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Washington Republicans should follow Rudy Giuliani's lead

"It used to be in politics the art of compromise was considered a very honorable thing, a very good thing. You can never get everything that you want, so you try to get as much of it as you can." Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani

In today's hyper-partisan, purer-than-thou politics, compromise is a dirty word. Anyone who attempts to use it is viewed as weak, naive and painfully Utopian. The same can be said for President Obama's attempts at bipartisanship. But as Giuliani told me during an interview for The Post's "On Leadership" video series, compromise and bipartisanship were key to his success in New York City.

"I think it's foolish to make compromise a bad word or to even suggest that people of principle don't compromise," Giuliani said. "You compromise in order to accomplish what you think are the most important things that have to be accomplished." He noted that personal relationships were vitally important. And he talked about his weekly lunches with then-City Council Speaker Peter Vallone (D). No matter how much they fought (and trust me, Giuliani was a brawler), they always kept their lunch date. "We'd remind ourselves that we had a responsibility to run the city," Giuliani said. "And, gosh, I would suggest that process on anybody who has to govern. You've gotta have a personal relationship with the people in the legislature."

Giuliani's counsel on compromise and bipartisanship should be heeded at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. But I would put more pressure on his fellow Republicans on Capitol Hill. Rooting for the president to fail, saying no just to say no, offering alternatives that end discussions rather than begin them is not compromise. It's obstruction. And nothing will change as long as that's tolerated.

By Jonathan Capehart  | March 3, 2010; 7:19 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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And what should Democrats do to fall in line with Republicans? Oh, wait... the Post never addresses it from that angle. Never mind.

Posted by: colonel5 | March 3, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Compromise and bipartisanship were the keys of Giuliani's success in NYC?

Many NYers will tell you that Giuliani behaved like a dictator, and, being extremely vindictive, went out of his way to savage anyone ot anything that stood in his way.

Posted by: Gatsby10 | March 3, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Couldn't agree more with Gatsby10. Apparently Mr. Capehart didn't live in New York while Giuliani was mayor. Compromise was never in this man's vocabulary while he was in office. He was a bully who viciously attacked anyone who dared to disagree with him. Further, a man who went on television and blatantly lied by saying that there was never a terrorist attack when George W. Bush was president is hardly someone to talk about bipartisanship. Where have you been Mr. Capehart, that you don't know what type of person Giuliani really is?

Posted by: jayelle5 | March 3, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Rudy and compromise - huh. Give me a break. You didn't have to live in NY to know that he didn't pratice compromise I don't care if he did keep a lunch date. He was a bully and was hated by all by the end of his term and only became known because of 9/11. I hate it when people try to rewrite history.

Posted by: rlj1 | March 3, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse


You suggest that the Republicans should listen to Rudy's suggestions about compromise.

Jonathan, you sound like a college professor who teaches about principles but has no experience in implementing them. Let me help you here:

The agenda for legislative action is set by the leadership of the Congress and Executive branches. This leadership is all housed in one party currently - Democrat. The leadership sets the tone and the agenda. If compromise is to be more important than currently, it would need to be important to the Dems. They came into office arrogantly feeling they did not need to compromise - rather, cram through their ideas - Tarp, Stimulus, budget and healthcare all reflect this approach.

With Obama as president, we sent a college teacher to be leader - and he does not appreciate the value of compromise since he is "teaching" the country about his wish list and not how to accomplish an agenda based upon bipartisan cooperation. It seems likely now that if he is reelected it will be because this world view prevails and we will see 8 years of leaderless government.

Posted by: andystewart | March 3, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I'm shocked Rudy can even spell the word COMPROMISE, shocked I tell you!!!!!

When he was mayor of NYC, he was known as Little Napoleon. In fact Bloomberg threaten to sue him if he didn't hold elections for the New Mayor.

Maybe you should interview a more creditable source when it comes to compromise.

Posted by: austininc4 | March 3, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Guilini was a hard driving authoritarian my way or the highway leader! Compromise was not in his vocab! It is time for the WaPo to let the ole boys retire--the constant blather and lies from the likes of Hatch, Rudy, Mcconnel, Bonher are more tedious and the reason your readership is tanking.

Not a credible source in the bunch!

Posted by: jetlone | March 3, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Yes we'd all love to see some compromise.

How about the Democrats become just a little bit transparent ? Fewer backroom deals ?

How about the Dems pick up tort reform ? or maybe cross-state insurance ?

How about Dems actually LISTEN to the American people .. some of the time ? forgo rail-roading unpopular healthcare down Americans throats ?

The Dems have actually become the party of NO.. the party of NO compromise.

At the Health Summit, President Obama even acknowledged he had read the Republican plans/proposals of McDonnell, Coburn, Lemar, and the comprehensive CBO-cost-neutral plan put forward by Ryan.

Who knew ?

Posted by: pvilso24 | March 3, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Guilani's assertion that compromise is not a dirty word. I also claim that the congressional republicans have been following the command of their real leader, Rush Limbaugh, that they do their best to destroy his presidency by just saying no to any and everything that he asks to be done. Thats a sad commentery on things and will come back to haunt them sooner or later. Obama has tried to make sure the minority was asked to participate in all discussions. Where have they been, praying at CStreet?

Posted by: tbjenkins | March 3, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Yes. I do agree that the Republicans should follow Guiliani's lead and they should all all be newly elected representatives who are replacing those now in office and should have already retired by now; which is just about all of them in office.

Posted by: joe100821 | March 3, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Can someone please explain uber-hypocrite Giuliani receiving a pass for his repeated shakedown of the NY Yankees for World Series tickets that he solicited, never did intend to or ever pay for and the drubbing that Gov. David Patterson is receiving for this one of his gaffes? To boot, why did Giuliani receive a political pass after obtaining at least 4 World Series rings without proper payment?
While on the subject, Judy Nathan received several years of NYPD provided security details because of her "public service(!) to the prevaricating Rudy- why the "free passes"?

Posted by: eugeniopocho50 | March 3, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

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