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But we already compromised with ourselves

Sorry, I missed this on Friday when Sen. Majority Leader Amy Koch actually said it in her weekly press conference, but I heard it on the radio this a.m. and have been scratching my head.

Koch, the leader of the Repub majority in the state Senate, is talking about the future of budget negotiations between her caucus and Gov. Dayton:

“The governor likes to say 'well I’m on the 20, you’re on the 20 and let’s come to the 50-yard line.  We heard over and over that people were sort of tired of that same old political game of 'you come in at one end and we come in at the other end and then we kick and scream when we get to the middle.' We came in at the 50-yard line with our budget proposal.”

It’s one thing, and not necessarily a good thing, to say that your first offer is a take-it-or-leave-it-deal. But it’s an odder and perhaps somewhat alarming thing to say that your first offer is not only a take-it-or-leave-it deal but also represents a compromise because… because… because why?

I really have no clue how – or whether -- Gov. Dayton and the Repub majorities in the legislature get to yes.  I’m pretty sure the secret is not to tell the other party that you don’t have to compromise with them because you already compromised with yourself.

But it’s just words and I sympathize with difficulty of serving a public that both wants their representatives to stand up for their principles but also wants them to make reasonable compromises.

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Comments (4)

Well said, Eric.

If liberals and centrists are willing to compromise, and those on the right are not, then every negotiation ends up moving policy to the right. I understand why those on the right would find this not only self-evident, but the natural order of things, but I don’t understand why those on the left and those in the middle are willing to go along with right-wing intransigence, especially when right-wing policy positions are supported by various combinations of mythology, fantasy and outright lies.

Among the many failures on the right – on the left, too, but especially on the right – is an almost complete lack of effort to educate constituents about the costs of goods, services, and the government provision of same. No responsible public official is in favor of waste and fraud, so let’s dispense with the slogans and sign-waving, and with bad football metaphors. If you REALLY want to live in a state where there’s no government interference with whatever you deem to be “freedom,” there are numerous states in West Africa that are dysfunctional enough that you can probably do whatever you want, and without government interference. And it'll be tax-free.

Lacking that, however, the insistence that only spending cuts can be open to discussion, and taxes of any kind are off the table except in the very narrow case of further tax cuts and exemptions for the very wealthy and for big corporations, exemplifies the same sort of mental illness that has someone quitting her job when the bills arrive in the mail. When what’s needed is revenue, decreasing revenue, on purpose, is prima facie evidence of stupidity. Doing so by cutting programs for the less fortunate while further lining the pockets of the wealthy is, quite frankly, both stupid and immoral. That is, those who propose such courses of action are knowingly and purposely choosing to benefit those who don’t need help from the government by depriving those who do need help of whatever assistance might be provided.

No one proposing such a policy combination should be able to claim that they’re Christian with a straight face.

Because why? Because when the truth is not on your side you have to lie.


This is part of a process filled with bluster, indignation & twaddle that is referred to as "negotiation", and I (as a libertarian) will suggest to you, Mr Eric Black, that the Democrats in this state are just as highly accomplished at delivering the bluster, indignation & twaddle as the Republicans.

After looking at the polls showing Democrats and independents wanted compromises by similar majorities while Republicans mostly didn't, and Democrats and independents liked the 2011 budget compromise while Republicans didn't (obviously generalizing the numbers), I'm starting to think the problem isn't just Democratic elected officials. It's the base too. We also often reflexively seek compromise and consensus. That's fine for a neighborhood group or party meeting, but maybe not so much for dealing with Republicans. Maybe we should consider if Democrats who seem to compromise too quickly with Republicans are to a large degree just reflecting the people who voted them in.