Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Boehner's Common Ground

The seeming chaos in our political universe continues. But, as we know, the heavens themselves, the planets and everything else--and this includes politics rightly understood--observe degree, priority, and place.  So the discord and sick enterprise will turn to proportion and form soon enough.  I now begin to see that turn.

The talk of "compromise," "bi-partisanship," and so on, (never mind the silly No Labels attempt to institutionalize it) is so broad and deep (at least among the chattering class) that sometimes they actually say that that is what the people voted for in November.  In the 60 Minutes Leslie Stahl Interview with John Boehner (about half way down on the transcript), note how aggressive Stahl gets about partisanship.  She tries to push a definition of governing (and therefore of politics, on the incoming Speaker of the House) as compromise.  I like Boehner's manly reaction to it:  He rejects the word in favor of "common ground,"  I think this is--in today's context--both wise and prudent. In order to get a clearer understanding on the difference, and connection between, principle and compromise we must start thus. 

We need to articulate what the common ground is in our politics before we can divide on those things that the common ground allows, maybe even demands, us to divide on.  This, of course, has to do with the Constitution broadly understood, indeed, with the possibility of self-government.  We need to talk about citizens rather than constituents, for example.  The latter is merely a justification for taking, while the former has a moral components.  The common ground has to do with us understanding why becoming partisans of the Constitution first is the necessary condition for the establishment of good government based on reflection and choice.
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