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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