The president sincerely believes that the intense polarization of American politics isn't merely a symptom of our problems but a problem in itself – and thus compromise is not just a means to an end but an end in itself, to try to create a safe harbor for people to reach some new common ground. I actually have some sympathy with that point of view. But having now watched two smart Democratic presidents devote themselves to compromise with Republicans, only to be savaged with increasing intensity, I've lost faith that compromise itself holds some healing magic. Maybe it just emboldens bullies.
All of that said, I don't agree with Sen. Bernie Sanders that Obama's compromising with the GOP means he should face a primary challenge. I've said it over and over: The left invests way too much energy and drama in presidential politics. If you want a better Democratic president, elect better Democrats to Congress and state legislatures. A primary next year would be an exercise in self-destruction. But I can say that without wanting to destroy Sanders. I hope Obama's staunchest supporters can do the same. MORE...
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Joan Walsh on compromise, Obama, the debt limit and Bernie Sanders