Does the refusal to compromise represent a political "profile in courage" or unreasonable stubbornness? It depends. Peter Wehner explains why:
Compromise v. Prudence
At the same time, there are those who speak as if compromise is itself, in principle, a moral good. But that approach is also flawed and potentially dangerous. Compromise for its own sake can set back the cause of justice. In the wrong hands, in weak hands, it can produce pernicious results. The point is that compromise can't be judged in the abstract; it can only be assessed in particular circumstances. It takes wisdom and statesmanship to discern when to hold firm (on fundamental principles) and when to give ground (on tactics and secondary issues). ....
The word compromise is something of a Rorschach test. Those who hold a liberal worldview often consider conservatives who fight hard for their cause to be inflexible and unreasonable, just as those who hold a conservative worldview often consider liberals who fight hard for their cause to be inflexible and unreasonable. What determines whether we judge a politician to be a profile in courage or a profile in intransigence almost always depends on whether we're sympathetic to the cause they are championing.
As a general matter, then, compromise is neither a moral good nor a moral evil; it's contextual. And it's why prudence, not compromise, is rightly considered to be among the highest of all the political virtues. .... [more]