John Aravosis, in responding to Roger Simon’s silly claim that liberals–all three of them–are unwilling to compromise, makes a very good point about the difference between negotiation and being steamrolled:
No one, and I mean no one, is saying that compromise is unnecessary, evil, or unacceptable. What we are saying, what we have been saying all along, is that President Obama has this thing about giving away the shop as his opening move in a negotiation, and then when the Republicans don’t budge, he gives away some more until his proposal is a shell of its former self, then the Republicans all vote against it anyway.
Let me repeat, Mr. Simon. The big issue isn’t compromise. It’s weakness. It’s the notion that appeasement works. The naive idea that when negotiating in politics, the best thing to do, right out the gate, is to cave. It’s not. Sometimes you can fight for things and actually win. And finally, if you find you really can’t win by fighting alone, then you compromise. But you don’t unilaterally disarm and expect the other guy to do the same out of some bizarre sense of genteel reciprocity. That’s what the President does, and that is why so many of us are so annoyed with him.
I would only add that Obama hasn’t only caved to the Republicans, but the conservatives within his own party. At this point, however, it’s unclear if this is a bug or a feature.