What is compromise? Getting more of what you want, according to House Republican Policy Committee Chairman Tom Price of Georgia.
Appearing this morning at a policy briefing hosted by National Journal and United Technologies, Price was asked by National Journal's John Aloysius Farrell (a former U.S. News contributing editor) whether a term in office would make the Tea Party freshmen more likely to compromise.
His response was classic: “Compromising is one thing as long as you’re compromising and moving in the direction of your principles. If you’re compromising and moving away from the direction of your principles, I’m not sure it’s a compromise.”
Of course by definition, compromising means, um, compromising your principles. Here in fact is the dictionary definition of the word: “an adjustment of opposing principles … by modifying some aspects of each.”
One of the enduring themes from the Obama-Tea Party years here in Washington has been on compromise—whether and when it’s a good thing and how one defines it. Polls have consistently shown that liberals and independents want compromise, but conservatives prefer their leaders to stick to their guns. Democrats have exploited this public opinion gap by portraying Republicans, accurately in my view, as being a party of hardliners unwilling to make the kind of compromises necessary to solve the nation’s problems, especially in a time of divided government. See, for example, their unwillingness to seriously consider the revenue side of the deficit problem.
But since “compromise” is a concept popular with swing voters, they feel the need to radically redefine it in a way they can embrace. (It’s kind of like their Medicare plans.) [See editorial cartoons about the GOP.]
Coda: California Rep. Xavier Becerra, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus was interviewed at the event after Price and was asked what a bipartisan solution to the deficit problem would look like. Here’s his answer: “Bipartisan means that at the end, everyone will hate it, and people will all complain that it hit them to some degree. No one should be left out, as I said, all hands on deck.”
Kudos to Becerra for supplying a reality-based answer and apparently understanding the oldspeak definition of “compromise."