Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), a member of the House Republican leadership and the chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, was recently asked about lawmakers' capacity to compromise. As Robert Schlesinger noted, his response was illustrative.
"Compromising is one thing as long as you're compromising and moving in the direction of your principles," the right-wing lawmaker said. "If you're compromising and moving away from the direction of your principles, I'm not sure it's a compromise."
And I'm not sure if Price has access to a dictionary. "Compromise" involves give and take, with concessions on both sides. To reach a resolution, compromise necessarily involves rivals accepting something less than their original goal.
I thought of Price's recent comments again this morning after hearing the latest from Richard Mourdock, the Republicans' U.S. Senate nominee in Indiana. He told MSNBC's Chuck Todd this morning, among other things, "I certainly think bipartisanship ought to consist of Democrats coming to the Republican point of view."
This wasn't a slip of the tongue. Mourdock also told CNN that bipartisanship means "Democrats joining Republicans to roll back the size of government," and he told Fox News, "I have a mindset that says bipartisanship ought to consist of Democrats coming to the Republican point of view."
In this guy's mind, the only acceptable "compromise" is the one in which he gets what he wants.
Remember, Tom Mann and Norm Ornstein, centrist political scientists with enormous establishment credibility, have explained that American governance is broken because the Republican Party is "ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition."
As Mourdock helps demonstrate, the radicalization of the GOP isn't over. The costs for the nation will likely continue to be severe.