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.
| March 3, 2010; 7:19 AM ET
Categories: Capehart | Tags: Jonathan Capehart
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