Campaigning Against Democracy

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania and professor of political philosophy, and Dennis Thompson, professor of government at Harvard University, are co-authors of The Spirit of Compromise: Why Governing Demands It and Campaigning Undermines It. Together, they discuss their book and examine the conflict between campaigning and governing.


Amy Gutmann and Dennis Thompson

Comments [38]

All due respect to Amy Gutmann and Dennis Thompson, I'm one of those (no, not a centrist democrat) on the show who believes that the hardening of the Republican party has made productive compromise in Congress totally impossible. Republicans seem to believe that it makes sense in the short-term to obstruct policy in the hopes that after the election they will be able to force democrats table on more favorable terms. It would have been interesting to hear the commentators discuss the potential reasons for /avoiding/ compromise.

Also, to compromise, one must have a shared set of interests and to some extent, a shared worldview. I'm not sure that exists in Washington anymore.

Jun. 22 2012 06:38 PM


At $50,000/yr tuition, ol' Amy's salary for a SINGLE year would pay for 26 YEARS of someone's education.


26 YEARS!!!

Jun. 21 2012 03:09 PM

Political Compromise

As long as money is speech, corporations are people
and 100 billionaires hold so much money, power and
fund the Right Wing Propaganda machine, the stakes
are much too high for them to even think about their
purchased 'elected' representatives doing anything
like compromise.

Inordinate amount of power and money in relatively few
hands, along with pervasive right wing propaganda, were
hallmarks of 20th century fascism. Are we witnessing 21st
century neo-fascism unfold?

Jun. 21 2012 12:25 PM

...although, I don't believe it's necessary for anyone to work for free to achieve those goals.

Yon don't need to be a Marxist to achieve these things. It's a matter of moral priority and fairness.

Our current form of Kapitalisim™ is OUT OF CONTROL.

Jun. 21 2012 11:34 AM

Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey~

Sounds good to me.

Jun. 21 2012 11:29 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

@dboy -

You could cut the university president's salary back to the mean for other faculty members and the adjuncts STILL wouldn't get healthcare.

Maybe it's time for a sixth branch of the service - the US Medical Corps and the US Medical Academy - free liberal arts education and medical education - followed by 6-10 years of public service providing medical care to American citizens. (or is that too socialist?)

Jun. 21 2012 11:17 AM

Ask an adjunct at either university if they have access to health care...

Jun. 21 2012 11:08 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

Calm down, dboy.... Rutgers' new president is getting $650K/yr and that is only a third of what the former football coach (Schiano) was getting. Lucky for the Ivy League that their football players plan to do something other than play football after their college ball days.

College tuition has tracked more closely to the rate of growth in the overall economy (which has increased 24X in the last 50 years) rather than average wages (only 8x over the last 50 years). What I find disgusting is the number of Americans that blame the fleeced (middle class earners) rather than the fleecers (upper percentile earners and government policy) for the decline in the buying power of their wage.

It ain't the programs for the poor or foreign aid that give half the money to 10 percent of the households.

Jun. 21 2012 11:08 AM




Jun. 21 2012 11:01 AM
Althea from Westport

Very good question. Why did Amy refuse to answer the question even after you brought her back to the question and re-framed it. Financial aid policy doesn't explain the skyrocketing cost to get a college education and only speaks to the people who qualify. Is Amy assuming that anyone whose need doesn't satisfy financial aid guidelines has the money to pay tuition however high it gets? It was so frustrating to listen to her talk.

Jun. 21 2012 10:59 AM

Does Amy also sit on the board of the NY Fed, overseeing banking policy on the $1 TRILLION student loan debt in this Kountry® like Lee Bollinger does???

Jun. 21 2012 10:59 AM

...seems 7 figure is the new 6 figure and education administration and health insurance executive is the place to get it!!!


Go, AmeriKa™!!

Jun. 21 2012 10:53 AM

Why are tuition prices too damn high? Clearly the reason is because university presidents have NO idea where the money is going.
great question brian, the no answer was priceless!

Jun. 21 2012 10:51 AM

Oh, SNAP!!!

Ol' Amy makes $1.3 MILLION!!!



This is nauseating!

Jun. 21 2012 10:49 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

"Senators must be present for filibusters"

Hear her! Hear her!

@Sheldon - Forget term limits. Limits just make the seats come up for sale more frequently. Public financing. Expand the number of seats in the House - not their staffs -- to one member for every 100K-250K citizens. (3X to 7X today's size). Not everyone will get a seat on the floor or a committee assignment. Many congressman will participate over the 'net.

Public campaign financing.

Jun. 21 2012 10:47 AM

Why should a business (college education) be able to look at the income statement & balance sheet its customers before it determines what price to charge them. Name another business that has such pricing power.

Jun. 21 2012 10:46 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

George Will is right.... tuition is based on what colleges think families can beg, borrow, or steal.

Jun. 21 2012 10:46 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

If subsidizing University tuition results in rising tuition, does medical insurance result in rising medical costs.

If providers know that most charges will come out of insurance company pockets, the insurance companies pass on the higher charges as premium charges.

Jun. 21 2012 10:46 AM

Good question, Brian!

Ask Amy Gutmann how much she makes!

Lee Bollinger makes $2 MILLION at Columbia University.


Jun. 21 2012 10:45 AM

this woman is scaring me

Jun. 21 2012 10:44 AM
amy from nyc

The GOP is funded and run by people who think that we will have utopia if we get rid of government, not give people a better life in the most effective way.

GOP powers hate "We the People..." they want the "3/5 of a person.." back..

Jun. 21 2012 10:44 AM

Gutmann is a university prez. No wonder she's a corp sellout.

Jun. 21 2012 10:44 AM
John A.

Being Uncompromising is a way to get those pushed down by inequality to Want more inequality. Think about it. Closer to the center - is compromise - and more equal.

Jun. 21 2012 10:43 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Maybe there was some compromise on the specific issue the guests are talking about, but the Reagan administration got most of its agenda through Congress w/very little compromise on their own side, & the "center" has only been moving more to the right ever since. I actually voted for Anderson instead of Carter in 1980 because I saw how much Congress had blocked Pres. Carter's efforts, & I figured it would be the same w/Reagan. Wow, was I wrong.

Jun. 21 2012 10:43 AM



Pool ALL the campaign money from both sides and split it down the middle; half to dems, half to GOP.

Call it a day.

Jun. 21 2012 10:42 AM

These people are centrists partisans, presenting themselves as disinterested parties.

The same old Friedmanite nonsense, that the truth exists between two positions, no matter that one position is far, far right, and the other one is center right, and these people want their own positions prevail.

Jun. 21 2012 10:40 AM

Okay, compromise is necessary for our system of government to work. The so-called tea party has gotten a good share of Republicans to eschew compromise. Therefore our government is not working. So, the teabaggers need to learn that our governing will fail without compromise, and they need to back off!

Jun. 21 2012 10:40 AM

The very idea of compromise has been hijacked so that now to most it means capitulation or weakness. Not making an outcome stronger because several sides are represented but a mix of wins and losses. What one side "gives up" is a "victory" for the other -- not a positive for everyone. I don't know how we take the idea back.

Jun. 21 2012 10:39 AM

No compromise...bring government to a halt. We aren't moving anywhere its an illusion.

Jun. 21 2012 10:38 AM

Health care reform was not a compromise, but a rip off of healthy young people to provide 30 million more profit centers for rapacious med ins corps.

How much do corps pay Gutmann for shilling for them by calling all USG corp welfare "compromise."

Jun. 21 2012 10:37 AM
Karl Henderson from Brooklyn

I believe that compromise should be prohibited in politics. We do not allow the owners of American Airlines and United Airlines to get together and compromise on the price of airfare. We would call this “price fixing”. We understand that competition causes airlines to improve their efficiency to the benefits of consumers. Why then do we allow politicians to “compromise” on the rate of taxes or the quantity of handouts?

Jun. 21 2012 10:36 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

You want to save democracy?

Voting should be mandatory, with a "none of the above" option.

Get rid of our two-party dictatorship

Term Limits. Term limits. Term limits.

Cut the federal govt in half - send more responsibilities back to the States.

Jun. 21 2012 10:34 AM
amy from nyc

politics does not advance through compromise it advances through someone taking advantage of a crisis

Jun. 21 2012 10:33 AM

Simpson-Bowles, aka Catfood Commission, is decisively NOT compromise, but rather stealing poor & middle class social security.

Jun. 21 2012 10:33 AM

The GOP said last year during the debt ceiling crisis that just "sitting down at the negotiating table itself is a concession". The party has proven again and again that compromise is not something they are willing to do, but something they are willing to accept.

Almost all of the Republicans in Congress have signed the Grover Norquist pledge to never raise taxes. No compromise ever. (Also known as the "I'm Grover Noquist's B*TCH pledge").

Jun. 21 2012 10:33 AM
james from nyc

How do you compromise with a bunch of crazy "republican conservatives" also know as lazy waisteful bums that think they are the greatest thing since the invention of indoor toilets.

Jun. 21 2012 10:30 AM

Humans are alpha male societies evolutionarily. Govt is all about getting to the top of the mountain, aka horse race, and has NOTHING to do with governing. To be a 'leader' in such circumstances, the ONLY skill you need is whatever it takes to get to the top of the mountain and, once there, prevent challengers from throwing you off.

That model explains everything we see in U.S. politics.

Jun. 21 2012 10:28 AM

move the ball down the field to where?

Jun. 21 2012 10:26 AM

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