December 11th, 2012
11:50 PM ET

Letters to the President #1422: 'Coming to compromise'

Reporter's Note: President Obama and the Republicans continue to spar over a plan to avoid the fiscal cliff. I continue to write a letter every single day to the White House.

Dear Mr. President,

I am pleased to see that you, your fellow Democrats, and the Republicans continue to work your way toward a deal on this whole financial mess we’re in. I won’t believe the cliff is safely past until…well, until it is safely past, of course, but I am feeling guardedly optimistic that you all will come up with some kind of a deal.

To that end, and with no opinion about what sort of deal would be best, I think the most promising sign is that folks on both sides are talking about compromise. Now, I’ll grant you that plenty of people on the left and right hate that word like poison. Compromise. Sounds nice enough, but it certainly sets some folks off.

In some ways, I can’t blame them. Pretty much everyone wants to think his or her opinion is right. That’s why we have opinions, because we think they’re right. Accordingly, about the last thing most of us want to admit is that maybe our opinions need tempering; that maybe, even if we’re generally right, rarely are we absolutely right.

We have to bend. At least a little, and sometimes a lot. That’s how deals are done.

So continued luck as you try to work out this deal; luck not only with the deal itself, but also with getting people on both sides to accept that compromise is not always a capitulation. Sometimes it is the only way to get most of what you want…instead of nothing at all.

Call if you get a moment.


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