"Consider what the towel-snapping Tea Party crazies have already accomplished. They’ve changed the entire discussion. They’ve neutralized the White House. They’ve whipped their leadership into submission. They’ve taken taxes and revenues off the table. They’ve withered the stock and bond markets. They’ve made journalists speak to them as though they’re John Calhoun and Alexander Hamilton.
"Obama and John Boehner have been completely outplayed by the “hobbits,” as The Wall Street Journal and John McCain called them.
"What if this is all a cruel joke on us? What if the people who hate government are good at it and the people who love government are bad at it?"
The above is from Maureen Dowd's column on Sunday, July 31, in the NY Times. I believe it might be about as wrong as is possible. But, note well, that Dowd does two things here that are interesting. First, she disparages the Tea Partiers as extremist crazies who have no interest in governing, even though they are, apparently, interested in re-election. And, second, she lays the blame for the dysfunctional character of our political system on the Tea Party by, among other things, attributing to them so much power that they are controlling the political system right now. Of course, she does this without so much as one piece of evidence, other than her own assertions, that this power exists. And, as a result, she makes it seem as if Obama, especially Obama, is being manhandled by these "hobbits" and not playing his own game. The same could be said of Boehner as well. So it is the insurgents, not the establishment types in the two parties, who are like the Mafia, holding a gun to our "heads" and demanding payment, say, payment in lieu of taxes.
Let me just say that I am, at the very least, skeptical of this analysis. Dowd is, apparently, unaware that in the past there have been insurgencies that have threatened the power of the powers that be in the two political parties. And in the past, in almost every instance, the powers that be have prevailed. Usually they have prevailed by making the insurgents look like the extremists Dowd thinks the Tea Partiers are, and by making their politics look extremist and, hence, dangerous to the common good. Apparently, Dowd has forgotten that when Newt Gingrich led an insurgency in 1996, the powers that be allowed the government to "shut down" and, eventually, Newt's "revolution" was history, as was Newt himself.
I believe that this is what is going on now: The powers that be in the two parties are not afraid of "a default" and are especially not afraid of one that can be laid at the doorstep of the Tea Party types. Why? Well, because (a) they know that "default" is larging a chimera and (b) a default or even a near default [that is, one avoided by the action of the "moderates"] attributed to the Tea Partiers will fortify their power and lead to the punishment of the insurgents, thereby restoring the status quo. And, of course, everyone will breath a sigh of relief and forget that the status quo is less than desirable. And soon we will all wonder again why it is that our political system seems unable to respond responsibly to pressing issues.