Howard County Blog

A Blog on what is going on in Howard County

Thursday, December 21, 2006


I once heard Congressman Elijah Cummings say that the reason why for the last six years we have had the policies we do in this county is because the Republicans start out on the far right in political positions they take and Democrats start out in the center and then to compromise the Democrats move to the right. I think there are lessons to be learned in this. When one side is playing hardball and using all the games and maneuvers to get the best deal for themselves and you aren’t willing to champion what you want they will get more of what they want than you will get of what you want.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny thing is, when I listen to fellow conservatives, they believe Bush and Republicans cave in too much to Democrats and leftists like Ted Kennedy. I guess it depends on what perspective you are coming from.

8:08 AM  
Blogger FreeMarket said...

Cummings’ analysis appears to be very oversimplified. If it were true, it would mean that Democrats are stupid and can’t negotiate for crap. That is not the case. I don’t think either party has much to be proud of in terms of compromise and bipartisanship. Anon makes a good point about perspective.

8:41 AM  
Anonymous David W. Keelan said...

Oversimplified as it may be it is true in most any context.

Any two (or more parties) who WANT to achieve compromise usually meet some where in the middle.

Do the republicans start out on the far right and the democrats start from the middle? That does depend upon "what perspective you are coming from."

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Hayduke said...

This, of course, assumes that both sides are competing against each other for ultimately different ends, which is (unfortunately) true in the hyper-divided world of politics. Not so with most other things.

I am to assume that this is your reply to my comments from yesterday?

10:24 AM  
Blogger B. Santos said...


With all due respect to Congressman Cummings (I am uncertain of the context surrounding your citation), we could natter on for the rest of the year and explore the nuances of negotiation from Sun Tzu to Donald Trump. The key to your citation of the honorable Congressman is that it assumes an adversarial relationship. Now, in politics, this (at times) may be the case.

I believe that a far greater good can be achieved through cooperation rather than negotiation. And let’s be clear about this, I am not talking about abdication or capitulation, but true cooperation. The identification of common goals, people, corporations, and governments working together for a unified cause, drop your shield for a moment and consider the possibility. In my estimation, your “dictate terms” bunker mentality approach can only accomplish a small fraction of good as compared to working in an environment of mutual trust and shared effort. So please Evan, stop marching in front of the Rouse vision. Hoist the vision high and let the light from his vision shine on all people such that the greater good can be achieved.

10:48 AM  
Blogger centomio said...

Remember that Evan was talking about the past 6 years, i.e., Bush and his enablers rather than the more sane parts of his party.

The 21st century Republicans have time and time again sprinted to positions that are outrageously extreme for our country's history and attempted to define them as centrist, such as

1. Torture is OK if you're scared enough.

2. We can give the finger to the entire world on any international issue and never have to negotiate, just because we're America.

3. The president is not at all constrained by any law Congress passes if he doesn't like it (assuming the President is Republican).

And I think freemarket inadvertently hit the nail on the head. In fact, during much of the past 6 years, Democrats could not negotiate for crap, because they were too scared of being labeled as traitors, or cut-and-runners, or whatever sewage the Republican Noise Machine was spewing out to suppress dissent.

That ain't true anymore.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Democrats should be collaborating with all stakeholders for what is best for the community if they really care about the community. Sometimes that means giving up something for something more valuable to those they serve or advocate for.

Coming to the middle first but staying in the middle area is OK. The problem is coming to the middle and THEN beginning the “meet half way” walk or never even considering the middle and staying as far left as possible. Ehrlich, Steele, Bush and most Republicans in moderate or Republican states win as moderates or “compassionate conservatives.” The word to see in that sentence is “win.”

The GOP is famous for focusing on what works. The Dems are famous for focusing on what is right in front of our faces. Why pour all of your resources in a battle to lose the war.

8:46 PM  
Blogger Evan said...

Freemarket, I think at the national level the only way to read the last six years was that the Democrats acted stupidly and could not negotiate worth crap. That and the Democrats approach to how to campaign was completely wrong. If you want a better understanding of the structural/institutional problems in the Democrat's campaign structure I would highly recommend Crashing the Gate by Markos Moulitsas and Jerome Armstrong.

HayDuke, Yes this was prompted by your comment yesterday. What you said needed a front page response to make sure everyone got a point that it seems you and Bill have been having a hard time with. I really wish both of you could have sat through all those focus group meetings with me and seen what really happened. You would have seen my transformation from trust to my recognition that GGP was not acting in good faith and that county officials were not championing their constituents concerns. I really hope this latter will change with the new and much improved crop of electeds.

1:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In general, the Republican and Democratic parties move to the left/right in order to maintain an approximate 50% share of the power in politics. In other words, they move only so far as they have to. The comments of Congressman Cummings disregard the documented evidence that neither the RNC nor the DNC maintain a fundamental ideology, but shift policy in order to maintain influence.

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It’s so funny how we armchair qbs offer such harsh criticism to those who run and win. The Dems have steadily gained more control and prominence over the last 2 years. So they are obviously doing something right. I would contend that they are being more discipline and strategic, whereas, the GOP is just being more arrogant.

They have run every race but focused on specific ones. I think we can learn something from that as a community. We can bring up every issue, but maybe we should start falling on our sword only for the really important ones.

6:07 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

Previous Anon,

I really wish people would use consistent pseudonyms so it is easier to engage in dialog.

Anyway as to what you said, the reason the Dems won this past election is because they broadened the playing field by competing everywhere and not focusing on a couple races and decided to give voters a choice rather than look as close as they could to the the Republicans. Oh and the Republicans self-destructed. I strongly recommend you read the book Crashing the Gate I mention above.

12:19 AM  

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