David Harsanyi
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You know what they say; one man's terrorist is another man's democratically elected congressman.

That's just one of the many lessons of the debt ceiling compromise, a deal that heralds a new era of electrifying political rhetoric. Nazis are out. Jihadists are in.

The tea party "acted like terrorists," Joe Biden reportedly said of negotiations. One reasonable New York Times columnist called the tea party the "Hezbollah faction" of the GOP, and the other advised the radicals to "put aside their suicide vests" -- for now. And in a sweeping assault on the tea party, metaphors, syntax and clarity, MSNBC's Chris Matthews packed everything he'd read on the blogs into a glorious globule of rhetorical confusion.

But fret not. Terrorist analogies are welcome when democracy fails to break to the left. Republicans should never refer to the Congressional Progressive Caucus as a bunch of wealth-destroying jihadists who wear suicide vests packed with prosperity-killing stimulus plans. That kind of overheated hyperbole would be catastrophic, leading to violence and/or another alarmist Diane Sawyer television special. But Bob Beckel is just being cute when he discusses the "tea terrorist party" on Fox News. (He later apologized.)

And it turns out that the extremist freshman wing of the Republican Party (which wing isn't extreme, though -- am I right?) voted 59-28 in favor of the bipartisan "sugar-coated Satan sandwich" debt deal. What kind of namby-pamby hostage takers are these people? (Did you know that 95 House Democrats also voted against raising the ceiling? From what we've learned about staggering dangers of fooling around with this policy, we apparently have another 95 nihilists running around D.C.)

If you're wondering why these elected officials, representing their constituents within the system, are the equivalent of terrorists, a Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania bores to the heart of the matter: "This small group of terrorists," Mike Doyle explained, "have made it impossible to spend any money."

Well, damn near impossible. Washington will have to squeeze by on $43,900,000,000,000 over the next decade while wrestling with real cuts that are likely to rise to zero -- or maybe less. If we can't spend money, who are we as a people?

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