Mediation with Republicans? Probably Not

(D) Governor Dayton out of Minnesota is seeking budget mediation with the GOP-controlled legislature. It does not shock me that republicans refuse to mediate. Whatever the merit of their positions, their game plan for some time now has been to refuse compromise at any level. They are classic “high conflict.” They thrive in it and have got the media reveling in it which in turn has the public immersed.

When I think of republican politics these days I think of high conflict and bully tactics with an underlying message that includes: we have a mandate from the people to pass our complete agenda with no compromise and how dare anyone think we must compromise on ANYTHING because if we do, the entire economy will blow up in our faces. How in the world do these tactics have any place in our political process? They do though because it makes for good television. They do because they divide people and bring out the nasty in people. They do because they create a mob mentality that has appeal to many people – gives them security, makes them feel involved, makes them feel important.

That Dayton is requesting mediation says he is willing to sit down as an adult and talk. The Republican’s refusal, in this case, comes off like the controlling, abusive spouse who will stop at nothing and is willing to say anything to give up nothing to his or her spouse in their divorce. They are the classic high conflict client with the added bonus of knowingly and intentionally acting that way. There is no unconscious disorder, just a conscious plot to halt communication through talking points, bullying, and media that blows up the talking points and bullying into a circus act that mesmerizes. This effectively stops discussion. This disallows negotiation. This is not communication. How sad that we put up with it.

Does mediation have a chance in this situation? I don’t think so. Unfortunately, with bullies we need imposed solutions; with bullies who have the media behind them, we need an uprising.