Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
A must-read post from Jon Favreau at The Daily Beast. The Tea Party, Not Democrats or Republicans, Is the Problem:
Perhaps most important is the reminder that political temper tantrums in
Washington exact a toll that goes far beyond unfavorable headlines and
worse-than-dog-poo poll numbers. This decision hurt people.
* * *
Which brings me to the second shutdown lesson. As a country, we may
never get a more revealing, disturbing look at the true source of
Washington’s dysfunction than we did over the last few weeks.
* * *
The Tea Party is the problem.
Tea Party is the most destructive force in American politics today.
Over the last few weeks, it has demonstrated again that its intent is
not to shake up the establishment but to burn down the village. As a
Democrat, I disagree with its policy positions, but its policy positions
alone are not what make the Tea Party so dangerous. What makes the Tea
Party dangerous is its members’ willful disregard for the most basic
tenets of American democracy. They do not believe in the legitimacy of
our president. They do not believe in the legitimacy of decisions handed
down by our Supreme Court. Unlike President Obama, Harry Reid, Mitch
McConnell, John Boehner, or a host of other Democratic and Republican
lawmakers who grasp the basic reality of politics, they have never, not
once shown a willingness to compromise on anything. Merely uttering the
word is enough to draw a primary challenge.
this, despite the fact that the Tea Party represents the views of a
small, ever-shrinking fraction of Americans. Even within the Republican
Party, its members’ favorability hovers around 50 percent, the lowest of
all time. Their recent legislative strategy, a word that can be used
only in its loosest sense, led to 144 Tea Party House members voting
against a bipartisan compromise simply to open the government and avert
default. But when Reuters polled people
who weren’t satisfied with last week’s outcome, only 2 percent said it
was because the House passed the Senate’s bipartisan bill. Only 5
percent said it was because Republicans compromised. Only 3 percent said
it was because default would have taught our government an important
lesson. Most people said their main dissatisfaction was with the ugly
process the Tea Party dragged us all through.
And yet, somehow, this small minority of Tea Party House members, who
represent less than one half of one legislative body in one branch of
government, has been given enormous influence over the national agenda—a
situation without precedent in American political history. It’s
* * *
Boehner was, in his own words,
“overrun” by the Tea Party during the shutdown, and so long as he and
other Republicans fear challenges from the fringe more than the
frustrations of the majority, nothing will get done. And we will find
ourselves in the same predicament again and again, regardless of who is
elected president or speaker or majority leader.
Republican Party is at war with itself. And as tempting as it might be
for Democrats to gloat from the sidelines, it is in all of our
interests—Democrats, independents, and Republicans—to make sure the Tea
Party doesn’t win. In 2014, candidates of both parties should challenge
their rivals to sign a No Shutdown Pledge and a No Default Pledge. In
House races, candidates should be asked whether they’re willing to
violate the ridiculous Hastert rule
and allow simple up-or-down votes on legislation that could pass with
bipartisan support, no matter who holds the majority. In Senate races,
they should be asked whether they’re willing to make it harder for
bipartisan legislation to be filibustered by a Ted Cruz or a Mike Lee.
and Republicans can argue all they want over the role of government,
but we cannot allow the Tea Party to continue holding the country
hostage over its kamikaze mission to destroy government. The vast
majority of Americans reject that mission, and we’re not about to
sacrifice ourselves or our democracy as collateral damage. It’s time for
all of us to get together and fight the crazy.