Monday, October 25, 2010
Their analysis of Obama's relationship (or lack thereof) with the GOP and their thoughts on how the relationship might function post-election totally miss the point that holds true in any type of relationship:
Compromise is a sign of weakness and a means of trying to salvage something of benefit
People with power don't compromise... for the simple reason that they don't have to compromise, they can do what they want and without needing someone else's help.
Only those lacking the ability (or, perhaps, the ruthlessness) to impose their will seek compromise with the other side, a means of getting at least some of what they want.
Obama and the Democrats didn't seek compromise with the Republicans because Obama and the Democrats didn't need GOP help in enacting their agenda. They didn't need GOP votes to pass the stimulus, cap and trade, budget or Obamacare.
And the GOP didn't compromise with Obama for the same reason, but in reverse: the GOP had nothing (except the ability to raise a stink) that Obama wanted... so why would Obama agree to accept less than what he could have gotten without compromise?
Looking forward, if the GOP does gain control of at least one House, then both the GOP and Obama will have to compromise... for the simple reason that nothing can move forward without support from both sides. Obama won't be able to get all of what he wants and neither will the GOP be able to get all of what they want. Both sides will have to accept some of what the other wants in order to get any of what they want.
And that simple calculus, more than any analysis the NYT puts forward, is the key to understanding the relationship between Obama and the GOP.