Common Ground Is Not The Same As Compromise

Common Ground Is Not The
Same As Compromise

By

Leonard Zwelling

         For a guy who likes to talk, the current President of the
United States often has very little to say.

         When I was on Capitol Hill, I worked for a man, Senator
Michael B. Enzi (R-WY), who was re-elected Tuesday and who did not like to talk
much at all. He was almost never on TV and he wanted it that way. People in
Wyoming don’t want their senator on TV. They want him working for them and
Senator Enzi does just that. Thankfully, he will continue to do so for 6 more
years.

When
Mr. Obama talks, he often sounds good, but when he’s done, you have no idea
what he has said.

When
Senator Enzi talked, we all knew exactly what he meant.

In
my soon-to-be released book, Red Kool-Aid, Blue Kool-Aid: How Partisan Politics and Greed
Undermined the Value of ObamaCare
(hopefully available by Christmas), I
talk a lot about Senator Enzi’s adage of legislating on the 80% of things we
agree on and not the 20% we don’t. I dare say, Senator Enzi and President Obama
probably have to flip that ratio as I doubt my ex-boss agrees with the
President on 80% of anything. Thus, it is very critical to understand the
difference between common ground (Senator Enzi’s 80%) and compromise (horse
trading in the 20%).

Mr.
Obama is delusional in thinking that he has a fair degree of common ground with
the Republicans in the House, those now running the Senate or all the people of
the country who voted those guys and gals into office. He does not. He wants to
find a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Most Americans want the
illegal immigration to stop first. The President can’t really make up his mind
about foreign affairs and surely has no cohesive policy to deal with the many
problems in the Middle East or in the land that used to comprise the Soviet
Union which Mr. Putin has his eyes on. Americans want him to decide and explain
to them how he will keep them safe and, if we have to go to war again, why and
what’s the exit strategy even if we blow ISIS to smithereens. Mr. Obama considers
equality a description of an outcome. Most Americans consider equality a
description of opportunity.

In
so many areas, what the President interprets as common ground, most Americans
see as requiring compromise. You give something and I give something. A path to
citizenship must be accompanied by greater border security. You want to bomb
ISIS—then what? You want to back the Ukraine, what happens if Mr. Putin shoots
down another airliner? You say the Ebola workers in Africa are heroes, but that
doesn’t make us feel any safer when they return and go bowling.

The
messages of the election of November 4, 2014 are:

1. We don’t like you Mr. President.

2. We aren’t crazy about the Republicans either but at
least they aren’t you so we will give them a chance because you made a mess of
things.

3. We are watching all of you and we want some COMPROMISE
not more rhetoric about common ground which does not really exist. Democrats
and Republicans are divided as never before. 
There’s a reason there’s no Purple Kool-Aid! No takers!

4. If you think any of you guys or gals have a free ride
into the nomination for President or the White House, think again. And that
includes you Hillary. You are going to have to earn your way into the White
House with a plan that identifies the little common ground left and includes a
blueprint for compromise that will move the country forward. Hope and Change
didn’t work.

So
with that in mind, Mr. Obama, stop talking about the common ground because
there isn’t all that much of it and start cutting deals to get the country
moving.

And
oh yes, one more thing that Senator Enzi taught me. Please use the
constitutional process to pass legislation and not the chicanery used to pass
the stimulus package and the ACA. Regular order please. Compromise please.
These will get you on common ground with the American people who voted Tuesday.

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