August 29, 2011
Rauch on the Tea Party of No
I always find Jonathan Rauch an interesting read, and his most recent op-ed is no exception. (Full disclosure: Jonathan's sister is a former boss and current great friend of mine.) In his piece, Grand ol’ Palestinians: No-compromise Republicans taking a page from Mideast politics, he argues:
Republicans are well along toward importing what is arguably the world’s most dysfunctional political model: that of the Palestinians, the gang who can’t say yes.
The Palestinians, it has been said, never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. The GOP is on its way there.
To make his point, he lists his "hallmarks" of "political Palestinianism":
Tenet No. 1: You can never be pure enough.
Tenet No. 2: Compromise is the enemy.
Tenet No. 3: Negotiating and delivering are different things.
Tenet No. 4: Think wishfully.
I'm particularly persuaded that Tenet No. 2 has become too firmly entrenched. Compromise is rarely the enemy, and a pragmatic approach to solving problems can go a long way. In the environmental arena, Professor Joel Mintz has written, "[P]ragmatism has the potential to furnish a durable and useful set of intellectual tools for analyzing knotty environmental policy issues.” This is true for national debt and other financial issues, too. But being pragmatic requires a willingness to prioritize and compromise for the greater good.
I recommend taking a look at Jonathan's article, and I hope some politicans will, too.