Speaker of the House John Boehner will have a splendid view of the Tea Party rally planned outside the Capitol today, and may notice some of the activists staring right back at him through narrowed eyes. Mark Meckler of the Tea Party Patriots is quoted by the Associated Press warning Boehner “he is going to face a primary challenge” next year, if he agrees to a budget that doesn’t cut spending enough. Meckler also mused darkly that plenty of other Republicans could also face primary challenges.
The word on many Tea Party minds these days is “compromise.” Republicans want them to remember that politics is the art of compromise. The Tea Party counters that compromise with disaster is pointless. The fabled $100 billion of promised spending cuts wouldn’t have been more than a small down payment on what needs to be done, in order to bring our government’s disintegrating finances under control. What good does it do America to watch Republicans compromise with Democrat extremists to “compromise” it down to $33 billion, $20 billion, or whatever?
Why are we compromising with people who have openly declared themselves to be mindless and unthinking obstacles to real reform? From President Obama’s insane budget proposals, chock full of new spending on his pet projects, to Chuck Schumer’s open-mike brain farts, there is nothing to indicate the Democrat Party has the slightest interest in demonstrating fiscal responsibility.
We might count it a rhetorical victory to point out their own “compromises” have revealed their earlier insistence that not a penny of the federal budget could be cut were abject lies, but everyone already knew that was silly. At the very least, why should we rest before cutting all the absurd waste, fraud, and pork described in Senator Tom Coburn’s “Wastebook 2010?”
The Republican response to the Tea Party includes assurances that the real fight is yet to come. Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois says the current debate over continuing resolutions is like “Fort Sumter in the Civil War,” while the real excitement will come when next year’s budget is debated.
What the GOP should keep in mind is that the Tea Party is filled with people who have heard such assurances before, and know that commitments of future restraint in exchange for more spending now are the hollow promise of a junkie who will say anything to get his next fix. That’s not to say that Kinzinger is insincere, or incorrect in his tactical analysis. The system itself grinds those dreams of future responsibility into dust.
The bottom line is that the real battle will occur in 2012. The Democrats have enough political strength to ensure that some level of compromise with disaster is the best that can be hoped for today. Tomorrow it will be time to explain to voters that the Democrats are an intractable obstacle that must be removed, before anything resembling responsible government can exist.
That task will be made harder by betraying principles through the wrong kinds of “compromise,” or betraying the trust of the Tea Party movement, whose strength has brought us this far. They are not difficult to understand. They don’t like word games, or watching $100 billion promises “pro-rated” down to $62 billion. They’ve got day jobs, so they don’t have a lot of time to march outside politicians’ windows waving signs that remind them why they were sent to Washington.
They don’t want to spend the rest of their lives getting halfway back to where George Bush left us, because that wasn’t good enough. And they most certainly do not want to be taken for granted as GOP foot soldiers… or watch Republican leaders knuckle under to people who treat them like some kind of invading alien force, or the marketing division of the incorporated Evil Rich.
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