Sen. Jim DeMint, speaking today at CPAC, was perhaps on to something big:
"[C]ompromise works well in this world when you have shared goals. We don't have shared goals with the Democrats."
I should hope not. Not only for principled Democrats' sake, but for the nation's.
It may be that DeMintian radicals' most favored metaphor is that of the 1938 Munich Pact, which thereafter enshrined appeasement in the pseudoconservative mind as that most foolhardy of all possible policies. The lesson that contemporary radicals of the DeMintian school took from that ugly slice of history was: always aggress, always advance, never retreat, and never, never appease, which is to say, loosely, compromise.
As a historical lesson this is of course as flawed as a lesson could be. For had England taken the DeMintian school's advice, in 1938, the Nazi war machine would have demolished her almost instantaneously; she would have lost the war before the Americans could have done much to avert her total disaster. Appeasement, at that time, cruel though it was to Czech Sudentenlanders, saved England's ass.
Yet to swing back to present and domestic affairs, I think, as already noted, that DeMint may now be on to something. That is, in keeping with our Munich metaphor, a mere year or two ago the (at least) partial appeasement of the radical right was an inescapable policy, for both President Obama and congressional Democrats. Someone had to give, if this nation was merely to function, let alone progress. But now? Well, it's an election year; no one expects anything to be accomplished anyway, short of the payroll tax-cut extension, which even the right will support, if only to save its own butt. But as for 2013, it is strikingly manifest that the radical right, given the slimmest chance, will shut this nation down in the aftermath of Obama's second inaugural.
By then, Obama & allies, like England by 1939-40, should however be far stronger. Appeasement, or compromise, could well become a policy of choice, not necessity. Thus it is then that the president and congressional Democrats might profitably recall DeMint's words and ballistically hurl them right back in his face. "Sorry, Senator, but we have no shared goals with you. Go have tea with Himmler or some such thing -- you and your godforsaken, uncompromising minority bloc. Oh, and while you're at it, choke on it."