Principles and Compromise

11 Dec

Just a short note/thought on Principles and Compromise.

When we send legislators to Washington, DC, the State Legislature, or even local school boards, citizens voted for them based on their principles.

Upon arrival, the job is the expectation for them to get things done.  Pass legislation or rules for this that and the other.  The voter expects the representative to do so in keeping with the principles for which they voted.

Then comes the dirty word ‘compromise’ (or bipartisanship).

With the emphasis on ‘getting things done’ and advancing the legislators principles, the legislators agree to vote for a bill or regulation even though the wording contains items that are firmly against their principles.

For example, the voters elected 60 new Republicans to the House based on the principle that they would keep tax rates at their current rate (or lower), reduce Federal Government spending, and stop Earmarks.  However, in an effort to get certain tax rates held the same, they are compromising to allow the return of the Death Tax and an $105,000,000,000 ‘Earmark’ to extend the Unemployment Payments using deficit spending.

So, they are forced to vote for 2 things against their principles if they want to get 3 things that are covered under their principles.

But, if you vote for a bill that contains 2 things that are against your principles, do you even have principles?  You are, in effect, voting for something against your principles!

A quick definition of ‘principle’

  • A fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.
  • A rule or belief governing one’s personal behavior.

A quick definition of ‘compromise’

  • A settlement of differences by arbitration or by consent reached by mutual concessions

Logic would hold that if you ‘concede’ to forgo one of your ‘fundamental rules’, you have let go of that principle.  If you have voted ‘for’ that which you are principled ‘against’, you cannot consider it to be one of the ‘fundamental rules’ that guide your behavior.

If you have a ‘fundamental rule’ that you do not kill people, but on Thursday you go out and shoot someone, you don’t have a principle.

You tell me, does anyone think Ben Nelson has principles?  After making a firm pro-life stand against the Healthcare Takeover in 2010, he voted for the bill after money was promised to his state (Cornhusker Kickback).

You tell me, does anyone think a  Republican, in the face of the 2009 / 2010 Tea Party, that ran and won on the principles of lower taxes and massive spending cuts and then voted for the return of the Death Tax and more deficit spending has principles?

I think not.

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Posted by on December 11, 2010 in Election


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