Liberal Democrats, because they believe they know what’s best for Republicans, advise the Grand Old Party to distance itself from the tea party. Call me a skeptic, but I don’t think any Democrat has the Republican Party’s best interests at heart. So I’m inclined to think Democrats want the tea party to dissipate because it’s speaking some truths that many Americans believe and others need to hear.
To me, the greatest truth is that America cannot and should not continue to spend money it does not have. It is true the deficit is shrinking, partly because tax receipts are rising with an improving economy but partly because of the sequester, which Democrats would end if they could. It is also true, as we know from recent weeks, that America is constantly raising its debt limit, which means we are spending money we don’t have.
No doubt, tea party Republicans were wrong to try to derail “Obamacare” in exchange for giving Democrats what they wanted – the power to continue spending money the country doesn’t have. President Obama was never going to neuter his signature domestic-policy achievement.
But tea party Republicans were not wrong to try to demand concessions from Democrats in exchange for action on the budget and debt ceiling. The Democrats said give them a clean budget resolution and a higher debt ceiling and then they would negotiate on spending and tax reform. But the president and Democrats in the Senate have had Obama’s nearly five years in office to negotiate with Republicans on reforming government. They haven’t done so.
That’s because Obama has no interest in lowering taxes or spending; if he had his druthers, both would rise, because the president believes government is the cure for what ails America. He makes no apology for that, and I admire anyone who has the courage of his convictions.
But others, including tea party Republicans, believe in a limited government that gives free enterprise mostly free rein to create the jobs that lift people out of poverty and into the middle class. And it should surprise no one really that tea party Republicans would play hardball with a president who refuses to negotiate or compromise. These people too have the courage of their convictions.