Enid News and Eagle
That is the new mantra of the Democratic left when describing the group in the Republican Party who identify with the grassroots movement known as the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party.
Esteemed VP Joe Biden apparently used the word the other day during debt ceiling negotiations. Now, it is has been picked up by many Democratic lawmakers and also their blogging supporters.
What a load of bull manure. It's just another level of insults thrown at this group of people who got involved in government primarily because they are concerned about the nation's economic future.
And even though this debt ceiling deal falls far short of what the Tea Party Republicans and their supporters want, and it definitely falls short of what the Liberal Left Democrats and their supporters want, it is a shameful for those who didn’t get their way to call the committed fiscal conservatives in Congress “terrorists.”
Are these fiscal conservatives extreme in their views regarding cutting government spending? Although I consider myself a fiscal conservative, I will admit that I think some of their tactics display a great deal of bullheadedness and naiveté.
Many of these so-called Tea Party Republicans haven’t served on a legislative level in any form, such as school board, city councilman or state representative. If you haven’t served in that capacity, you certainly have a set of ideas about how things “ought to be done.”
Yet, when you actually get into a government policy-making role, you often get a quick education on regulations, bureaucratic rules and factors you never even knew existed before. Ask any city council member if he or she really had any idea of everything that goes into making a budget decision or a policy decision.
These Tea Party Republicans have come in with a mandate to their constituents, and that mandate was to get government spending under control. The 2010 federal elections were all about voters’ fears of an overwhelming debt and the loss of our country’s economic viability.
This debt ceiling debate provided an opportunity for both political parties to try to leverage their agendas. President Barack Obama and his supporters tried to leverage it as a way to invoke fear into the many Americans who depend on entitlements and to try to call for a tax increase. The Republicans, and particularly their staunchest fiscal conservative wing, used the debt ceiling to force Congress to start taking seriously the need to gain control of government spending and to start reducing the massive spending spree we’ve been on, really since 2003 when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began.
Common sense still rules the day, and common sense demands that people be fiscally responsible, and that includes our government. No matter the demand for government services or the well intentions that go into many government programs, at the end of the day, you can’t continue to spend money you don’t have.
Regular people in the private sector can’t indefinitely spend money they don’t have. The government can’t do it, either, and that fact was brought home with the threats by credit agencies to downgrade the United States’ credit worthiness.
This debt ceiling debate is the first of what has to be a very long and difficult conversation our lawmakers, indeed our entire country, must have regarding government spending and government services. Most of the easy choices have already been made. Only the hard choices remain, and they are many.
The Tea Party folks aren’t terrorists, and to use that term shows a level of desperation. They may be idealists, and in government, that doesn’t get you very far for very long. These new representatives still have a lot to learn about the realities of making tough decisions that affect real people.
These new freshmen just went through their first rodeo. It will be interesting to see what they learned from it.
Cindy Allen is editor of the Enid News & Eagle. She can be reached at 548-8163 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.