September 27, 2013
Ethan Kasnett, an 8th grade student at the Lab School in Washington, DC, views the original constitution after a ceremony unveiling the people's choice of the top ten most influential documents that shaped the UnitedStates of America at the National Archives December 15, 2003 in Washington, DC. The event and vote were co-sponsored by The People's Vote, the National Archives and Records Administration, National History Day, and U.S. News & World Report. Among the records chosen were the Declaration of Independence at number one and the Constitution at number two. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)
A close read, Gerson argues, finds compromise in the U.S. Constitution. (Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Well, it’s Friday of What’s-up-with-the-Tea-Party Week, and The Post’s conservative columnists, as well as the liberal ones, have been pushing Sen. Ted Cruz, et al,, to just fund the government already and stop with the … whatever the current defund-Obamacare plan is. Michael Gerson weighs in with a point bigger than the current kerfuffle. Refusing to compromise is itself anti-constitutional, he writes. The whole system depends on half measures and persuasion and being 80 percent friends with people rather than 20 percent enemies.

So! On advice of Post columnist and President George W. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, Sen. Cruz, compromise, please. Also, the bicameral legislature design that lets Cruz & Co engage in this debt ceiling/government shutdown rigamarole without a majority of Americans on their side? Yeah, that was called the Great Compromise of 1787.

SeaTigr suggests we start by updating that compromise, Great as it was:

Average number of Americans per congressional district in 1790: 33,000
Average number of Americans per congressional district in 2010: 710,000

We should increase the number of Congressional districts and require every state to appoint a non-partisan independent commission – whose members are appointed by the state supreme court and must comprise equal thirds Democrats, Republicans, and Others (Independents, Libertarians, etc.) – who redraws the districts based on the shortest split line algorithm.

mshaw1 says bypass the voters and follow the money:

There is only one way to fix this. The business community helped install these idiots. The business community needs to tell the Republican Party that it will not contribute one more dime to Republicans until they quit messing with the full faith and credit of the United States.

dsspa says inability to compromise is an old-school Greek Tragedy tragic flaw, and so the solution probably involves gods chaining people to rocks and having their livers pecked out by eagles. No, that part was PostScript:

There is an additional powerful argument in favor of compromise: hubris. One of the reasons that legislation should be the result of give-and-take, back-and-forth between different perspectives is that nobody gets it right all the time.
The Cruz-Lee-Tea Party group are not at all conservatives: they seek to conserve nothing. They are nihilists. They only seek to destroy.

rebjava is not convinced compromise is the way to go. It’s kinda girly:

Look at all the children of the common core of communists. Pathetic. You’re men who lack testosterone and are absolutely petrified by freedom. Go back to your gender studies. You need guidance.

ringeroff, too, is sticking to the anti-compromise position:

Stubborn is good. Stubborn wins.

jbtaylor77 flips the script, asking for more compromise from the non-Cruz faction:

Would Democrats compromise by repealing 80% of the ACA instead of the whole thing?

Vinny Lumps notices that Gerson wrote that Cruz’s shenanigans were starting to reflect poorly on the ability of Republicans to govern, and suggests that might be the point! Be unleadable, to tear down the leadership!

I can agree in principle with everything Gerson says here, but I think he underrates a few elements of the politics of it. This whole Ted Cruz and his Cruzies business is primarily an intraparty struggle to discredit the leadership. Obamacare here is a pretext and an opportunity.

So, commentwide compromise is, uh, still being worked on. But PostScript is delighted to be called a man who lacks testosterone, and is already ordering it put on her headstone.