DeMint at CPAC: Compromise Is the Enemy

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


The first major speaker at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual gathering of right-wing advocates, grassroots activists, and politicians (including 2012 contenders), was Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, who had a fundamental message for the base: compromise sucks.

GOPers on Capitol Hill should not be looking to work with Democrats to develop common solutions to the nation’s woes, he proclaimed. Not at all. Not ever. And DeMint, with an I’m-so-clever smile, offered what he obviously thought was a killer analogy: the Super Bowl.

Referring to last Sunday’s game, he said, “I can guarantee you that coach Tom Coughlin did not tell his Giants to go out on the field and work with those other guys….They weren’t cooperating with Tom Brady.”

DeMint explained that the New York Giants and the New England Patriots had “different goals.” Consequently, compromise would not work. Continuing with this trenchant observation, DeMint noted that “compromise works well in this world when you have shared goals.” You can compromise with a wife or with a business colleague. But not with Democrats: “We don’t have shared goals with the Democrats.”

DeMint, of course, is ignoring the efforts of other conservative Republicans to forge agreements with the other side, most notably the Gang of Six in the Senate. This band of Republican and Democratic senators put together a deficit-reduction framework that drew signs of support from about 40 Democratic and Republican members of the upper chamber last summer. But this compromise failed. Why? Not because Democrats were unwilling to work toward a shared goal with the GOPers. It collapsed because Tea Party-whipped Republicans (such as House Speaker John Boehner) could not accept any increase in tax revenues—and this package included about $1.5 trillion in boosted revenues over ten years.

The problem was not that the shared goal of deficit reduction could not yield a bipartisan compromise. The Gang of Six showed that it could. The issue was that Republican extremists would not accept even an agreement devised by fellow Republicans. They just wouldn’t play ball—and that’s hardly a course of action that Tom Coughlin would advise his players.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate