Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable – the art of the next best. –Otto von Bismarck
While out knocking doors, I handed an information card to a man and asked him to vote for Chris McDaniel. He politely handed the card back to me, “I can’t vote for that man—he’s too radical.” Being a child of the 80s, I knew that he did not mean McDaniel was “too awesome.” Since the man was 20-years my senior, I wondered if he was wrongfully thinking McDaniel was a leftist. Thankfully he clarified, “McDaniel will not compromise. And politics is about compromise.” My initial response was to acknowledge that he would not be voting for McDaniel for the right reasons.
Never-the-less, in an attempt to engage the voter and discuss issues specifically, I said, “Compromise has gotten us $21 trillion of debt” to which the door was promptly closed ending the other lost art of politics–discussion and debate. McDaniel has repeatedly stated that the time for compromise is over. In this regard, my neighbor is at least partly informed.
The U.S. didn’t reach $21 trillion in debt because Republicans were unwilling to compromise. Nor have we murdered 40+ million babies because of an unwillingness to compromise. Our country doesn’t have an illegal immigrant and border crisis because of a lack of compromise. We have gotten to crisis levels in so many areas of our country because of one-sided compromise; Republicans are the only ones making any concessions in Congress!
McDaniel’s Contract with Mississippi details several policies in which he will not compromise. He will not support any increase to the deficit (with the exception of a Declaration of War from Congress) or attempts to make DACA permanent; he stands for cutting taxes, ending federal funding of abortion, reducing regulatory burden, and judicial reform. The further our nation ventures away from the Constitution and the principles of limited government, the harder it is to find area to compromise without continuing to undermine the principles of limited government and the Constitution. But this does not mean that McDaniel won’t compromise.
While he is against a national education standard and would likely want the Department of Education eliminated, McDaniel may work across the aisle to simply reduce the size of the Department of Education (at least initially). A firm supporter of The Penny Plan to reduce the federal budget by 1% over the next five years to balance the budget, McDaniel might agree to 0.75% or 0.5% reduction per year. An unconditional supporter of our military, he wants to support our military and intelligence communities by funding them at not less than 4% of GDP; but maybe he’d compromise at 3.9%.
The problem isn’t that Chris McDaniel won’t compromise. The problem is that he insists that Democrats offer concessions too and that is apparently foreign to Republicans in Congress. Taking any principled stand shouldn’t send Republicans scurrying away in fear of conflict. And especially with control of the White House and Congress, Republicans need to act with courage to act on the principles not only delineated by Chris McDaniel but codified in the Republican Party platform!
At the August Harrison County Republican Club meeting, Sen. Roger Wicker stated that President Obama wasted a great opportunity under divided government to slow the growth of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Is the opportunity any less with President Trump? Are we not principled enough to proceed with what is right now that we actually have power in Washington? There is no better time to train Democrats to compromise. President Trump likes to make big demands but has shown he is willing to negotiate. He needs fighters like Chris McDaniel who are not afraid to take principled positions that provide room for compromise. If Republicans fail to take a stand while in power (hello, Judge Kavanaugh?), they will find themselves out of power and “the next best” may not be sufficient to save the Republic.
To my neighbor— Chris McDaniel is 1980s “rad.” Don’t buy the establishment’s portrayal of him as a boorish, scorched-earth, barbarian. While his unflinching principles may sound revolutionary, they are merely a return to our founding ideals and principles, hopefully something that is not too radical for the Republican Party. If we move fearlessly with purpose and principle, all parties will be compelled to participate in the practice of compromise without compromising our future.