Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sometimes Everyone Loses

I win, you lose. Right?


The mainstream press (and many in the conservative alternative media) have declared victory for the Tea Party in the unpopular debt limit deal.

Try telling that to the Tea Party:
While pundits across the political spectrum tout the debt deal as a win for the Tea Party and as progressives betray their frustration at Tea Party principles with appalling, anything-but-civil rhetoric, Tea Partiers themselves confess themselves displeased with the debt accord that took such an agonizingly long period of non-productivity to reach:

In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken hours after the Senate passed and President Obama signed the deal, a 46% plurality disapprove of the agreement; 39% approve. Only one in five see it as a “step forward” in addressing the federal debt. …

The poll finds some paradoxes.

Though Tea Party conservatives succeeded in setting the parameters of the debate, supporters of the Tea Party are among those most unhappy with the outcome. Only 22% of Tea Party supporters approve of the deal, compared with 26% of Republicans generally and 58% of Democrats.
Rasmussen's numbers are even worse:
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 22% of Likely Voters nationwide approve of the agreement while 53% disapprove. Twenty-six percent (26%) are not sure...

Republicans and unaffiliated voters disapproved by a 4-to-1 margin. Democrats are fairly evenly divided with 34% favoring the deal and 40% opposed.
I can see why the partisan "Journolist" activists of the mainstream media want to assign victory to the tea party. It's a rotten deal, and American voters recognize it as a bad deal. So blame it on the Tea Party ― a big win for the diabolical racist jihad!

Unfortunately, a number of moderate conservatives echo the mainstream media in declaring Tea Party victory:
Understandably, most Tea Party activists see this as business as usual and not the kind of transformative, instant change they envisioned. But just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, it will take much more than one vote or one budget to build the kind of limited, fiscally responsible America that these activists desire. The expansion of the federal government has gone on for decades, and it will take many battles and victories, small and large, to reverse it. This is a long journey, and the Tea Party helped push the nation into taking a step in the right direction.
Incremental improvement is great ― when you have plenty of time to correct the problem. But do we have that luxury? I'm not convinced that we do. Moreover, I'm not sure that the debt limit deal represents incremental progress from the Tea Party perspective.

Here's how "Senator Tea Party," Jim DeMint (R-SC) sees it:
“This debt deal puts America at risk and does nothing to solve our spending crisis,” said Senator DeMint, “We haven’t changed direction in Washington. We’re just tapping the brakes as we speed toward a fiscal cliff.

“The President will now be responsible for nearly $6 trillion in new debt in just four years in office, more than any other president before him. The President’s reckless spending policies have made things worse, leaving our economy in shambles and Americans with less hope for the future. To grow the economy, we must stop growing government.

“This bill doesn’t cut the debt; it will add about $7 trillion in new debt over the next ten years on the backs of our children and grandchildren. This bill doesn’t stop deficit spending; it locks in trillion dollar spending deficits for years to come. This bill doesn’t stop tax hikes; Republicans and Democrats are already promising to consider job destroying tax hikes in this new Super Committee. This bill doesn’t protect our nation; it puts national security at risk with unbalanced cuts to funding our troops in the field count on. This bill doesn’t guarantee our AAA rating; it puts it at further risk as the world sees Washington as incapable of cutting wasteful spending.”
The bottom line: This was a bad deal for everyone. Conservatives don't like it, liberals don't like it, the Tea Party doesn't like it and America doesn't like it.

This was a poorly negotiated deal with unsurprisingly unpopular results.

Everyone lost.

  • Poll: Thumbs down on the debt-ceiling deal ... Americans (by more than 2-1) predict it will make the nation's fragile economy worse rather than better.
  • Reaganite Republican: GOP Presidential candidates catching up with the rest of us.

Discussion: Memeorandum

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