Am I the only one who grew quite tired of seeing John Kerry this weekend on the MSM talk show circuit deriding the Tea Party and what he is proffering as their responsibility for the S&P action Friday? “This is without a doubt a Tea Party downgrade,” he fumed on Meet The Press. The common narrative being offered by Mr. Kerry et. al. is that the right-wing GOP held the prospect of not raising the debt ceiling–thus forcing a default–like a gun to the head of a hostage government. They then defiantly maintained their ideological rigidity by rejecting any revenue increases as part of the debt compromise. Faced with the Scylla of spending cuts with no tax hike but the necessary debt ceiling increase, or the Charybdis of a default and potential ruin, the Democrats caved and the GOP won a pyrrhic victory while irresponsibly selling the nation’s future down the river to inevitable downgrade.
To all of the 63,239,109 citizens who voted against Kerry’s bid to be president in 2004, I thank you. One weekend of this man was bad enough. Only one driven by blind partisanship could blame the Tea Party for a downgrade that was, as economics professor Steve Horowitz rightly pointed out: “50 to 75 years in the making. Us spending beyond our means, trying to do things we simply can’t do, and not having the revenues to support that spending. Spending that just shouldn’t be there in the first place.” Indeed, the moment the New Deal kicked in, the clock started ticking. S&P’s message was clear. Welfare statism, the kind of pay-as-you go ponzi schemes masked as social safety nets that John Kerry pines for, is a fool’s bargain. Ask Europe.
How dare Kerry deride representatives for following through with their commitments to their electorate? The sweep of the House for the GOP in 2010 was as clear a mandate as can be offered by the American public that the reckless spending had to stop–a mandate to which the Tea Party representatives especially remained faithful. They were sent to Washington to stop the out-of-control spending bus cold. The entrenched interests like Kerry wanted the bus to continue heading off the cliff at 60 mph. Yet, because the Tea Partiers did not want to “compromise” and slow the bus down to 30 mph they were labeled “extremists.” They understand what Europe is learning. The nanny state experiment that has lasted for a mere three generations is already collapsing under the weight of mathematics as so cleverly encapsulated in Margaret Thatcher’s famous quote…”you eventually run out of other people’s money.”
Only in Washington and the liberal media would the desire to halt clearly reckless spending and head off crippling deficits down the road through fiscal discipline rather than more public confiscation be labeled “extreme.” It just shows how dependent large segments of the population, and the politicians who serve them so they may continue to serve themselves, have become on the ever-expanding big government model…as good a reason as any to put the breaks it once and for all, before it takes us all over the edge.
Still, with such obvious peril before us, how is it we cannot move forward constructively? One clue is the make-up of Congress itself. As so astutely noted by astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson on Bill Maher’s Real Time of all places, 57% of senators and 38% of House members cite “law” as their profession. Much of our governing body has been trained not to run organizations, as in business, or solve problems, as in the physical sciences, but rather to win arguments…often regardless of the facts. It’s like a debate team where you do not know if you are on the pro or the con position of the issue at hand until you are assigned and then must argue accordingly. This is why senators Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Harry Reid, and, ahem, John Kerry (all attorneys) could vote against an increase in the debt ceiling in 2006 and then so deftly turn a semi-circle and demonize those same votes cast by some on the GOP just five years later. Their clarion calls of GOP “hostage-taking” of the debt ceiling debate today is nothing short of bare-naked hypocrisy, and they know it.
When freshman senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) made this very point on the Senate floor, he was challenged by John Kerry himself, who offered revealing words to the effect that, well, those prominent Democrats knew their votes didn’t matter so we shouldn’t pay too much attention. Their votes were “symbolic” he said. But what if their votes had mattered? What if one of the 48 Democrats who voted against raising the debt ceiling then had to actually cast the deciding vote? What if, asked Rubio, senator Obama–or Kerry for that matter–had had his way? I wonder, would he have still voted to freeze the debt ceiling? That’s rather “extreme” is it not?
John Kerry is the poster-child for why Washington has fallen down the rabbit hole. He is the richest man in Congress; he made his money the old-fashioned way…he married it. He is a man who’s been on Capitol Hill since I was in high school. Kerry is so deeply immersed in the game of politics, so detached from the real world we live in, that he is astoundingly blind to just how cynical his “this-is-the-way-it’s-done-in-this-town” logic of his reply to Rubio looks to the rest of us…or to a freshman senator who came there to do something more than be something. Either raising the debt limit shows a lack of leadership (Democrats 2006) or it’s economic statesmanship (Democrats 2011). It cannot be both. Games, games, and more games. Enough already!
Even with all this said, to my knowledge no one on Meet The Press even bothered to point out to the incensed Kerry that 95 Democrats in the House voted against raising the debt ceiling versus 66 Republicans, and 29 Democratic senators also opposed it. Maybe next time.
A final thought: To those immersed in government this demand for deeper cuts reeks of stubborn, even dangerous naiveté. But this is not an empty platitude for we in the private sector must live this paradigm every day. When you run a business and deal with a closed system of revenues that cannot be raised on a whim through either taxation or the printing press, you have to look at the spending side of the ledger. One would be amazed at how creative he/she can be, how suddenly unnecessary once untouchable expenditures become, when one’s back is to the wall. That is the experience that running a business can provide–experience that all too few in Washington have. Sure, sometimes the cuts you make, be they salaries, personnel, supplies, downsizing, shelving expansion plans, etc. hurt bad. But that is the discipline that only true capitalism (not too-big-to-fail cronyism) imposes upon its participants. In our world, the decisions one makes have a real impact on his/her organization; thus do they require far more courage and integrity than do merely casting “symbolic” votes to cynically advance a political career. If this type of real courage is now defined as “extremism” then I’ll trust my country’s future to a Tea Party extremist over a five-term Massachusetts idle rich “statesman” any day.