for anything. I think that no one here illegally should be allowed to access the welfare state or obtain any of the trappings of residency such as driver's licenses. Many on the left think that illegals should be granted a "pathway to citizenship" and allowed to stay with some meaningless slap on the wrist. Where is the compromise solution? Some of them get to stay? Most of them get to stay? They get to stay if they haven't broken any other laws? Any compromise is merely giving the left what they want, only less of it.
- I believe that the government has no business having departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, or Energy, just to name a few. I do not believe that the Constitution grants the federal government any power over these aspects of our lives. Each of these, and many more, areas of government rightfully belong to the States under our federalist system. Many on the left believe that not only should the federal government be controlling these areas, but that the states should be completely subservient to these agencies of federal power. Where is the compromise? Do we have smaller version of the same departments? In my mind those are un-Constitutional. In order to compromise I have to accept a role for the federal government that is not supported by our founding documents.
- I believe that we, the people, have an unlimited right to keep and bear arms. The purpose of this guarantee was to provide a check on the power of the government. A people that have no response to the police power of the state have no freedom. Many on the left believe that the government has a the only legitimate claim to violence and therefore only agents of the government should have access to firearms. The compromise has been regulation on the ability of citizens to obtain firearms. Background checks, bans on automatic weapons, short barreled weapons, sound suppressors, various cosmetic features, magazine capacity, etc. It is a compromise that many firearm owners and Constitutionalists alike have been willing to support. With 22,000 laws on the books regulating firearms, however, the left wants more and we are told that we should compromise. When does it stop? We have compromised to the point that I can only purchase certain guns and only with the permission of the federal government. I am a law abiding, free citizen yet I am heavily restricted from exercising a guaranteed right. Where is the compromise from the left?
- Recently the Democrats in the Senate introduced a Constitutional Amendment that would have gutted the primary protection of the First Amendment by giving Congress unfettered authority to regulate political speech. What compromise should we accept here? Political speech is already the most heavily regulated type of speech in our country, far more regulated than pornography, for example.
Harry Reid spoke out on November 5th about the election results and had this to say:
The message from voters is clear: They want us to work together. I look forward to working with Senator McConnell to get things done for the middle class.”This from the most uncooperative Senate Majority Leader possibly in the history of our country. The Republican controlled House passed hundreds of bills that never even had a committee hearing in the Reid controlled Senate. If Harry Reid didn't like a bill, it died without a hearing. Reid also led the move to eliminate the filibuster in many situations, preventing the minority from having a voice in Senate deliberations This is not cooperation, it is dictatorship. Democracy so long as you do what I want. I don't deny Reid's authority to do what he did (although legally his elimination of the filibuster violated the Senate's own rules), but it is hypocritical to then claim that cooperation is king when you lose control.
Compromise always means that our policies move in a leftward direction. More spending, more taxation, bigger and more intrusive government, more regulation on our daily lives, fewer guarantees of individual liberty. Libertarians and conservatives rarely win these battles and when we do, when a party moves in a libertarian direction with an opportunity to make some policy decisions that would result in more rather than less freedom, the immediate response is "compromise and cooperate". I, for one, am sick of it. If we are truly going to start a new era of cooperation and compromise I want to see it from the left as well as the right. I'm not holding my breath. Whether it is tax increases now and spending cuts down the road, or immigrant amnesty now and border controls in the future, the concessions we are offered to support the liberal agenda never quite seem to happen. As President Reagan said in a different context, "Trust but verify". I don't believe it when progressives say they want to cooperate, and I don't believe that any aspect of a conservative agenda will be implemented under a "cooperative" Washington DC. Their push for cooperation is a ploy to continue achieving their agenda. The hell with that.