The tea party deserves an A for its negotiating skills and an F for loyalty to our country.
Its members in the U.S. House of Representatives have been brilliant at pushing through a deal that meets their ideological requirements. They have managed to get reluctant agreement to $2.5 trillion in cuts over 10 years, with a likelihood that most will come from America’s poor and middle-class citizens.
They have managed to convince a debt-ridden nation that increased revenue — even the elimination of tax loopholes for mega-corporations — should have no part in reducing that debt, a proposition that makes no sense for nations, businesses or families.
They have succeeded in their effort to distract the nation from the economic truism that drastic federal cuts in an already-depressed economy create a certainty of higher unemployment and greater need for governmental assistance.
How have they succeeded in managing this remarkable coup? By holding hostage America’s reputation for honoring its obligations.
The tea party’s negotiating success is a direct result of it being more willing than its opponents to harm the United States. Reasonable politicians from both parties have backed down not because they were wowed by tea party logic, but because they were unwilling to permanently damage the nation they gave an oath to serve.
There is no honor in winning a negotiation by taking hostage a nation that others hold dear.
The Decatur, Ala., Daily (Aug. 4)