Politics above Country–the tea party way
Eric Cantor (R-Va) apparently had much more of a hand in the debt ceiling debacle than we thought. Just 10 days after the freshman class of the Congress was inaugurated, Cantor and the frosh booked it up to Baltimore Harbor for a retreat. (retreat from what? to days of work?) and he told them how things were going to be. All dewy eyed and excited about their new job, the frosh now had a way to fulfill their campaign promises.
According to the Washington Post, it went down something like this?
A vote to increase the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit was coming soon, he told the caucus members who had gathered at the Marriott in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor for a closed-door retreat less than 10 days after taking power. Think of it as a “hidden” opportunity, he implored them, a chance to achieve their goal of reining in the federal government and its spending habits.
“I’m asking you to look at a potential increase in the debt limit as a leverage moment when the White House and President Obama will have to deal with us,” said Cantor, one of several new House leaders who detailed the game plan for the coming months. “Either we stick together and demonstrate that we’re a team that will fight for and stand by our principles, or we will lose that leverage.
With everyone, especially the 87 GOP newcomers all revving their engine, the plan was in place–the plan to take the country to the brink of potential disaster, again. This time, that disaster resembled a default on our debt.
The newcomers took Cantor seriously when he urged them in January to see the debt ceiling as leverage. Democrats called the GOP irresponsible for gambling with the economy and the nation’s flawless credit. Republicans countered that an epic clash over the debt limit was inevitable, given the outcome of the election and widespread anger with runaway government spending.
Meanwhile, President Obama put too much stock in human nature, it seems. He felt confident that Rep. John Boehner would honor his commitments and that no one would want to see the United States of America go in to default. During an interview with the president, after the Bush tax cuts had been extended, the fo;llowing exchange took place:
At a Dec. 7 news conference to announce the tax deal, which included an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, a reporter asked Obama why the debt limit hadn’t been addressed. It would seem, the reporter said, that the Republicans will “have a significant amount of leverage over the White House now.”
Obama responded, “When you say significant leverage . . . what do you mean?”
The reporter said the GOP might refuse to raise the debt ceiling unless Obama signed off on spending cuts “that probably go deeper and further than you’re willing to do.”
Obama directed his answer at the GOP leadership. “Look, here’s my expectation,” he said. “I’ll take John Boehner at his word — that nobody, Democrat or Republican, is willing to see the full faith and credit of the United States government collapse. . . . Once John Boehner is sworn in as speaker, then he’s going to have responsibilities to govern. You can’t just stand on the sidelines and be a bomb thrower.”
Apparently President Obama counted on a few people having the best interest of the country at heart, rather than partisan politics. The bomb throwers arrived in another form. The local tea party groups started threatening those representatives to hold the line.
Many of the tea party bosses back home warned their representatives. Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots issued a severe warning to her group saying:
…that her group would recruit candidates to challenge any GOP lawmakers who wavered on the debt limit. Her threat revolved around a new verb that had begun to crop up in tea party circles. “I think we are going to see people who are ‘primaried’ next year,” she said.
Thus, primary becomes a verb. Apparently the threat to run the freshman class out of office after serving one term for was enough of a threat to some of them so hold the line they did, regardless of what happened to the country as a consequence of such foolish actions.
A more sinister picture entered the scene–the lobby for the hedge fund managers. The WaPo reports:
A similar message also came, in a quieter way, from the trade groups for the nation’s hedge funds and private equity firms. Their members had billions at stake, thanks to a White House proposal that would raise some tax revenue at their expense. As the July home stretch arrived, they had already spent $4.2 million on lobbying expenses for the year.
Those are some powerful lobby bills. I had wondered why all the middle class tea party people were so protective of the very rich. There’s my answer right there. The hedge fund managers had a huge stake in the negotiations over the debt ceiling and they had thrown down the marching orders.
The rest is history and can be read in full at the Washington Post. Apparently winning and politics is more important than country. The tea parties have demonstrated that in this debt ceiling debacle. Meanwhile, let us not forget that Mrs. Canter has close connections to the financial world. I wonder what would would happen if someone started connecting the dots? How political would we see things get with with hedge funds, etc?
Republicans consider their achievement a win-win. Apparently the stock market and the S & P folks saw things a little different. The stock market has lost about 10% in the past 10 days and the S & P downgraded our national credit rating. If that is winning for America, I would hate to see losing.