The tea party's terrorist tactics
As we stumble closer to Aug. 2, it has become clear that many in the tea party are willing to inflict massive harm on the American people to obtain their political objective of a severely shrunken federal government. Their persistence in rejecting compromise, even as the economic effects of the phony crisis they have created mount, has taken their radicalism beyond tough negotiating, beyond even hostage-taking.
As markets fall in anticipation that there may not be a timely resolution; as credit agencies issue dire warnings that the U.S. political system has become so dysfunctional that a credit downgrade may be inevitable, and as America looks weakened in the eyes of the world, the tea party’s hostage-taking has evolved into the intentional infliction of harm on innocent Americans to achieve a political objective – terrorism.
Terrorism is a tough term, but, unfortunately, it describes tea party tactics precisely.
Even in the absence of default, credit agencies would almost surely downgrade our credit worthiness, producing increases in interest rates that would slow the economy, increase unemployment and force families into foreclosure and bankruptcy.
As the markets dropped, families would watch their retirement and education savings and their dreams disappear.
Rather than reject the unthinkable, the tea party harnessed this potential harm as its weapon of mass destruction.
The challenge for America is to stand firm in the face of terrorism, no matter the source.
So now we have Fareed Zakaria saying that teabag members of Congress will "blow up the country" if they don't get their way, and even Politico is getting nervous.
The press has no one to blame but itself for the inflated importance of a relatively small group of extremists. From the day Rick Santelli ranted on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, the 24-hour cable news cycle has treated a fringe bunch of lunatics as The Next Big Exciting Thing. Even Chris Matthews had a thrill of orange pekoe going up his leg at the thought of a big noisy even faux-populist effort. In Congress, the Not Quite So Insane caucus thought they could control the lunatic froth-mouthed minions that spout nonsense and are taken seriously by the frightened the the stupid. But the monster has been unleashed, and there may be no stopping it. It is a small monster, to be sure, but it is fierce and it has already caused much trepidation among the townspeople, who are too dispirited and confused now to go after it with pitchforks and torches and tar and feathers.