Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Politics of Compromise

While searching for something else, I stumbled across this recent analysis of how traditionally liberal lobbyists for abortion, gay rights, and gun control plan to deal with the new Democratic Congress. The analysis suggests that these liberal campaigners are inclined to stick to the middle ground and seek policies that are less likely to incite social conservatives.
Republican control of the Capitol may have forced abortion-rights and civil-liberties advocates to play perpetual defense, but those wilderness years also gave the groups valuable practice at building coalitions across the aisle and branding themselves as more mainstream than their conservative counterparts.

Now, as Democrats prepare to assume the majority, these veterans of the culture wars are seeking to shape the agenda of the new leadership....

NARAL has aimed its recent efforts less at preserving women’s right to an abortion than at making the procedure, as former President Clinton first put it, “safe, legal and rare.”....

Though the gay community might see its issues move lower on the priority list, Solmonese said, such pragmatism is a small price to pay to end the Republicans’ prolonged attacks on gay marriage. The page he plans to borrow from conservative groups’ playbook: “Be really smart and be really strategic.”

Like abortion-rights groups, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has used the Republican majority to develop a political strategy with bipartisan appeal that it will continue to pursue. Reinstating the lapsed assault weapons ban, a high priority for many urban Democrats, is outranked on the Brady Campaign agenda by boosting law enforcement funding and strengthening background checks.

“My goal is to get us to a position where both Republicans and Democrats are coming to us and asking for our endorsement,” Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke said. “That hasn’t really been the case.” |The Hill|

I don't know whether to think this heralds a new era in American politics where we look at compromise and the common good...or whether it just means that the Democrats are wimps.

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