President Obama, in the aftermath of his reelection, says he wants bipartisanship and compromise in finding solutions to the nearby fiscal cliff and to the longer term problems of his deficits and his national debt. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D, NV) says the same.
But bipartisanship, the last several times around, has meant “be reasonable, do it our way.”
After all, it was Obama who said to the House (then-)Minority Leader Eric Cantor (R, VA), “Eric, I won” and to Senator John McCain (R, AZ), “John, the election’s over,” and generally, “Elections have consequences.”
It is Obama, too, who has announced that he’ll veto any cliff solution that doesn’t contain tax rate increases on that group of Americans whom he despises.
It was Reid who, last Congressional session (of which there remain a rump term lasting until the New Year), blocked nearly 40 jobs-related bills and two national budgets passed by the House and refused even to allow them to be debated, much less come to a vote in the Democrat-dominated Senate.
It was Reid, too, who said on the eve of the election that he’d never work with the Republicans if Romney won.
And it was Senator Patty Murray (D, WA), in a Fox News “Special Report with Bret Baier” interview Wednesday, who had this exchange with Baier:
Baier: So when you hear that [Speaker John Boehner (R, OH) saying that revenues could be increased through tax reform and closing loopholes], what do you hear?
Murray: First of all, I really appreciate the Speaker say that he understands that revenue needs to be on the table.
Baier: When you say “revenue,” you mean taxes, tax increases.
Murray: That’s correct.
She also said in that interview,
The President ran on making sure that the wealthiest Americans participate in solving this problem. He won. A number of our Senate candidates, in fact all of them, ran on the same thing; they won. I think that puts us in a place where we can really move forward.
There’s that Democrat concept of “bipartisanship” and “compromise.”
On the other side, Majority Leader Cantor said in a letter to House Republicans on Wednesday (the letter can be found here)
This election was filled with good news, and bad news. The good news is that the American people responded to two years of House Republican leadership by sending us back with a strong majority. It is clear that our efforts to improve the economy and create the conditions for job growth were well-received….
Our task is to legislate based on our principles and forge the compromise that will be necessary to get our nation back on track.
This is entirely correct. A man who would compromise his principles is a man who has no principles and so is a man who cannot be trusted. While it’s true that a clash of principles can lead to an inability to compromise, at least one side of this debate is operating from principle. For the other side, it’s only about power and ego, just as it has been these past four years.