What the GOP and the Tea Party don’t understand about ‘compromise’
Unsurprisingly, Tea Party leaders are already speaking out against John Boehner’s decision to allow a vote in the House and end the government shutdown. They say they are tired of compromising, tired of having to sell out their beliefs and allow the Democrats to have their way.
Republican leaders have heavily criticized President Obama and the Democratic Party for not being willing to negotiate and compromise with them on Obamacare. By compromise, of course, they mean get rid of it entirely, even though it is now the law. What they don’t get is–Obamacare, and everything the Democratic Party does, is already a compromise. Even when they had both the House and the Senate, they still didn’t use that to pass anything remotely progressive, for fear of offending the delicate sensibilities of Conservative Republicans.
Compare that to when Bush was in office: Republicans got everything that was on their wish list, plus a war. At that time, disagreeing with him or not supporting every single thing he did was considered abject sedition.
While the Democrats tiptoe around the tulips when it comes to passing anything that might really scare the right, you never see the right being so fearful of what the left might think of their policies. They don’t care. They want what they want when they want it, and it doesn’t matter what people on the other side want, because they’re not “real Americans” anyway. It doesn’t matter that there is a Democrat in office, or that the Democrats control the Senate.
The Democratic party in this country, at this moment in time, compared to other similar countries, is a center-right party. Obama is more conservative than Nixon– who passed the EPA and the Voting Rights Act and advocated a national health care system pretty much exactly like Obamacare. He is the smallest government spender since Eisenhower.
Obama is so far to the right that he would have been too conservative to run on the Republican ticket 30 years ago. Both Nixon and Eisenhower would have been way too far to the left to run on the Democratic party today. Elizabeth Warren aside, they’re not much different from Republicans about 20, 30, 40 years ago. The Democrats have not passed a single piece of legislation that the actual left really wanted in I Don’t Know How Long.
He’s a warhawk, he’s a fiscal conservative, and the very closest he has come to aligning himself with the left has been saying “Hey, maybe gay people aren’t so bad,” long after that stopped being a radical thing to say. Dick Cheney beat him on this front by several years. He has not pursued any gun-control agenda beyond the exact same measures that Ronald Reagan supported.
Obamacare is not just a compromise. It is exactly, nearly word for word, what the Heritage Foundation created as a “free market solution to healthcare.” The Affordable Care Act is not what we wanted, it’s what Nixon wanted, what Bob Dole wanted. Years ago, when Nixon first proposed it, Ted Kennedy fought against it. Why? Because we were fighting for single payer.
As the Democratic Party continues to compromise and compromise, over and over again, the Republican Party moves further to the right and keeps saying “Well, that isn’t good enough. We want more. The positions we had twenty years ago are now so radically left wing that we cannot even possibly consider them!” We are at a point now where they consider settling for anything other than a theocratic anarcho-capitalist society where everything is privatized, children learn about Adam and Eve in Biology class, there is no EPA and everyone agrees that arming everyone with AK-47’s is a great thing, to be an absolute defeat.
While yes, these are things that these people have promised certain constituents, they’re not things that most other people actually want. They may be living up to their campaign promises, but those were promises they did not have the ability to make in the first place. You can stand up for your promises, sure, it doesn’t mean you get to win. That’s what they don’t get here.
This inability to see how far they’ve gone is only going to hurt them in the end. Chris Christie was their only viable Presidential candidate (in the real world, not the world where they all think Ted Cruz has a shot). He has an incredibly right-wing voting record, but a personality that might have been able to fool a few people into thinking he was reasonable. But, he hugged Obama and was pleasant to him when he visited after Sandy instead of gnawing his face off while screaming about socialism as the base would have preferred. They hate his guts now. Even being reasonably cordial and polite is now tantamount to treason.
They’ve dug themselves a hole. They are very likely going to have to run Ted Cruz or someone like him for President, because running anyone that might have some kind of appeal to any human outside of the most rabid factions of the Tea Party will be viewed as sedition. They won’t accept it–they’ve deemed anyone in their party who comes close to seeming like they can think rationally and act appropriately to be a “RINO.” They’re now stuck with this, they’ve hit the wall and they’ve got no place else to go.