The same we-won-the-election-and-elections-have-consequences lefties now cry out for "bipartisanship." Those who cheered the bulldog way that ObamaCare became law now want the resurgent Republicans to "reach across the aisle," "set aside partisan rancor" and "put the country first."
"Watching the extraordinary polarization in Washington today," said CNN host Fareed Zakaria, "many people have pointed the finger at the tea party. It's ideologically extreme, refuses to compromise and cares more about purity than problem solving. I happen to agree with much of that critique. ... Why has the tea party become so prominent? Why is it able to dominate Washington?"
Answer: President Barack Obama created the tea party.
He ran as a left-wing Democrat and proceeded to govern accordingly. For the first two years of his presidency, he enjoyed supermajorities in the House and the Senate. ObamaCare and the first -- and biggest -- "stimulus" got through both houses of Congress with virtually zero Republican support. When Republicans put forward their views on tax policy, Obama reminded them of the election results. "I won," he sniffed.
Fast forward. Voters, in the next election, repudiate the Obama agenda. A majority opposes ObamaCare, and over half of the states' attorneys general sue to overturn it. Polls show that most Americans believe "stimulus" failed or made no difference. Americans reject as hype the apocalyptic "climate change" warnings used to justify massive government "investment" in "green technologies of the future."
The Democrats lose control of the House and their supermajority in the Senate. Republicans receive ideological and financial support from the tea party -- a truly grass-roots, nationwide uprising against the massive two-year expansion of government and the addition of nearly $4 trillion in new debt. Nearly all House and Senate Republicans sign an anti-tax-hike pledge.
Next it's showdown. Why, say Republicans, should Congress raise the debt ceiling and enable the government to borrow yet more money, while doing nothing to deal with the reason it needs to keep doing it? It's about time we had this debate.
Medicare is underfunded, depending upon who does the calculating, by a minimum of $30 trillion. The Social Security "trust fund" now spends more than it takes in. Medicaid, a state and federal poverty program, is for many states their fastest-growing expense.