The Spirit of Compromise: Why Governing Demands It and Campaigning Undermines It

The Spirit of Compromise: Why Governing Demands It and Campaigning Undermines It

4.0 1
by Amy Gutmann
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

ISBN-10: 0691153914

ISBN-13: 9780691153919

Pub. Date: 04/22/2012

Publisher: Princeton University Press

If politics is the art of the possible, then compromise is the artistry of democracy. Unless one partisan ideology holds sway over all branches of government, compromise is necessary to govern for the benefit of all citizens. A rejection of compromise biases politics in favor of the status quo, even when the rejection risks crisis. Why then is compromise so

Overview

If politics is the art of the possible, then compromise is the artistry of democracy. Unless one partisan ideology holds sway over all branches of government, compromise is necessary to govern for the benefit of all citizens. A rejection of compromise biases politics in favor of the status quo, even when the rejection risks crisis. Why then is compromise so difficult in American politics today?

In The Spirit of Compromise, eminent political thinkers Amy Gutmann and Dennis Thompson connect the rejection of compromise to the domination of campaigning over governing--the permanent campaign---in American democracy today. They show that campaigning for political office calls for a mindset that blocks compromise--standing tenaciously on principle to mobilize voters and mistrusting opponents in order to defeat them. Good government calls for an opposite cluster of attitudes and arguments--the compromising mindset--that inclines politicians to adjust their principles and to respect their opponents. It is a mindset that helps politicians appreciate and take advantage of opportunities for desirable compromise.

Gutmann and Thompson explore the dynamics of these mindsets by comparing the historic compromises on tax reform under President Reagan in 1986 and health care reform under President Obama in 2010. Both compromises were difficult to deliver but only tax reform was bipartisan. Drawing lessons from these and other important compromises--and failures to compromise--in American politics, Gutmann and Thompson propose changes in our political institutions, processes, and mindsets that would encourage a better balance between campaigning and governing.

Calling for greater cooperation in contemporary politics, The Spirit of Compromise will interest all who care about whether their government leaders can work together.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691153919
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
04/22/2012
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
1,318,692
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.10(d)

Table of Contents

Preface to the Paperback Edition ix
INTRODUCTION
Two Compromises 5
Characteristics of Compromise 10
Mindsets of Compromise 16
1 VALUING COMPROMISE
Costs of Not Compromising 30
Vulnerabilities of Compromise 35
Limits of Compromise 41
Limits of History 54
2 RESISTING COMPROMISE
The Makeup of Mindsets 64
Principled Tenacity 69
Mutual Mistrust 85
Uncompromising Multiplied 91
3 SEEKING COMPROMISE
Principled Prudence 101
Mutual Respect 109
Economizing on Disagreement 117
A Moment of Compromise 133
Compromising in an Uncompromising Time 140
4 CAMPAIGNING V. GOVERNING
Requisites of Campaigning 146
Two Conceptions of Democracy 152
5 GOVERNING WITH CAMPAIGNING
Space for Governing 168
Term Time 177
Time Is Money 180
Primary Pressures 184
More Participation? 186
Minding the Media 189
Strengthening Civic Education 199
CONCLUSION
The Uses of Mindsets 205
Doubts about Compromise 210
The Dilemma of Reform 214
The Support of Citizens 216
Notes 219
Acknowledgments 255
Index 257

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Spirit of Compromise: Why Governing Demands It and Campaigning Undermines It 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very good book for anyone interested in deliberation in the political environment of today. A good complimentary text to the literature on deliberative democracy. The book covers an important area of the field that hasd been ignored in the past