Glenn Reynolds writes:
With the election over, Republicans are arguing about whether they should address Democrats via compromise, or confrontation. Both have their places, but I have a different suggestion.
With the deficit and the debt ballooning, with the economy remaining in the tank, and with tough choices on the horizon, what Americans need more than anything is clarity about what those choices involve, about who is making them, and about who is avoiding them.
Sometimes clarity will mean confrontation…
…Often when Washington insiders talk “compromise,” they really mean engineering a situation where nobody really has to take a position, or responsibility. In those circumstances, clarity is better served by forcing positions into the open, even if doing so involves confrontation.
Sometimes, of course, compromises can bring clarity — when it’s clear what’s being given up, and what’s gained in exchange. Generally speaking, though, the Washington approach is to pretend that there’s a free lunch, rather than to acknowledge the trade-offs.
This must change. Voters deserve to know the truth, and a compromise that won’t work if voters know the truth isn’t really a compromise at all, but a con.
A move for clarity will meet much resistance…
One way to [ensure transparency and make sure the facts come out] is to stay on message, of course. Another is to follow House Minority Leader (and, soon, Speaker) John Boehner’s advice, and “listen.” During the Obamacare debacle, Democratic representatives and senators ran away from constituent meetings and town halls. The last thing they wanted to do was listen to their constituents.
By way of contrast, Republicans should engage constituents early and often, and — publicly — encourage Democrats to do the same…
By listening to voters at town hall meetings, Republicans can not only show that they care, they can accomplish something else. They can actually learn something.
By not listening to voters, and not being straight with them, Democrats committed political suicide. Republicans should take a lesson, and promote clarity. In these times, voters will reward that.