As the 112th U.S. Congress convenes on Jan. 5, Penn President Amy Gutmann and co-author Dennis Thompson of Harvard comment on the important art of compromise in an op-ed column for The Christian Science Monitor.
The article, titled “Is There Room for Political Compromise in an Era of Permanent Campaigning?” comments on President Barack Obama’s recent tax cut compromise, noting the difference between the mindset required to govern effectively, and the mindset employed in campaigning. The article notes that the uncompromising, or political, mindset is becoming more and more common inside the Beltway.
“To govern,” Gutmann and Thompson write, “politicians need to look beyond how a particular compromise matches their campaign principles or how it affects their opponents’ fortunes. While the compromising mindset attends to political realities, it also focuses on the most critical question for governing: Compared to the realistic alternatives, does this compromise promote the principles of both sides better than the status quo?”
Gutmann and Thompson, co-authors of the books"Democracy and Disagreement" and "Why Deliberative Democracy?" also published an article on the topic in the December 2010 issue of the journal Perspectives on Politics. Read the entire Christian Science Monitor article here.
Originally published on January 4, 2011