I was impressed with Michael Steele this morning on the Today show. In an interview with Lester Holt about the health care bill and the Republican’s stance on it, Holt attempted a common tactic — get the opposition to compromise by getting them to accept your premise.
Holt made several attempts to get Steele to compromise his position. I’m paraphrasing, but it went something like this:
Holt: Now that the bill will become law, what would Republicans like to remove from the bill?
That was bait. Steele didn’t take it. Had Steele accepted Holt’s statement that would have been a compromise that would have reset the discussion. Holt wanted Steele to say something like, Okay, okay now that we have your bill we’d like to see the mandate to purchase health care removed.
Had Steele done that, it would have been tough for him to move back to his position and Lester would have gained credit for moving the Republicans from a position that aligns with a good deal of Americans to a position of compromise with the folks that will not likely be in power much longer. It would have been a subtle and important acceptance of the state of things on Steele’s part and would have reset the Republican’s negotiating position from wanting to repeal the whole bill to a position where they were quibbling over details of the bill.
Holt didn’t give up. He made two more attempts to get Steele to come over, but Steele didn’t go for it. In fact, he said exactly what he should have said, I’m not going to accept your premise. We want to repeal the bill. The American people want to repeal the bill. There’s no point in discussing your hypothetical other than to slowly compromise away our principles.
If you haven’t read Steele’ book yet, you should. Keep it up Michael.