Home Virginia Politics Can We Even Reason With People Like This?!?

Can We Even Reason With People Like This?!?


This tweet, by 2013 Republican Lt. Governor candidate (and former Chairman of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors) Susan Stimpson, is a perfect example of why it’s almost impossible to reason with Republicans these days. For starters, to paraphrase Daniel Patrick Moynihan, they simply operate off their own set of “facts,” better known as “demonstrable, verifiable falsehoods.” For instance, Stimpson in this tweet is clearly arguing that Virginia Democrats never “compromise” (not sure why she puts the word in air quotes) with Virginia Republicans, yet again, it’s a demonstrable FACT that Virginia Democrats have compromised with Virginia Republicans on pretty much everything for…well, forever, pretty much.

The reason? Simple: Republicans have controlled the Virginia House of Delegates since 2000 (by huge margins during most of that period), which has meant that compromise was absolutely required to get anything done. In addition, of course, Republicans controlled all levers of Virginia government for much of the period from January 2010 through the end of 2013.

So, obviously, Virginia Democrats have had to compromise over the years – or even completely give in – on issues ranging from transportation to taxes/spending to redistricting to energy/environment to women’s reproductive health to LGBT equality to Medicaid expansion to…basically everything. Yet in Susan Stimpson’s world, and in the world of many people who think like Susan Stimpson, Democrats have never “compromised” (again, not sure why she feels compelled to use the air quotes, other than the very concept of compromise disgusts her). Which, of course, couldn’t be further from the truth. Which brings us back to the headline of this post: can we even reason with people like this?  

  • aznew

    the GOP moves left. Democrats, at the same time, move right, and we meet in the middle.

    I mean, that’s what compromise is, right?

    In answer to your (presumably rhetorical) headline question, no, we cannot reason with people like this.

    But that doesn’t mean that there are not Conservatives of good faith out there with whom reason and compromise are possible, who believe in the ability of government to better people lives, and who understand that in our Constitutional republican form of government, compromise is an essential component of governance.

    Take the Tea Party creed that all government is evil and that compromise of any kind on any issue, indeed, even engagement with people who hold different principles, amounts to a capitulation of deeply held principles, and combine it with the wide swaths of racism, nativism, know-nothingism, and religious bigotry that, while certainly not universal in the Tea Party, clearly run through the movement, and it amounts to a cancer on our political system.

    The good news is that given our political system, this kind of ideology is doomed to failure.  The bad news is that is will take many years for this to play out, and in the interim, many innocent people will suffer.

  • AnonymousIsAWoman

    You see, it’s not that they just live in a factless bubble alternate universe, but they also have their own definitions of words.  An important factor in reaching any agreement is to agree on definitions.  In legal documents the principal terms are always defined so both parties know they are agreeing to the same point.

    So, when Republicans say Democrats never compromise, their definition of compromise is that we don’t promptly and completely see the light of their brilliance, promptly and completely abandon our own principles, and promptly and completely lie down and say, “Please by all means walk all over me.”

    They hate to compromise themselves because they believe that any compromise is a complete, utter defeat and betrayal of their principles.  And that is exactly what they want others to do – completely and utterly betray their principles without a fight and simply accept defeat.

    In other words, it’s their way or the highway and how dare you contradict that?