With some such thought in mind, Speaker John Boehner strode to the floor of the House to offer a "clean" debt ceiling bill and relied on Nancy Pelosi's Democrats to pass it. They did.
"Surrender" and "betrayal," are among the epithets coming the Speaker's way.
Yet Boehner was holding a losing hand. Had he added a GOP wish-list bill to the debt ceiling, Harry Reid's Senate would have rejected it. President Obama would have denounced it as putting at risk the full faith and credit of the United States.
Big Media would have piled on. The markets would have been rattled. The Dow would have begun to swoon. Corporate America, cash cow of the Republican Party, would have begun to howl.
A clamor to pass a clean debt ceiling bill or risk a new recession would have arisen. And the House Republicans would have caved, as they finally had to cave on the budget bill last fall.
Rather than play Lord Raglan and lead his cavalry in another Charge of the Light Brigade, Boehner chose to withdraw to fight another day on another field.
Yet, the Tea Party has a right to feel cheated.
When does the Republican Party, put in power by the Tea Party, plan to honor its commitment to halt the growth of the Federal monolith and bring the budget back into balance? Is there any hope things will be different, should the Tea Party help produce a GOP Senate in 2014?
If the Tea Party is in some despair, is it not understandable?
For while there are countless proposals and plans to cut back on federal spending, from Simpson-Bowles on, it is impossible today to see in either party the political will to do the surgery.
Consider what would be needed to roll back Big Government.
First, the major entitlement programs Medicare and Social Security would have to be peeled back. But any effort to raise the age of eligibility, or reduce the benefits, or trim cost-of-living adjustments, would meet with ferocious resistance, led by the AARP.
Indeed, many Tea Party members are themselves among those enjoying, or about to enjoy, the benefits of these programs. Would they back cuts in either one? Democrats say these programs must be expanded, and they will resist any cuts as fiercely as the Republicans would resist any increase in payroll or income taxes.
Social Security and Medicare recipients number in the scores of millions. Four million Baby Boomers reach eligibility every year now. That is more then 10,000 every day. Is any party, even a GOP that controls the White House and Congress, going to take on this army?
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