Walker Floats a Compromise

One of my best friends from childhood once told me, “There are some things you cannot compromise on.” Maybe. But there are many more things that you can compromise on.

Witness Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has offered to keep certain collective bargaining rights in place for state workers in a proposed compromise aimed at ending a nearly three-week standoff with absent Senate Democrats, according to e-mails released Tuesday by his office.

The governor appeared for the first three weeks of this fiasco to have learned the wrong lesson from the presidency of George W. Bush–that the only way to lead is to bowl over the people in front of you. Perhaps with his numbers sinking in the polls and recall threats hanging in the air, he is learning something new.

Here’s hoping, however, that the Democrats don’t think this is a teaching moment instructing them that the answer to an intractable problem is to run and hide from it. If runaway senators don’t get back to work soon, recall threats against them can’t be far over the horizon.

It would be nothing new for voters to conclude that both the Democrats and Republicans have acted like jerks through this whole affair, leaving neither with any decided advantage walking away from the crisis.

Late addition, Thursday, March 10, 2011, 9:52 a.m.: Of course, we now know that the Wisconsin Senate has preempted any possibility of compromise.

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