Guest post by Keith Koffler
I realize that sounds quite delusional to many people, particularly here in Washington. But it makes total, absolute sense.
The muttering class Inside the Beltway is very pleased with itself: The doomed Tea Party strategy is foundering on the shoals of idiocy, just like they said it would. The Republican “brand” has been downgraded yet again. America looks foolish abroad: “The world has reacted mostly with disbelief that a superpower could fall into such dysfunction,” wrote the New York Times today. Reasonable people will soon be back in charge so they can do reasonable things in a reasonable way without all these Tea Party lunatics stirring up trouble.
Let me tell all of you something:
THIS COUNTRY IS ALREADY IN A STATE OF TOTAL DYSFUNCTION, AND HAS BEEN FOR YEARS.
A state of dysfunction, mind you, brought to you by the “reasonable” people who have been striking deals for years that have created $ 17 trillion in debt and a possibly irreversible degree of Socialism that is lobotomizing our tradition of independent thinking and creativity, crippling free enterprise, and carving the soul out of the moral, God-fearing ethic that has made this nation the greatest on earth.
You’ll see them all on the Sunday talk shows, concurring solemnly with each other about the need to avoid such shenanigans again so our system can resume functioning in a normal manner.
But as you and I know, “normal” has become a state of somnolence in which our leaders steadily sleepwalk us into the abyss.
We are adding new entitlements, even as the old ones are tens of trillions of dollars in debt. That’s right, tens of trillions. That’s what it will cost to make sure our children get the same Medicare and Social Security benefits their grandparents are enjoying.
We have begun a vast new economic arrangement, Obamacare, imposed by one ruling Party on the entire nation, that will ensure our children will one day die needlessly from a ruined health care delivery system and that will invite the federal government into countless aspects of our lives.
The “crisis” that would ensue if we breach the debt ceiling is not something caused by the Tea Party. It is a manifestation of the crisis that already exists. WE ARE ALREADY UNABLE TO PAY OUR BILLS WITHOUT THE HELP OF COMMUNIST CHINESE BUREAUCRATS. WAKE UP AMERICA!
That’s all the Tea Party is saying to people. That’s all that’s happening here. The economic chaos and harm that might ensue if there is breach of the debt ceiling is no more than a preview of the meltdown that is on the way once all the bills catch up with us and once the U.S. has declined to the point that the savages replace us as the world’s preeminent economic and military power.
Man’s ability to ignore uncomfortable truths and live in a preferred reality is remarkable. People spend years avoiding problems they know will cause them great harm down the road. But when it’s the government, this tendency is multiplied. No one really is responsible, and everyone will simply point the finger at someone else when things collapse and then go out and campaign for reelection as the only ones who can “fix” things.
The Tea Party, with its willingness to demand a stop to this freak show by shuttering the government and halting debt payments, is revolutionary, but not radical. Because sometimes revolutionary action is the reasonable course. The Tea Party is no more radical than were our Founding Fathers, who also staged a revolution when there was no other choice.
Summarizing some polling data, the Wall Street Journal today presents a picture of who the Tea Party regulars are:
Many frustrated liberals, and not a few pundits, think that people who share these beliefs must be downscale and poorly educated. The New York Times survey found the opposite. Only 26% of tea-party supporters regard themselves as working class, versus 34% of the general population; 50% identify as middle class (versus 40% nationally); and 15% consider themselves upper-middle class (versus 10% nationally). Twenty-three percent are college graduates, and an additional 14% have postgraduate training, versus 15% and 10%, respectively, for the overall population. Conversely, only 29% of tea-party supporters have just a high-school education or less, versus 47% for all adults.
Many tea-party supporters are small businessmen who see taxes and regulations as direct threats to their livelihood. Unlike establishment Republicans who see potential gains from government programs such as infrastructure funding, these tea partiers regard most government spending as a deadweight loss. Because many of them run low-wage businesses on narrow margins, they believe that they have no choice but to fight measures, such as ObamaCare, that reduce their flexibility and raise their costs—measures to which large corporations with deeper pockets can adjust.
In other words, the Tea Party is comprised of SENSIBLE PEOPLE hoping to restore some sense to the nonsense prevailing in Washington. They have come to the conclusion that, faced with a president who wants nothing but to expand government and a Congress unable to impose the thorough restructuring necessary to save the union, extraordinary measures are needed.
And, with tears in my eyes as I write this, I tell you, I don’t know if they will ever succeed. I don’t know if good people with the values that would save this country can withstand the monumental, grinding combined force of a government that sucks the life from the nation so it can itself live and a population that has grown habituated to the guarantee that other people’s money will be – and must be – provided to them.
But the people comprising this movement are right to give it a try. Surprising things do happen. And what other alternative is there?
The Tea Party is making a stand. The pundits will say, if legislation reopening the government and raising the debt limit passes, that the Tea Party has been defeated today. But to the extent conservatives have revived a movement, drawn attention to the problem, and even forced a president with his eye on the next deadline into negotiations, there will be victory in defeat.
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