What we can learn about compromise from Ted Cruz

“Compromise” has turned in to a dirty word for many Republicans. Following the last debt ceiling battle and the resultant negotiations, two distinct factions emerged within the GOP: those whose mantra was “hold the line” and those who took no issue in bargaining with their Democratic counterparts. Those in camp “hold the line” tend to have an unrealistic expectation for what one half of one-third of the legislative branch can accomplish. Conversely, those who accept the negotiating skills that produced the failed Super Committee misunderstand the art of compromise.

In a recent interview Ted Cruz, Texan candidate for U.S. Senate, discussed his views on compromise:

“My view on compromise is the same as Ronald Reagan’s. Reagan used to say, “if they offer you half a loaf, what do you do?” And his answer was, “you take half a loaf and then you come back for more.” I’m interested in moving the cause of liberty forward. So if we are advancing in a positive way, if we are shrinking the size of the federal government, if we are moving towards fundamental tax reforms, simplifying the tax code, moving towards a low uniform rate towards everyone, then I’m willing to compromise and accept less than 100% if we are moving forward. Now I intend to come back and keeping getting it, but I want to affirmatively move the ball forward. The problem is some of the Republicans in Washington compromise, moving backwards.

Let me give you an example, the last fight over the debt ceiling and the next fight that’s coming, I was one of the first proponents in the country to support Cut, Cap and Balance. Now in my view, Cut, Cap and Balance is a compromise. My ideal position is not to raise a penny of the debt limit, period – the end. It is a compromise to say, we can raise it if we make the serious structural changes it will take to fix the problem. Cut the budget, real cut, not phantom cuts that Washington people like. Cap, put in serious enforceable budget cuts, and most importantly, balance. Pass, not introduce, which is the Washington wiggle worm word, but actually pass a strong BBA that requires a balanced budget, requires a super majority to raise taxes and limits federal government spending to a percentage of GDP. That’s an example of a compromise. It is less than what I think the perfect outcome would be, but it is a significant enough move in the direction of liberty that I would be willing to accept that.

Part of the problem is you have so many people in Washington that are not focused on the goal of advancing of liberty that they don’t make any distinction between moving forward and moving backwards. There is no virtue in compromise if you make things worse. An analogy I often use, if you agree that the threat to our nation, to our liberty is dire, the answer is not to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic, the answer is to turn the ship around. So I’m not interested in compromise that doesn’t solve the problem, but I will accept less than 100% of everything I want if we are moving in a strong, positive direction in a way that advances liberty.”



Mr. Cruz’s stance on compromise is precisely the view that the Republican party ought to have. The GOP must continue to fight for the advancement of liberty and freedom and measures that shrink the scope of the federal government yet understand that not every battle can be won in a day.

(h/t The Political Operative)

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50 thoughts on “What we can learn about compromise from Ted Cruz

  1. Now I’m back at the Boogie Southern Compound, I can get back to joining in the comments again.

    Compromise is a funny old concept. Like many political concepts, it is subject to abuse, extreme stretching, and general mayhem. Most adults know what compromising means. It just means you are willing to take what you can out of a situation, knowing ahead of time you aren’t likely to get everything. That’s all there is to it, really.

    Where folks go wrong is in thinking compromise is the same thing as strategy.

    When you understand strategy, you realize the decision to compromise is only made at the critical point where you realize your strategy didn’t achieve all of it’s goals. The belief that we need more compromise is equivalent to the belief that we need fewer goals.

  2. When was the last time you saw any leftist politician, leftist Hollywood anything, leftist union goon or leftist MSM talking head talk about compromising with Republicans……………………………..I’m waiting……………………still waiting.

    Oh! finally an answer. NEVER.

    Mr. Cruz can come back and talk about compromise when anyone of those liberal groups comes forward and says they are willing to compromise in ANY MEANINGFUL WAY on anything. Until then the word compromise is no longer part of my vocabulary nor should it be any part of an elected Republican’s vocabulary.

    There might be a report from my great, great, great, great grandchildren on how liberals finally compromised. Until then no… you know what.

  3. The reason Reagan had to compromise is because he had a Democrat Congress.
    If we don’t want to compromise and want the Democrats to have to do the compromising then we need a majority in the Senate and need to hold on to or increase our numbers in the House. Only with a Republican president bent on cutting government, balancing the budget, reducing the debt and a Republican Congress to back him will we be able to do away with compromise to liberal socialist policies that have ruined our country. We need to make this happen.

  4. As a Tea Partier need I remind Rep. Cruz or conservatives that the class of 2010 was not sent to Washington DC to COMPROMISE. It was sent to DC to reduce the size of our government and its spending.

    Compromising is what got us in this fiscal mess to begin with!

  5. I’ve never been one to appreciate compromise- I’ve seen how that works, and yes, I’ve lost “friends” over my not compromising on my beliefs. I can understand this candidate’s view, especially the last part “So I’m not interested in compromise that doesn’t solve the problem, but I will accept less than 100% of everything I want if we are moving in a strong, positive direction in a way that advances liberty”
    The only thing is, we’ve seen from the left that they can look you in the eye, and lie with a straight face, so even if it seemed like a workable plan, if libs are involved, it most likely would backfire.

  6. One problem.With the Democrats.It’s their way or the answer is no.If the Republicans were to compromise as stated the Democrats push a little further until the compromise is in their favor. This not about compromise.This is about them winning at all cost.

    1. Compromise has a different meaning to the Dems. The dictionary they use defines compromise as capitulation. Will the Reeps ever learn this?

  7. BRILLIANT REASONING by Ted Cruz, who by the way would have been my second choice for VP(quite sad he was born in Canada) on any ticket.

    My dream ticket is Paul Ryan – David Petraeus
    i.e. Paul Ryan:President, David Petraeus:Vice President

    Now that’s an unbeatable ticket, in spite of a billion dollar Obama campaign and media assault on his opponents.

  8. Conservatives are the true Moderates. We determine the debate, and we choose how the compromising should end; with the closet-leftist RINOs.

  9. Sounds good except it’s the Democrats who always fail an agreed compromise by stabbing the GOP in the back at their first opportunity. They did it to Reagan and Bush I on cutting spending and they did it to Bush II when he tried to play nice with them. You can’t bargain in good faith with someone you can’t trust. Never trust a Democrat.

  10. It’s one thing to compromise on a lesser matter but never compromise your principles and this is what the GOP has done for too long. The conservative base is weary of compromise and wants someone who is not willing to compromise our nation’s founding principles. George Washington and the Army he led were not willing to compromise on what they believed in; a nation founded upon Biblical principles with liberty and justice for all. If they were willing to give their lives for us, we should be willing to stand upon the freedom they fought and won for us. No compromise, no way! It must be a conservative WH and Congress now.

  11. Compromise has brought us to where we are now…we need to see some backbone and less compromise to please the hard left.

    1. a half loaf here, a half loaf there and soon it turns into real socialism.
      Sorry Sen. Everette McKinley Dirksen – IL for taking a turn off your famous quote of “a million here and a million there and soon it turns into real money”

  12. Compromise is a good thing. But for some time now what we have been doing is capitulating, not compromising. On a scale of left to right, we all know where the lefties are (waaayyyy over there). Then there are the Dem leaders, who are maybe at the 80% point to the left. Next comes Republican leaders who are maybe 70% to the left. The majority of the American populous is slightly right of center (at the zero point of left-right).

    Herein lies our problem. The reason they try to call us right wing wackos (when all we want is a balanced budget, fiscal responsibility and good moral values) is because it’s such a long trip back to the center.

    That is also why it appears to be very painful to try and restore our good, honest, Christian values, when each and every one of us say that it only seems natural to do so.

    It’s time to stop capitulating. Compromise will come after all things are equal again. When John King said, ‘I understand your point, Newt. Your point is well taken’, Newt said, ‘No you don’t. You don’t get the point at all.’ This is where we need to go on all issues, and then compromise will work after that.

    That’s why South Carolina overwhelmingly voted for Newt and I, for one, stand and applaud all those great Americans. It begins here.

    1. Capitulating – that is a good descriptive word. To capitulate is to accept defeat.

      Compromising is neutral. It can be done under a position of strength, which is something RINOs have no concept of.

    2. Nuke, I didn’t see your post before I offered up the Dem’s definition of compromise. We think alike 🙂

  13. “So-called moderate politicians who compromise and seek bipartisanship are the most dangerous among the entire crew in Washington. Compromise is too often synonymous with “selling out,” but it sounds a lot better. Honest politicians who state that their goal is total socialized medicine (or education, etc.) are met with a greater resistance; while people who favor the same thing but sell it as moderate bipartisanism slip by unnoticed. They are the ones who destroy our liberties incrementally, in the name of compromise and civility.”

    –Ron Paul, “Liberty Defined”

    1. Ron’s problem is he forgets that the feds primary duty is to secure the common defense of our country. That doesn’t mean to crawl in your own hole and pull it in behind you.

      1. Let’s say Congress declares war on another nation, and President Paul commits the full power of the Armed Forces to execute and end that war as quickly as possible. Do you have a problem with that scenario?

        1. The problem with that scenario is that he declares that war because we will be fighting that war in Charleston, SC. or Modesto, Cal.

          1. Not so. If the people speak, through their elected representation in Congress, there would be no reservation.

            1. My point was, if we bury our heads in the sand, the war is brought to our shores, rather than fighting overseas.

            2. There is a reason that the President has a right to engage troops for a couple months without congress’ approval. It’s the president who has first hand conversations with the leaders of these rogue nations. I fear exactly what you suggest. Ron Paul ignores the writing on the wall to the detriment of innocent American Citizens, then he blames it on congress rather than recognizing his duty as President.

              He will never win this nomination. Just a pipe dream.

        2. Depends on what the trigger is that he finally recognizes. I fear he will ignore all warnings until a US city is destroyed under a mushroom cloud.

  14. I would like to take this argument and address, not specific issues, but the upcoming election. Whoever is the GOP nominee, we should vote for him. The idea is to remove the cancer that is currently occupying our White House. No nominee is 100% so we should compromise on our “idea of ideal” and pursue the main goal, turning this ship around and away from the rocks of socialism.

  15. I like Cruz…the alternative in Texas is Dewhurst and many here don’t realize he’s for a State Income Tax…No, No, No…

  16. I’m in TX and I regret to say I have never voted, or cared about politics until very recently. But I’m excited to vote for Mr Cruz, the real conservative!!! I’ve heard him on Mark Levin’s show, an he’s damn good. Let us not forget with allof this Presidential politics going on that we have to send not just whatever Republican is running, but CONSERVATIVES WITH BALLS!!!!! People who can look the establishment and the media and not flinch, and then crisply articulate a common sense conservative opinion.
    BTW for all the Mitt supporters, and the turncoat Coulter, who seem to think that Newt can’t win “Independents” let me just say this. My wife voted for Obama, and is a socially liberal person. However, when I pose Newt’s ideas to her, without telling her who they come from, she has no argument with any of them, and says quite plainly that they are common sense solutions. We have the right message. Unfortunately we let the wrong people communicate it most of the time.
    Stand firm.

  17. This man is great for the conservative movement . I have been asking all who can for months now, PLEASE support him in any way you can .
    He’s doing well and we need to ensure his win.
    If you listen to him for even a moment , you know this guy has what it takes to get this country back on track . Youtube some of his interviews or speeches he’s SPOT ON.

    Please support Ted Cruz for 2012 Senate.

  18. I would love to live in an ideal world where ‘compromise’ meant something good.

    But, honestly, what is there left that you are willing to give up, in order to get that ‘half a loaf’? Seriously, what is left? Nothing comes free, and simply stating that you want to get half that loaf doesn’t mean that you don’t pay for it.

    So, here is my question: What that the Left wants are you willing to give up to get your ‘half a loaf’?

    Gay marriage?
    Internet censorship and regulation?
    full single-payer healthcare?
    government funded abortion?
    Government mandated diets?
    complete government gun control?
    Banishing God? The “Freedom From Religion Foundation” goal?

    what remains that the Left wants, that you are willing to give up?

    There comes a point when you stop begging for half a loaf, you stop giving up mountains for mole hills, and you stand on your values.

    1. I seem to remember Nazi Piglosi and Dementia Reid locking the doors during the stimulus talks AND the Maobamacare talks. Didn’t the democrats say they didn’t need to hear what conservatives thought? That is what I’m looking for. Rather than compromise, I believe in reciprocity.

      1. I see your point, and I understand. I am not for revenge or reciprocity so much as I am for understanding of our situation. You are totally right that they are not going to compromise at all. It still makes me shake my head when I remember Obammy’s SOTU speech after the 2010 election, where he told the republicans that they were once again responsible for government, a public acknowledgement that from 2008 on, the republicans were not considered for anything in government and were allowed NO power at all…

        The fact remains that Pelosi, Harry, and crew will not compromise what they want in any regard. So, first, HOW do you compromise with someone who is not willing to compromise? Second, they went and passed everything they really wanted between 2008 and 2010, as there was nothing, nothing, to stop them as they proved.

        What is left? I’m not willing to give up any of this stuff. None of it. And the Democrats are not willing to give up any of the stuff that WE want:
        Balanced budget.
        Fair taxation
        Business regulation
        ObamaCare
        Finacial reform
        Abortion
        Gay Marriage
        Cut Government Programs / entitlements
        TSA

        What are they willing to ‘compromise’ on?

        This is one of my biggest problems with Newt: He has stated that his leadership style is to ‘get things done’, and to do so, he compromises.

        I’m not willing to compromise anything left, and I don’t think the Left is either.

        1. Fortunately, Reid and Pelosi are not long for this world. They will be retired just like Kennedy and Murtha, who is the one and only EX-Marine on the planet. I can’t believe they are naming a ship after that @sshat.

        2. I think the answer that we are all looking for here is not “compromise” but Victory. It is an all-out, all-hands-on-deck effort to elect more conservatives every election cycle to Congress so there is a clear majority in the House and 60+ in the Senate. Getting a conservative in the White House, too, eventually. At that point, the word “compromise” is moot. Democrats are welcome to join in the agenda and will not be locked out like the Dems did in 2009 and 2010, but they will not be catered to or begged for cooperation. The country has spoken. The majority does not want socialism, Big Government, Big Regulations, Big Spending or Crony Capitalism. As bbitter says, there is no compromising on these things. Holding up Ronald Reagan to prove a point is not cutting it. It’s like plucking a bible verse out of context to justify what you want to do. In 2012, we want clear majorities and we want bold action to cut government down to its Constitutional size and no more compromise.

          Until we get those majorities, we want obstruction, stalling, withholding funding, filibustering… anything and everything it takes to stop Obama and the Left from implementing a single item of their destructive agenda.

          Unfortunately, we still have too many Pubs in Congress who care about what the Leftist Media thinks about them and care too much about collegiality and the voices of fear that say they cannot be re-elected if they stand their ground. Conservatives in 2010 finally got the message across to these people that if you *don’t* stand your ground, we are going to primary your sorry self and find someone who will. No more squishy candidates. Dem or Pub. It is no longer good enough to have an “R” next to your name on the ballot. We want conservatives like Rubio and Allen West.

  19. Great post, RS.

    Compromise to the left means the GOP should step aside and allow the Dems aka left to install legislation in violation of G-d and Constitution.

    1. Right on. I don’t want any more compromise than the dems offered over the last 3.5 years.

      Reciprocity, we don’t need no stinkin’ marxist opinions about what to do with OUR money.

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