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December 22, 2013

Column: Washington takes a stab at compromise

Washington is trying to rescue itself. The Republican method is too much compromise, although that’s still better than none. President Barack Obama’s strategy is policy sleights of hand and staff shuffles. While no piece of this takes us where we need to go, the GOP at least is stumbling in the right direction.

Let’s visit first with the negative side of what Republicans did. Backing a deal done between the budget chairs of the House and Senate, House Republicans agreed to still more excessive federal spending that is also excessive national jeopardy.

Especially considering that there was no simultaneous agreement on long-term, crucial entitlement reforms to prevent debt catastrophe, this would be highly objectionable if it were not for three matters that good sense forbids ignoring.

One is that the deal cancels some reckless sequestration cuts few had wanted to go into effect in the first place. Two is that the Democrats also did some truly commendable yielding. Three is that the Democrats were highly unlikely to yield more and that the alternative to this shaking of hands and final Senate passage could have been a government shutdown. That would have shut down any GOP chance of obtaining power sufficient to do something more important someday.

Already, with their don’t-fund-Obamacare tactic that culminated in a 16-day shutdown back in October, House Republicans had established themselves with many as hooligans whose legislative muscle should be shrunk in the 2014 mid-term elections. Then came further implementation of Obamacare, upholding their thesis of its abominations. There has also been a growing disenchantment with the president who misled us into this ungodly mess, and the Republicans may now have a second chance if they behave reasonably. That’s huge because Obama’s policies could otherwise prove ruinous.

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