New Normal? Low Politics for High Goals

After bitter brews of partisan rancor, Sunday morning talk shows suddenly serve us piquant eggs sunny side up.

Historians and lame-duck officeholders abetted by the cultural currency of a new Lincoln movie fill the tube with talk about the traditional role of (gulp) compromise in American politics.

Ideological purity is pushed offstage in favor of praising negotiation, deal-making, tradeoffs and even bribery to get to a legislative yes.

Steven Spielberg’s film dramatizes a Great Emancipator pursuing lofty goals with low methods, ending slavery by wheeling and dealing—-exemplifying, in David Brooks’ words, that you achieve greatness “only if you are willing to stain your own character in order to serve others–if you are willing to bamboozle, trim, compromise and be slippery and hypocritical.”

Idealism may eventually stage a comeback, once rescued from Tea Party clutches, but the new pundit mood calls for Obama to emulate his predecessors in political back-dooring.

On “Face the Nation” Bob Schieffer elicits from biographers of Lincoln, Jefferson and Eisenhower evidence that they were all “great negotiators” and “great compromisers” in a mode often associated only with LBJ.

MORE.

Eggs graphic via shutterstock.com

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Author: ROBERT STEIN