Those hoping for compromise should prepare for disappointment

THOSE HOPING FOR COMPROMISE SHOULD PREPARE FOR DISAPPOINTMENT…. If there’s one thing the vast majority of Americans seem to agree on, it’s the desire to see officials in Washington compromise with one another. Take a new CBS News poll, for example.

The 2010 midterm elections marked a historic loss for President Obama’s Democratic party, and although the Republicans now control the House of Representatives, the public wants them to work with the president and compromise in order to get things done.

Americans’ desire to see Republicans and Democrats put the bickering aside and get some work done extends across both parties, with a substantial 72 percent of those polled by CBS News saying the GOP members of Congress should make tradeoffs in order to get things accomplished.

The only vaguely surprising part of this was how broad the support is. The poll found that a clear majority of self-identified Republicans (60%) want to see GOP lawmakers compromise with Democrats, as does a majority of self-identified Tea Partiers (55%).

In other words, the Republicans’ own base expects the party to make concessions — something party leaders have said they will refuse to do.

This is relevant to the extent that it’s likely to come up quite a bit next year. Expect the White House communications shop to spend a lot of time positioning President Obama as the reasonable leader willing meet the GOP half-way, and congressional Republicans as the irresponsible partisans who reject good-faith offers and refuse to compromise.

Also note, even as the GOP seems to be riding high, public attitudes on the parties haven’t changed: “Despite the gains of last week, the GOP is viewed favorably by 42 percent of those polled, while slightly more, 48 percent, view them unfavorably. Views of the Democratic Party are slightly more positive, but still mixed (46 percent favorable; 46 unfavorable).”