Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Mt. Rushmore and Compromise

Thanks to the government shut down Mt. Rushmore and other national monuments and parks are now shut down.  Why?  Because the GOP refuse to let Obamacare go.  They refuse to budge on the issue.  They refused to compromise.  The impact: Governor Daugaard is begging the feds to allow him to use state funds and personal to reopen it despite knowing that it won't happen.  The GOP argue "NO COMPROMISE!  NO OBAMACARE!"

I thought that this would be a good opportunity to see what some of the Presidents on that landmark had to say about compromise.

Teddy Roosevelt had some powerful words about the issuse published in 1900
The man who is taken in by, or demands, impossible promises is not much less culpable than the politician who deliberately makes such promises and then breaks faith. Thus when any public man says that he "will never compromise under any conditions," he is certain to receive the applause of a few emotional people who do not think correctly, and the one fact about him that can be instantly asserted as true beyond peradventure is that, if he is a serious personage at all, he is deliberately lying, while it is only less certain that he will be guilty of base and dishonorable compromise when the opportunity arises. "Compromise" is so often used in a bad sense that it is difficult to remember that properly it merely describes the process of reaching an agreement.
Thomas Jefferson is quoted to say
"A government held together by the bands of reason only, requires
much compromise of opinion." --Thomas Jefferson to Edward
Livingston, 1824. 
Abraham Lincoln said
"To state the question more directly, are all the laws, but one, to go unexecuted, and the government itself go to pieces, lest that one be violated? Even in such a case, would not the official oath be broken, if the government should be overthrown, when it was believed that disregarding the single law, would tend to preserve it? But it was not believed that this question was presented. It was not believed that any law was violated. The provision of the Constitution that 'The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, shall not be suspended unless when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it,' is equivalent to a provision---is a provision---that such privilege may be suspended when, in cases of rebellion, or invasion, the public safety does require it. It was decided that we have a case of rebellion, and that the public safety does require the qualified suspension of the privilege of the writ which was authorized to be made." Lincoln's Message to Congress in Special Session, July 4, 186 
George Washington:
The common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. 


  1. The GOP obstructionists are behaving like an arsonist who threatens to burn the family house down if he doesn't get his way immediately

  2. Excellent way to frame the issue, MJL.