Be thankful for compromise. It is not overrated–and is needed to address major US budget issues, European debt problems, and many other issues.
Political heroes in our history—including all the Rushmore presidents and other admired chief executives, the greatest leaders of Congress and even titans of the judiciary—emphasized flexibility over fanaticism. To use our current terminology, they flip-flopped regularly, with Jefferson disregarding old principles to purchase Louisiana, Madison rechartering the Bank of the United States after opposing its initial establishment, FDR and Reagan vastly increasing deficits after solemnly pledging to balance budgets, Nixon recognizing Red China after three decades of denunciation, Bill Clinton signing welfare reform after two prior vetoes, and so forth. Barack Obama’s inability to negotiate a similar pivot to adjust to new budget realities and a new Republican House hasn’t enhanced his stature, it’s diminished it. One need not embrace the Emersonian idea that “consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds” to recognize the value of adjusting tactics in the interest of strategy, of reconsidering short-term means in order to achieve long-term ends.