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What role did the 'tea party' play in the debt debate? [Most commented]

August 9, 2011 |  6:50 pm

Tea party rally on Capitol Hill.

Were it not for the "tea party," there wouldn't have been a call for cuts or deficit reduction, Op-Ed columnist Jonah Goldberg wrote Tuesday. The fault for the debt disaster we’re experiencing is collective, but Republicans have some good decisions on their side, Goldberg wrote.

And the "tea party" didn’t spring up out of thin air, he says. They tolerated George W. Bush’s increase in spending because it was for the War on Terror and because they liked him. Obama ramped up spending, and without Bush’s conservative values, so the tea partyers rebelled, Goldberg wrote.

The tea party is like the cousin who's been through AA and refuses to pretend anymore. As a result he spoils everyone's good time. For the enablers, and others in denial, he's the guy ruining everything, not the drunk.

Uncle Sam is the drunk and the tea partyers are the annoyingly sober — and a bit self-righteous — cousin. Measured by spending, and adjusted for inflation, the federal government has increased by more than 50% in 10 years. Some have enabled the drunken spending, others continue to deny it's even a problem.

And the tea party is sounding the wake-up call. If America didn't have a problem, then there really would be good cause to be furious with the forces of sobriety.

Nobody likes a party-pooper, especially the people hooked on partying.

Here’s how readers on the discussion board responded to the op-ed.

The "tea party" passed up a deal that wouldn’t have resulted in a U.S. downgrade

By refusing to bargain in good faith the tea party (actually, re-branded GOP after the Bush catastrophe) passed up a multi-trillion dollar long term deficit reduction package that would have satisfied the requirements of any rating agency.  Instead they stood strong for oil and agricultural subsidies as well as tax breaks for hedge fund bonuses.  They chose to present to the world a sideshow that one could only interpret as a preview of coming economic instability.  And, we are reaping the reward for Eric Cantor's bright idea.  Way to go patriots, the Tea Party is nothing more than a monkey wrench in their own works.


Why should liberals have to compromise when conservatives won’t?

I was reading another article on latimes about how a small percentage of millionaires pay no income tax and the people rushing to their defense was a bit odd to me.  Frankly, my millionaire has downsized the office drastically increasing the stress on all the workers in the office.   It has been prov-en over and over that tax cuts don't equate to jobs yet people are clinging to that delusion as if it were gospel. 

I actually read the release by S&P.  I read the entire thing because a liberal pundit was going on and on about what it said and I try not to drink anybodies kool-aid.  The article states over and over that both cuts and revenues should be addressed and congress has failed to do so.  It states "It appears that for now, new revenues have dropped down on the menu of policy options." in the same paragraph that political brinkmanship highlights our nations instability, enter the "Tea Party" in the house.  It also addresses structural weakness is the economy and a reluctance to address both entitlements and discretionary (military, dep. of hs) spending. My question is why do conservatives expect liberals to concede cuts with no revenues when it has been recommended by both economists and committees.  I say to heck with anyone who won't compromise.


Everyone sees both parties are to blame

I think that all the world sees that both parties are partly to blame, yet no one can do anything about it.  Republicans are entrenched in no new taxes, and Democrats are spending money we don't have.  And there is no room for compromise.  So there you are.  Let's celebrate while Rome burns.  Just make sure you have a gun cause you'll need it soon.


The "tea party" didn’t appear as full grown orcs, but snotty preteen ones

I'll agree that the Tea Party didn't come out of the ground fully grown orcs...they came out snotty preteen orcs. Young stubborn orcs who hold their breadth and stomp around when they don't get what they want.

The comment made by S&P about "brinkmanship" refers to the House refusing to negotiate with their peers in Congress until the situation had reached the brink of disaster. The U.S. rating was reduced because the House came so close to causing the US to default. 

Yes, the incredibly huge debt is the biggest challenge facing this country. But, it's not the reason we had our credit rating reduced.

We need our leaders to find middle ground, make tough decisions, and work together with a common goal.


Putting ideologies over facts is a bad thing

When a right winger says there's plenty of blame to go around - that's when you know they are the ones to blame.

This great writer forgot one more description in his analogy - they are the illiterate cousin.

Putting ideology over facts is generally a bad thing - the old guard republicans didn't do this so you could respect them. But these peoples belief that government is always bad and taxes are always is ignorant and unhelpful. We could easily fix a lot of the deficit by taxing the wealthy but these people have been conned into thinking A. this affects them (it doesn't) B. That it will be a disastrous blow to the economy (tax rate was much higher on the wealthy before and we didn't do so badly).

I would also disagree that these people were putting up with Bush's deficits but underneath it was killing them. I would counter that these people will get upset about whatever Rush and Fox tell them to. With Bush in power we don't worry about deficits because we have to keep America safe etc.   Wake up tea party the wizard behind the curtain is the one benefiting from those tax cuts on the rich not you.


The Republicans got caught up in their own short term agenda

I agree that liberals are using this as a way to attack the right, but I don't buy this nonsense (article, comments from some of you) that this was some kind of noble way to "wake up" America to its problems.  The reality is that Republicans and Democrats reached an agreement MONTHS AGO on the debt.  They were going to begin cutting spending after this fiscal year, and the economy was improving slowly but surely at that point in time.  Suddenly, some "Tea Party" representatives weren't polling well with their constituency, and so they pressured GOP leadership to drum up this whole fiasco all over again with the ostensible goal of standing their ground and reducing taxes further.

So yes, I do blame the Tea Party, and the Republicans, for this crisis.  As a moderate conservative, I have completely abandoned any support for GOP candidates because they so obviously put the country second to their own short-term political agendas this time. Let me explain:

Republicans control the House and the budget, and they could have taken credit for the improving economy.  Yeah, Obama might have won back his little throne, but Republicans were set to make gains in Congress where it mattered.  Further tax cuts could have come in 2 or 3 years.  Instead, these amateurs played games with the country's credit and cost all of us.  I am just sick about how this played out.  Not worth it, GOP.

-- Ravi_A

If it wasn’t for the "tea party," we could have kept spending as we pleased!

Those who blame the Tea Party really mean, We used to be able to spend as much money as we wanted on whatever entitlement we wanted and no one bothered us.

If it wasn't for the pesky Tea Party catching on to us, we could have kept up the spending and no one would have noticed how far in debt the Country was.

Darn Tea Party.

-- drove2

*Spelling errors in the above comments were corrected.


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Deficit reduction: Who matters now in Washington?

Newton: Today's politicians could learn from Eisenhower

-- Samantha Schaefer

Photo: Kevin Millen joins "tea party" activists as they gather on Capitol Hill for a "Hold the Line" rally June 27. Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

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