Montana Politics

On Compromise


President Obama and Senator Tester have taken a lot of heat recently for compromising, not holding the line, and ‘capitulating’. I think the last weeks have shown that they knew what they were doing, at least to some extent.

Look at the headlines – Obama signed the repeal of DADT, Congress passed bills to help 9/11 first responders and the Senate approved the New START treaty. As much as we all hate seeing tax cuts for the rich, the alternative was no tax cuts at all, no extension of unemployment benefits, and likely no further progress during the lame duck session.

And final point – is an electable but imperfect Jon Tester better than a less electable but progressive Democrat in a race against Denny Rehberg? Remember that these legislative accomplishments were possible because of moderate Republicans crossing the aisle to get common-sense bills passed. Rehberg has shown no such willingness, and if we were to put him in the Senate (the more obstructionist chamber) by failing to run the strongest candidate possible against him, we would be adding to the immovable wall of die-hard Republicans that oppose any action suggested by Democrats or occurring during a Democratic administration.

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The Polish Wolf


  • Two questions, though:

    1) Would a 'yes' vote on the DREAM Act or even a vote to allow the full Senate to vote really have cost Tester much support?

    2) Do you compromise on basic human rights and national security?

  • 1) No. A yes vote on the DREAM act wouldn't have cost him that much support. Unless there was an unleaked backdoor deal to kill DREAM to pass DADT (possible, but not worth speculating), there was no good reason to vote against DREAM, unless Tester simply didn't support it out of some blind faith to the credo that lawbreakers cannot be forgiven unless they are very wealthy.

    2) Good question. Taken absolutely, I think there are some human rights than cannot be compromised. I also firmly believe, however, that not compromising has exceedingly high costs and the significance of the human right or national security issue in question has to be weighed against the costs of conflict. Compromise might have saved a half a million Americans during the civil war, or the conflict and violence of the civil rights act, but at what cost? On the other hand, sometimes the cost outweighs the benefits.

  • Don't church it up too much polish Wolf – there wasn't much compromise on the part of Jon Tester or The Messiah.

    The GOP told them that until they passed keeping the tax rates the same, and a budget extension, that nothing else would happen.

    So the Dems gave them what they wanted.

    DADT was going to pass by a supermajority, and the DREAM amnesty was going to fail by a supermajority, and Tester simply followed the crowd.

    It was the smart move, because Tester knows he has nothing to fear from the Montana Dem establishment, or the far left.

    • DADT didn't even get voted on the last time it came up. Obama could have held out and not extended the tax cuts. Many economists suggested to do that. Instead, he chose to compromise (much to the chagrin of liberal democrats of the 4&20 variety). The downside would have been of course to just let nothing get done. I am arguing what we accomplished by making the compromise is better than any honor we could have saved sticking to our guns

      • No Polish Wolf, Obama couldn't hold out. He was simply coming to terms with the fact that America rejected his radical agenda.

        The best thing to come of this lame duck session was the rejection of the omnibus budget bill. Starting in two weeks, when the GOP takes over the House, they'll be able to strip out alot of the pork barrel spending, and strip out the funding for implementing Obamacare.

        And Obama will take it – right up the wazzoo –

        • If Obama simply had to compromise, tell me this Eric – what comparable compromise did Bush make after losing both chambers of congress and watching his approval rating slip below 30%?

          • Well, the Dems took over in January of 2007, and President Bush vetoed 11 bills between then and December of 2008.

            He had a backbone – Obama doesn't.

            Watch what John Boehner does to him for the next two years.

            He could get some help from the Senate, but with 1/3 of the Senate running for re-election in 2012, they're still distancing themselves from The Great Leader.

            It's a lose/lose situation for Obama.

            The far-left of the Dems are already calling for his head – the Dem establishment didn't really like him that much to begin with, you know kind of Clintonesque "If he wasn't black he'd be dringing us coffee" – and the Independent voters that gave him 56% of their vote in 2008 abandoned ship on him 7 weeks ago. All he has going for him is the fact that the black voters won't abandon him.

            If he doesn't cooperate with Congress, he looks petulant.

            If he moves to the right (which he will) he will look weak.

            It's a good time to be a conservative.

            • Did Bush have a backbone? Or was he just an obstructionist who paralyzed our country during critical moments? My point is simple – through not being hung up on bloggers' opinions of their spinal fortitude, Obama, Tester, and the rest of the Democrats have managed to end a stupid policy, make headway on relations with Russia, and keep the economy growing (so much so that the last holiday season may have been the best retail season on record). If the economy keeps growing steadily for the next two years, i.e. if the Republicans in the House don't do anything incredibly stupid to jeopardize the recovery, it will remain good to be a liberal come the 2012 elections.

              • You forget Polish Wolf – the GOP doesn't really have to DO anything for politiocal gain – all they need to do is keep the political climate the same.

                It wouldn't be good for America, but it'd set the stage for tossing out The Great Leader and another 1/3 of the Senate –

                I think we'll have plenty to talk about for the next two years –

                HAPPY NEW YEAR !

                • Hmm…I tried to say this several days ago but it didn't post:

                  "It wouldn't be good for America, but it'd set the stage for tossing out The Great Leader and another 1/3 of the Senate – "

                  Now I think we see what party is actually on the side of America, and what party is just in it for political gain. Boehner has already said that getting rid of Obama is more important to him than actually accomplishing anything. Good to see you are on board.

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