The Wall Street Journal Calls for Compromise

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You start to wonder if the Republicans have overplayed their hand when the Wall Street Journal's editorial writers call for compromise. (Hurry past the part about how Obama has been angling for a government shutdown all along.) Yes, I said "compromise". Could it be a misprint?

Republicans ... say that if they back down now they'll have no credibility for the bigger fights to come over the debt limit and Congressman Paul Ryan's 2012 limit. We think the opposite is more likely. Republicans will have more credibility over fights that really matter if they show they're willing to compromise now. And if Republicans back down next week after a shutdown begins, as they did in 1995, they will look even worse to their own supporters and have squandered even more political capital for very little return.

We're not opposed to a shutdown showdown, but the policy stakes ought to be worth the political investment.

I am opposed to a shutdown showdown--how it could ever serve the public interest to demonstrate such incapacity to govern is beyond me--but I agree with the tactical point. The Republicans' calculation is unintelligible. Days ago they should have declared victory and withdrawn.

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Clive Crook is a senior editor of The Atlantic and a columnist for Bloomberg View. He was the Washington columnist for the Financial Times, and before that worked at The Economist for more than 20 years, including 11 years as deputy editor. Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics. More

Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics.

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