The Ryan-Murray negotiation between the Democratic
majority U.S. senate representative and the Republican
majority U.S. house representative has produced a “deal”
that would end until 2015 the chronic and bitter
confrontations between the two major parties in
Congress over the U.S. budget.
Its details, clearly a compromise between the contrasting
goals and ideologies of the two major political parties
has been immediately greeted with denouncement and
scorn by various groups and individuals on both the
left and the right as a betrayal of principles.
There was even some question whether the opponents to
the “deal” would prevail in preventing its passage, so
loud and cantankerous were the criticisms of it.
But the U.S. house, with the outspoken support of
Republican Speaker John Boehner, has overwhelmingly
passed the “deal” and sent it on to the U.S. senate.
If it passes in that body, President Obama has said he
will sign it.
Everyone, including its designers, concedes that the “deal”
is not what they fully want. That should tell us that
probably the agreement is truly a genuine compromise,
something incidentally that the national Capitol and the
nation have not seen in the budget process for a very long
Of course the “deal” won’t be satisfactory to ideological
advocates and partisans of their political party’s stated
platform and legislative policies. Ideologies and party
platforms are abstractions. They are “pure” in their
verbal forms and “ideal” in their goals. Over time, it is
true, good ideas and policies often do become laws, but even
then they are constructed from compromises and “deals.”
A recent exception to this fact of political life was the
passage of the “Affordable Care Act” (also known as
Obamacare) which saw no true competitive hearings in
the Congress, and which took 2500 pages to be written,
most of which which were not even read or "proofed"
by the members of Congress who voted for it. Not even
one Republican in either the house or senate voted for it.
This legislation, now being implemented, has so far been
the most disastrous and ludicrous congressional action
in recent national history, is immensely unpopular among
voters, and could be on track to being repealed.
It has been a model for how NOT to conduct the legislative
For some time, there has been a lament, at an increasing
vocal pitch, that the laws and processes of the national
government are being advanced without genuine
discussion and compromise. This lament began with
Democrats complaining during the administration of
President George W. Bush, and then continued even more
loudly by Republicans during the present administration of
President Barack H. Obama.
The national economy, reeling from years of high
unemployment, deficit federal spending, higher taxes and
more federal regulations, has observed the Congress to
seem to be unable to take actions to relieve the nation's
problems and restore the economy.
As the national midterm elections approach in 2014,
leaders of both parties know that voters are quickly
running out of patience with congressional stalemate and
inaction. As 2006 and 2010 demonstrated, voters will
abruptly turn out of power majority parties who do not
and cannot produce good results.
In spite of the ludicrous bluster of Nancy Pelosi and
Harry Reid, Democrats knew that further insistence on
their radical policies, with a conservative U.S. house
unwilling to go along, was self-defeating. In spite of the
"selfie" antics of Ted Cruz and his cohorts, Republicans
knew that further insistence on “pure” conservative policies,
with a liberal U.S. senate unwilling to allow it, was likewise
Thus we had a “deal.” Its details reveal concessions on
both sides. No new taxes, the end of overextending
unemployment benefits, restoration of much necessary
defense spending will please most conservatives. A higher
deficit from more immediate federal spending, ending
some sequester cuts, and no cuts in entitlements will
please most liberals. Each side will not be pleased by
what pleases the other side.
Each party and its candidates will now go to the country
and try to win a majority in each body of Congress.
No one is saying it’s a good “deal.” But I am saying that
a “real deal” is a good thing.
For the time being.
Let the voters now decide whether they want to go
more to what the conservatives want or more to what
the liberals want.
Let the complainers go on complaining. It’s still a free
country. Let the challengers go on challenging, not only
those in the other party, but even in their own party if
they wish. The voters will sort it out.
I’m betting that the voters will go with the grown-ups
Copyright (c) 2013 by Barry Casselman. All rights reserved.