A divided Republican Party saw its most fiscally-reasonable, most libertarian wing understandably frustrated by the increase in the debt ceiling. Unlike the rest of Congress and most of the press, the Tea Party folks can do math. Yet you’d think from the howling on the left that Ron Paul had already won the 2012 election.
The left’s pain is not perfectly proportional to the wellbeing of the nation, though if it were, this Weimar-worthy quote from Paul Krugman would be an indicator that the debt ceiling agreement is a fantastic one:
What Republicans have just gotten away with calls our whole system of government into question. After all, how can American democracy work if whichever party is most prepared to be ruthless, to threaten the nation’s economic security, gets to dictate policy? And the answer is, maybe it can’t.
Krugman has become Kent Brockman, who said: “I've said it before, and I’ll say it again: Democracy simply doesn’t work.”
(At least the debt ceiling increase went through without killing tens of thousands of ducks, though.)
As for the recurring and pointless charge that many Republicans failed to notice the massive national debt until recently and therefore – what, exactly? Must not speak of it now or ever? Let the record show that I, for one, have been freaking out for over two decades now about the size and expense of government – even writing an article calling Bush a socialist all of one year into his administration (and at the peak of his post-9/11 popularity).
And still I recently had a (relatively new) leftist friend ever so briefly accuse me (or merely my kind – it was unclear) of suddenly worrying about big government now that a black man is at its head. Let’s put it this way: I would be happy to replace him withThomas Sowell. (Depending on how things go, I may even end up voting to replace him with Herman Cain.) In any case, I worry about government whether it rears its monstrous head in Albania or Zimbabwe, which is one reason I don’t normally take much note of ethnicity.
But even if we’re talking about my fellow Tea Partiers instead of just me: in answer to the question “Where were all these Tea Partiers five years ago when Bush was spending so much money?” I’m sure it varies, but how about: Starting to worry? Distracted by other issues? Naively hoping Bush wouldn’t screw them over? In some cases, even angrier then than they are now because they have since gone on anti-depressants? DOES IT REALLY MATTER?
People are misreading the Tea Party-era fervor badly (which is hardly a surprise) if they really think it’s going to go away just because, say, a white guy starts presiding over 10% unemployment rates and a $15 trillion+ debt in a year and a half. Hopefully, all the GOP presidential candidates are well aware of that fact.
But if your concern, leftists, is that fiscal conservatives be consistent, we all know there is at least one presidential candidate radical enough to avoid being just another Bush/Obama clone – and that’s Ron Paul. He – and Bachmann, I should say – voted against “Cut, Cap, and Balance” not because they wanted something more like the Obama or Reid plan but because they do not think the debt ceiling should be raised under any circumstances.
I was wrong initially in thinking that their intransigence could accomplish nothing – though I never called them hobbits for their stubbornness. Theirs is the kind of parameters-resetting line in the sand against borrowing/spending that we need – I’d say “the kind of well-defined ceiling we need,” but you see how little that means.