This is a showdown I simply can’t wait for. For all of the fanfare that the Tea Party thugs and their peanut gallery shared after the 2010 midterm elections, as soon as they get into office I’m eager to see how many of them settle into the political realities of office and how quickly they do it. How many of them turn on their campaign promises – the same way they’ve accused the people they’ve ousted – and how many of them take money from special interests, how many of them make sad excuses for their own misconduct, and how many of them are caught up in scandals because of their inexperience and ignorance. It’s just a matter of time.
One of those showdowns that I’m waiting to see is this one – a vote coming up on raising the Federal Debt Limit, a process that’s all but required for the government to continue functioning at this level. One that doesn’t imply that the government is borrowing more money or needs to borrow more money, but one that authorizes Congress to exercise their own borrowing power if necessary – something that won’t go over well at all with the Joe Six-Packs whose idea of news is the Drudge Report and what their friends forward to them via email without fact checking it.
From The Daily Beast, which has a great rundown on the scenario:
Rep. John Boehner owes no small part of his imminent promotion to the speaker’s office to the Tea Party, whose support he courted early and often en route to a landslide takeover of the House. But he may lose that support before he’s even begun to wield his new power.
The movement scored one of its first major substantive victories this week, rallying Republican lawmakers against a $1.3 trillion stimulus over its inclusion of $8 billion worth of earmarks—many of which they had proposed themselves.
The coming vote on the debt limit promises to be even more contentious. The federal government will run out of money early next year unless more borrowing is authorized, and even the most extreme budget slashing proposals out there will still means deficits for at least the medium term. A failure to pass the bill could spark a financial crisis, shut down the government, and turn big business against the GOP, making it a must-pass measure. But it’s also a bill that’s easy to demagogue, as the many Republicans who attacked incumbent Democrats for their votes on increasing the debt limit on the campaign trail discovered this year. The Republican caucus voted unanimously against the last increase in the debt ceiling, and a number have already signaled they won’t authorize another once they’re in the majority. After two years of heated rhetoric on the issue, Boehner is already warning conservatives to cool it.
We’ll just have to wait and see whether Speaker Oompah-Loompah will be able to control the dogs in his own yard, but I’m less worried about that – I think it’s inevitable – than I’m curious to hear whether the far-right conservatives who burned effigies, threw racial slurs at black Congressmen and homophobic slurs at others, will be able to hold back their rage when they realize that Washington isn’t at all like their own back-woods, and when they realize that the realities of the political process requires a thought process that’s nothing like the kind of across-the-fence “this is what I would do if I were in Congress” nonsense that most Americans love to ignorantly gab disparagingly about the federal government.
The real test will come again in 2012, when this influx of Tea Partiers will be put under the microscope for their achievements – or rather more likely – their lack thereof.
[ John Boehner's Tea Party Nightmare ]
Source: The Daily Beast