Compromise Versus Appeasement: What Roger Simon and Many Other Very Serious People Fail to Understand About Democratic Discontent

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.

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7 Responses to Compromise Versus Appeasement: What Roger Simon and Many Other Very Serious People Fail to Understand About Democratic Discontent

  1. Miles McCullough says:

    It’s a feature.

  2. Gingerbaker says:

    Compromise, on certain issues and at this point, is and should be unacceptable. If compromise is not always unacceptable, then principal means nothing.

  3. JThompson says:

    My money is on “feature” too. During the health care fiasco he gave holy Joe his full support while screaming at the progressives because they wanted a bill that actually had a chance of helping someone.

  4. tmaxPA says:

    Governing is compromise. As much as I am forced to agree with Mr. Aravosis’ characterization of the President’s apparent behavior, I still disagree with his conclusions, and apparently yours.
    Admitting that we weren’t going to institute government-run health care (“the public option” as stealth “single payer”) at the beginning of the debate wasn’t a concession, it was an admission. It was the reason why we had a health care debate to begin with, and why now we enjoy the luxury of not having the insurance companies screw us (quite as easily, at least) when we get sick.
    So I guess I’m repeating my constant admonishment to Democrats who aren’t fans of the President: you’re just buying into the media’s framing and presentation. If they report every event using the same narrative, you presume that means it is the President, rather than the media, repeating some particular behavior.
    See, the big issue isn’t strength, it’s power. President Obama (and Reid and Pelosi) have it, know how to use it, and know how to not lose it. Anything you suggest that would have, in your mind, shown “fight”, would actually have simply cost power without any benefit whatsoever. For one thing, you have the luxury of imagining that liberals would have rallied around them if they had acted differently, based only on the fact that liberals didn’t rally around them and your supposition that it is because of the way they acted.

  5. Chromosome.crawl says:

    @ tmaxPA:
    The Healthcare / Single Payer issue is just the first thing. Add to that issues like Obama’s “fierce advocacy” of Gay rights, his selling out of women’s reproductive health privacy rights to Blue Dogs, his refusal to prosecute war criminals that reside within our borders, his continuance of way too many of the Bush era surveillance policies……..and polish that off with a nice dollop of hippie punching, and one might begin to see why the shine is wearing off of the penny.

  6. Demarcus says:

    You know what You guys should stop complaining because, one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed so give it some time. so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. If you do not have insurance and need one You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price check .If you have health insurance and do not care about cost just be happy it and trust me you are not going to loose anything!

  7. tmaxPA says:

    CC: What can I say? Governing a moderate nation isn’t as easy as electing a moderate President. Anyone who didn’t know that Obama was a moderate, even on things like gay rights, national defense, even abortion, simply wasn’t paying attention to what the guy said before they voted for him. Way way too many assumptions are made, maybe because he’s a Democrat, maybe because he’s black, maybe just because he has a ‘progressive’ way of making speeches. Maybe because he just looked super-liberal compared to Bush and McCain. Maybe because that was all wishful thinking; Barack Obama is way too competent a leader to ever be anything but a moderate. Luckily, he doesn’t seem to be quite as mainstream a moderate as Clinton was, so I think we’re making headway…

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