While the Tea Party Caucus in the House manufactured this “crisis” virtually on their own by mandating spending cuts as a condition of raising the debt limit, you have to give them one thing: they have been dogged in their resolve at least. While it literally nauseates me to watch them try and hang the deficit around the necks of those who are already in pain in this country; the poor, the sick, minorities, and the elderly, I have watched with envy – yes, envy – as they’ve held on while they’ve been dragged into Boehner’s office for the thumb screws. Apparently they are impervious to the usual machinations of congressional leadership; swank office locations, even help with future fund-raising, that have worked so successfully in the past. Can it be that they really believe what they told their constituents during the elections?
I wonder what the healthcare debate would have looked like if there were a coalition of similarly resolute, determined progressives hell-bent on accepting nothing less than a single-payer national healthcare program? Truth is, we’ll never know; progressives rarely, if ever, hold on to any convictions as fervently as these Tea Partiers have held on to theirs. Even Social Security is not beyond their faltering as we have already witnessed by our President. A program that has not added a single dime to the deficit, and that is also solvent to the year 2037, and not in bad condition even after that, is allowed to be put on the block, all in the name of a compromise where we do all the compromising and the other side does none.
If we were really honest with ourselves about this, we’d be busy defining exactly what those tenets were and making sure that our “membership” is aware that, if they are going to be a part of our cause, these tenets, beliefs, programs, whatever, are not up for discussion.