Senate majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) has brought the Tea Party to its knees once again. He beat Sharon Angle, a TP favorite, for his Senate seat in Nevada just a year ago, and now he backed House Speaker John Boehner, backed by radical TPers, into a corner on the payroll tax bill until they had to lose face and give in to what had been the right thing to do all along. The only upside to this whole bizarre episode is that the American public is finally seeing the real color of these right wing fanatics.
President Barack Obama signed the two-month extension of the payroll tax cut this past Friday, a victory for himself over a Tea Party that has targeted the President since its inception and his inauguration. Independents and moderate Republicans should view this as an example of how Democrats and progressives in general can champion tax cuts. Also included in the bill are a continuation in jobless benefits and a delay in decreased Medicare payments to doctors that could seriously affect Seniors.
Apparently Boehner, who was originally in favor of passing the two-month deal worked out by Senate Democrats and Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, caved to the TP lunatics led by head maniac Eric Cantor (R-VA) House Majority Leader. Some have even questioned whether it is Cantor or Boehner leading the House, and if it’s Cantor, then, up until last Friday the Tea Party had definitely been in control.
Political analysts view this defeat and turmoil leading up to the showdown as significantly hurting the GOP in their backbone Republican philosophy of tax cuts at any cost. It clearly shows that when it comes to the wealthy, there is absolutely no concession on taxes, but they are willing to sacrifice the middle-class and lower income groups on the basis of demanding a year’s extension over the two-months that was finally passed.
Jon Summers, who was instrumental in Reid’s win over Angle, thinks that things will go much the same way at the end of the two-month extension as it did last Friday. Democrats are on a roll and they will get what they want in February of 2012. Harry Reid has already predicted that the Tea Party, spawned in hard times, will just fade away as the economy improves. In the second phase of the payroll tax cut fight, even more damage could be done to the GOP by TPers that place extreme right ideology over their country.
If you want to know who to blame, you can take a look at the list of Tea Party caucus members here, led by presidential hopeful (?) Michele Bachmann, along with some other good info on the group by Wikipedia. The list is a blueprint of House representatives and Senate members, some of which are running for office in 2012, that we progressives want to give the boot. This is also the gang
that is apparently enraged at John Boehner after caving to Democrats last Friday.
When Congress reconvenes in January and the fireworks start, it will be interesting to see who is on the offensive and who is on the defensive. If the Democrats and all progressives alike don’t take advantage of their current momentum to slay the ultra conservative dragon, the elections of 2012 could well be a complete toss up.