Half a Loaf is a Failure

In Washington today there are distinctly different negotiation tactics at play.

Negotiation is something that both parties in Washington must do but it seems that they can't do it very well. When watching for a long period of time it is clear that there are multiple negotiation tactics. Every strategy has its own strengths and its own flaws. When a policy proposal is being debated and voted on there is a lot of negotiation behind the scenes. The most successful strategies allow you to get what you want while the other party feels it got something in return.

Democrats tend to take the take it or leave it approach to negotiation. Why shouldn't they? They after all have the media to back them up. They will never get called out for being unreasonable and besides back when they had 60 votes in the Senate and didn't need anyone else they kind of liked not having to negotiate with the icky Republicans and kind of forgot how to negotiate. This strategy allows them to either get what they want or have the issue as a campaign talking point in the next election. Win Win in their book.

Moderates of both parties have recently become hostage takers. When there are not enough moderates to effect the outcome of legislation they fall into line and vote how their party wants. Why take heat on a vote that will pass or fail anyways? They hold their fire and when there are enough of them to determine a bill's fate they hold the legislation hostage with their vote often demanding concessions that really make the legislation hard to work in the real world. They get what they want or the bill fails.

Republican Leadership tends to try to look reasonable. They see the moderates who are holding legislation hostage and they see the Democrats who are always demanding take it or leave it. They think by asking for half a loaf they can get something accomplished. They want to be seen as the adult in the room the people who get things done. The problem is the Media is against them and will paint everything they do as a failure while never holding the other groups responsible.

When starting the negotiation by asking for half a loaf you are not able to convince the other side that you have had to sacrifice in the negotiation and so they will ask you to sacrifice more. By the time you get to your finished product you are left with only an unworkable mess that tends to give you 10 percent of what you campaigned on in the last election. No wonder you are always painted by the media as a failure. Your strategy is designed to fail.