Whatever happened to the art of negotiation?
Here in Minnesota and a thousand miles away in Washington, important civic institutions are shut down because competing interests cannot find common ground.
The federal government has been closed since Monday night. The Minnesota Orchestra has been silent for just over a year.
In Washington, Democrats in the Senate are insisting that they won't negotiate budget issues with House Republicans until the House approves a continuing funding resolution to keep the government running. In Minnesota, musicians insisted for months that they would not negotiate a new contract until management ended its lockout.
In both places, high-stakes deadlines have come and gone, with participants willing to risk serious harm rather than be the first to blink. The orchestra has lost its renowned musical director, Osmo Vanska; the federal government has furloughed thousands of employees and closed down important services.
The Daily Circuit explores the art of negotiation in an age when compromise seems impossible.
LEARN MORE ABOUT COMPROMISE:
• Emergency Team Of 8th-Grade Civics Teachers Dispatched To Washington
With lawmakers still at an impasse over increasing the debt ceiling, a special team of 40 eighth-grade civics teachers was air-dropped into Washington earlier today in a last-ditch effort to teach congressional leaders how the government's legislative process works. (The satirical paper The Onion)
• Why This Is Not Just 'Washington Breakdown,' in 3 Graphs (and 1 Story)
Yet enough of today's absolutist House members think in exactly these Either/Or terms that normal compromise is simply impossible. Compromise itself is as much their stated enemy as is Obamacare. If you're urging a search for "common ground," please tell me where you see any in this case. I argued recently that the closest parallels in our history were to the John C. Calhoun era before the Civil War. If you think that's unfair, please tell me another case in which a dissatisfied minority threatened to shut down the entire government, and if necessary renege on the national debt, unless a sitting President agrees to reverse his hardest-won policy accomplishment. (James Fallows, The Atlantic)
• In shutdown blame game, Democrats and Republicans united: It's the other side's fault
The heated back-and-forth reflected a recognition by both sides of the importance of winning the messaging war after the first government shutdown in 17 years. This is not just a typical partisan spat — the outcome could determine which party has momentum heading into coming fights over issues such as the debt ceiling and immigration law, as well as next year's congressional elections. (Washington Post)
• Orchestra lovers left wondering about the future after Vanska, Kernis call it quits
Both sides in the labor fight at least agreed on one thing Tuesday — Vanska's resignation was tragic. Beyond that, they left little hope for a quick compromise. Orchestra lovers were left wondering about the future of the renowned 110 year-old ensemble. (Euan Kerr, MPR News)