Scott Tibbs

Good compromise and bad compromise

By Scott Tibbs, January 19, 2023

We often hear "compromise" as a dirty word in politics. Many times, that is absolutely correct. But is it always bad? No. There is good compromise and there is bad compromise. Good compromise is agreeing to take part of what you want, rather than all of it, to improve the situation. Bad compromise is giving your opponents part of what they want instead of all of it. Too many Republicans think the second kind of compromise is some sort of political victory. No, that would be a defeat, and that is what Republicans like Rick Santorum have been railing about for years.

Let's use spending as an example. Side A wants to increase spending on Item X by one hundred billion dollars. Side B wants to cut spending on Item X by one hundred billion dollars. Good compromise for Side B is a cut of fifty billion dollars. Bad compromise for Side B is accepting an increase of fifty billion dollars.

Way back in 2012, the host of "Meet The Press" thought he had embarrassed Rick Santorum and exposed his "hypocrisy," when all David Gregory managed to do was demonstrate he was advancing a very simplistic and hyper-partisan view of forming policy. Gregory was not interested in actually exploring policy or asking a legitimate question. He only wanted to score a "hit" on Santorum. But Santorum's compromise was a good compromise: Taking what he could get instead of demanding everything and getting nothing. Gregory is far too smart not to know this, so he was being dishonest.

What we need to do is be discerning when we hear the word "compromise," especially in a primary election. We need to ask what was traded, what was gained, and what was lost. Is the candidate who "reaches across the aisle" actually getting conservative policy passed, or is he trying to appear magnanimous by giving the other side what they want? Is the candidate who refuses to compromise allowing potential policy wins to slip away in pursuit of "purity," or is he preventing bad policy from passing and harming his constituents? Do not allow bumper sticker slogans to determine how you vote.

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