THE BLOG
12/16/2014 01:50 pm ET Updated Feb 15, 2015

Capitulation Is Not Compromise

The price for the "cromnibus," this strange hybrid of continuing resolution and omnibus spending bill that will keep government funded in the short term, is entirely too high. By reopening old wounds that would allow financial institutions to engage in the same practices that led to the financial collapse in 2008 and by encouraging even greater opportunities for large donors to corrupt our political system the Obama administration has sold out the progressive agenda. No deal at all would have been a better deal than this one.

Compromise for the sake of compromise is capitulation, and if this is a precursor for the way this administration intends to operate over the remaining two years the Obama legacy will succeed in being viewed as one of sheer ineptitude. From the very beginning the Obama crowd has shown a rather dismal grasp of the art of negotiating. The stimulus was too small, health care reform was marginalized because the White House took the public option off the table, and an all of the above energy policy refuses to acknowledge the tough choices that need to be made in moving from a fossil-fuel economy to a renewable energy future.

While I have been a strong supporter of the president since the earliest primaries in 2008 and have given the lack of anything approaching a viable alternative on the other side of the aisle and have given him and his administration the benefit of the doubt on most issues, his ability to negotiate acceptable compromises in a very difficult political environment has always been suspect. By exposing weakness in this very important area of expertise early on he allowed the opposition to be emboldened and reckless.

There was a glimmer of hope that after the pounding Democrats experienced last month finally the administration would proverbially take off the gloves do the right thing so as to at least maximize the potential for achieving good compromises. But this is a very bad compromise and once again it makes the White House and the president appear to be a patsy for the bare knuckles bargaining that will most assuredly commence when a solidly Republican legislature takes the gavel in January.

Watch out progressives and libertarians alike, the next gambit will be a full-throated and full-throttled strategy to fast track the Trans Pacific Partnership, a monumental giveaway to large multinational corporations who will garner a powerful position from which they can challenge sovereign authority on issues that will directly impact citizens around the world. Issues that are at risk include: environmental and health policies; labor rights; food safety; and access to generic medicines, just to name a few.

This is not the hope and change Americans voted for in two national elections. Mr. President, you have been entrusted with the hopes and dreams of the nation's citizens that their interests, not the interests of well-heeled lobbyists representing the wealthiest and hence the most powerful actors on the political and economic stage. We understand the job is tough, but that is the job you campaigned for, that is the position that you convinced the public you were willing and able to assume, and that is the job you are paid to do.

As a veteran of several presidential administrations and four decades in the public policy, governmental and political arena I truly understand the magnitude of the issues you must deal with on a daily basis. But that does not excuse you from exercising the fortitude and strength to stand on principles that you know in your heart and mind are in the best interests of the populace at large that elected you. By punting on these principles you deepen the polarization that is currently ripping this nation apart. Abdication on what are acknowledged to be core American principles of fairness, justice, and compassion will only serve to tarnish your legacy and harden an already vast cynicism that your opposition thrives upon. As a lifelong liberal Democrat I cannot support the current direction it appears you are headed.