Monday, August 01, 2011

The Road to Compromise

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News alerts were sent out last night announcing that, "Parties have agreed to a debt ceiling deal pending votes in Congress."

President Obama said it took "far too long" but thanked Congressional leaders for "finding their way toward compromise."

On the road to "compromise" we learned a couple of things like: "Compromise without a solution is a waste of time,"--Senator Marco Rubio, R-Florida.

We also learned that "compromise " is one of the exalted virtues of government and only image and perception are more exalted by this president.

I've noticed two things over the last few days. How the President has twisted the words of Lincoln and the President's continuing search for his identity.

First. Twisting Lincoln.

Just a week ago at the University of Maryland, the President, who has compared himself to Lincoln, FDR and Reagan, among others, cited Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation as an example of the kind of compromise that he has to make on the debt crises.

His words: "The Great Emancipator was making a compromise in the Emancipation Proclamation because he thought it was necessary in terms of advancing the goals of preserving the Union and winning the war."

President Obama continued: "So you know what? If Abraham Lincoln could make some compromise as part of his governance, then surely we can make some compromises when it comes to handling our budget."

Obama has insisted that Lincoln's declaration was a compromise because it didn't address slavery in the border states allied with the North.

But he has it exactly backward. Lincoln wasn't calling for a "House Divided" to compromise and stay together. He was arguing against compromise saying America cannot continue as it is because it will become "all of one thing or all of the other."

It's newsworthy that Congress got together and compromised, but they have found no solutions. Only further delay of the inevitable.

I have not heard President Obama repeat this Lincoln quote: "You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today."

Obama wanted the debt limit to be extended beyond the next election. Boehner and the Republicans have given him that. Why?

Woodrow Wilson knew that leadership was more valuable than compromise. He said, "Leadership does not always wear the harness of compromise."

Another thing we learned on the road to compromise is that the President has an identity crises.

I once met CBS's Bob Schieffer at Channel 6 KOIN TV. I wasn't impressed then, nor am I now. Nor did I agree then or now with most of what he thinks and says. I'm certain he could care less what I think.

However, yesterday on FACE THE NATION, Schieffer gave a commentary on President Obama's difficulties in trying to pitch his image to the public that surprisingly, I must agree with.

Schieffer said, "The newspapers say there is an internal battle among the president's advisers over whether to picture him as a "central player" trying to forge a deal with Congress or a "cool, above the fray observer."

The newspapers Schieffer was referring to was the Washington Post.

"Here's a free tip to the President's aids," Schieffer said, "How people regard the president will depend on how this crises comes out...the best PR can't trump bad policy."

Canonizing "compromise" as the greatest virtue is a cover for lack of leadership, elevating it to the highest virtue is the equivalent of an Illinois Senator voting "present" to avoid taking responsibility.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where stands at times of challenge and controversy."

While that is true, how can we measure a man who is all things and nothing simultaneously? And, unfortunately, how can we measure a Congress that also seems to be all things and nothing simultaneously?

As this "deal" plays out to avoid the August 2 so-called financial meltdown and the "pending votes" are taken, we will likely learn more about the people we have elected to represent us.

Be Discerning. Be Vigilant. Be Prayerful. Be Active. Be Blessed.

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