Zakaria: Tea Party held America hostage

08.01.11 | Filed Under Politik

Fareed Zakaria:

… if you control just one of those three branches of government, you can’t hijack the entire system and say I’m going to blow the country up unless you listen to me.

[The Tea Party has] only won one election to one house once.

I think they don’t understand the workings of democracy. They have not been elected as dictators of the United States. They have been elected to one house in one branch of the American government. The only way you can translate your wishes into public policy in America is if you can convince your branch and the other one, the Senate and the White House, to go along with it.

If you can’t, you’ve got to figure out amongst yourself what you can agree on. This is why it is fundamentally anti-democratic –”counterconstitutional” in the words of Charles Krauthammer – to be trying to do this. It’s just an extraordinary act of hostage-taking on the part of the Tea Party. It is holding the country hostage.

Completely agree … although I’m having a hard time seeing this as something besides a failure of leadership by Obama. I think Boehner, in his heart of hearts, probably even feels he failed as a leader this summer.

The only reason why this worked for the Tea Party Caucus (which actually accounts for less than 15% of one body of Congress) is that our country’s leadership didn’t have the courage to make it impossible for them to do this by refusing to cooperate with them … by making it clear that no Tea Party item on the Tea Party agenda would see the light of day again if they dared do this to the country. Or some other tactic that professional negotiators can come up with. You just can’t let a vocal minority railroad you like this – whether you’re the Speaker or the POTUS.

Although, it’s entirely possible that this helps Obama’s  re-election chances as it will be something he can campaign on to refute allegations of excessive government spending. I’m not sure this is quite worth “2nd term insurance” for me, but there it is.