Compromise Isn’t a Dirty Word

Back in March, I was in the room as President Obama spoke to a group of young Americans of different political persuasions in Massachusetts.  He spoke candidly and openly about the importance of compromise in our democracy — even from people who care passionately about their position. 

Take a look:

Watch the President's full remarks here.

One quote stuck with me: “the nature of our democracy and the nature of our politics is to marry principle to a political process that means you don't get 100% of what you want.”

This is a President who believes searching for common ground is the right way to approach solving our problems. And in fact, in the divided government our country has chosen, it’s the only way we can.

Unfortunately, that view isn’t shared by everyone in Washington, DC.  And you can see that right now as the President is trying to bring people together to tackle our debt and get our fiscal house in order.

This is a difficult process, and it means Republicans and Democrats need to step outside their political comfort zone and find some common ground — the President is willing to make tough cuts with real impacts, not easy decisions.

But most Congressional Republicans have dug in and demanded that the sacrifice fall only on the middle class, seniors and struggling Americans.

The President tried to make it easy for them by suggesting closing some of the most egregious loopholes for the very wealthiest Americans and special interests — so that hedge fund managers don’t pay lower taxes than firefighters and teachers, corporate jet owners don’t pay lower taxes than commercial airlines, and oil companies don’t get tax cuts at a time they are making record profits.  

Congressional Republicans have not yet given an inch even though the American people, regardless of which political party they belong to, overwhelmingly approve of this common sense, balanced approach.

Our nation is climbing out of the worst recession since the Great Depression, and one of the most important things we can do to help the economy is to get our fiscal house in order and reduce our Nation’s deficit.  We can’t let this moment pass us by.

Compromise isn’t a dirty word — in fact, it’s the only way our democracy can get big things done.

David Plouffe is a Senior Advisor to the President
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