contemporary political compromise: an illustration
From what I can tell, both political parties are interested in extending the payroll tax cut. Which is smart politics. Who wants to cause Americans to pay an extra $1,000 during an election season? They may not agree on how to pay for the extension, but if they can agree on the what, the how can be worked out.
Of course, agreement is not actually a political position these days. It is not possible for the Republicans to agree with Obama on any proposal without feeling like they are capitulating with the enemy. So in order to make this agreement into a full-on fight, the GOP are searching for some way to gum up the works. For some, that gum is the Keystone XL Pipeline. To Obama, the GOP said: we won’t pass the payroll tax cut, even though we want to extend the payroll tax cut, unless you attach approval of Keystone XL. To which President Obama said: if you attach Keystone XL, I’ll veto the payroll tax cut and the pipeline. To this GOP said: We’re prepared to fight this out. To which Obama said: I’ll take away your Christmas vacation. You get the idea.
In case you were wondering what this kind of compromise looks like, and how it compares to normal interaction, here is a diagram to illustrate: