If you’ve seen headlines on newspapers recently or watched many media reports you’d think that the Tea Party won the debt ceiling deal. And with so many people in both parties expressing anger and dissatisfaction towards them, you’d think the media was right. John McCain referred to the Tea Party as “hobbits” and Joe Biden compared them to terrorists. Peter Beinart wrote an article for The Daily Beast entitled, “How the Tea Party Won the Deal,” in which he claims the Tea Party is running Washington.
Despite his incorrect assertion, he does provide a number of surprisingly accurate narratives of the Tea Party’s goals. Where he goes wrong is with his claim that “Given the era of fiscal scarcity we’re now entering, those neocon and progressive dreams are now likely dead for many years to come. Meanwhile, the Tea Party’s dream of a government reduced to its pre-welfare-state size becomes ever real.” Despite the Tea Party’s best effort, the welfare state is alive and well and we still have well over 750 military bases in 150 countries; and this debt deal does virtually nothing to correct those situations.
The Republican party went for the debt deal because it got some cuts and served as a way to put pressure on Obama, and because they were afraid they’d get blamed in the event of no compromise being reached. As frustrated as I get with their timidity, they are correct in their fear of getting blamed. A Pew Research Poll found that 42% would blame Republicans if no debt deal were reached; the irony is that the vast majority of the public agrees with their solution, a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. This shows the power of the liberal media bias.
The Democratic party supported the debt deal because the cuts involved in the deal are minuscule, they were losing on their opposition to a balanced budget amendment, and the deal opens the door for tax increases and military budget cuts.
So let’s take a closer look at the media narrative that the Tea Party won on the debt ceiling deal. The Tea Party wanted serious cuts and a balanced budget amendment; they got neither. The Tea Party-leaning Republicans overwhelmingly opposed the deal. Nineteen Senate Republicans and 66 House Republicans voted no on the deal. So if the Tea Party supposedly won in the debt ceiling deal and is running Washington, why would they oppose the measure? If you were to ask this of a member of the media elite, I imagine they’d be at a loss for words and eventually conclude that it’s because the Tea Party is bipolar.
The debt ceiling deal was so limited in terms of its cuts that the credit rating agency Moody’s actually changed their outlook on our debt to “negative” and still are considering downgrading us unless further cuts occur. A downgrade would be so catastrophic to our nation that its effects deserve its own article. When and if that will happen is impossible to predict; but the timing could conveniently occur in the next president’s term. But, if in the event it happens, one thing is clear. The debt ceiling deal’s lack of serious cuts is to blame, and because the media declared the Tea Party as the winner, the patsy is in place.
The media has tried to place blame on the Tea Party numerous times in the past, most recently when Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was shot earlier this year. Before any details were confirmed, one thing was clear: it was a right-wing extremist tea partier. That is, until it wasn’t. Jared Loughner was a crazy person whose friends thought he was liberal, probably because he read books by Adolf Hitler and Karl Marx. Last year, when a man flew his plane into an IRS building, before the details came out it was obviously a Tea Partier then too. This was until it was discovered that he hated capitalism, Republicans, the Pope, and George W. Bush, and quoted Karl Marx in his suicide letter.
You may also remember in 2010 when a Democratic congressman claimed a Tea Partier spit on him as he walked with then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi through a crowd on the way to vote for the Obamacare bill. The media was certain this occurred and widely reported it, but their story was missing one crucial element: any evidence of the incident taking place. Every network had cameras on Pelosi and company and none of them captured it. Conservative media critic Andrew Breitbart has offered $10,000 to anyone who can prove the congressman was spit on, and not surprisingly, no one has been able to prove it.
When the media establishes a narrative, the facts don’t always matter, and the fix is usually in. I pray that our debt doesn’t get downgraded, but if it does, don’t be surprised if the Tea Party gets the blame. When it comes to the media’s treatment of the Tea Party, its safe to say that they seem to use the “throw everything at a wall and see what sticks” method, hoping desperately that one day they’ll be able to pin something solid on them. They haven’t yet, but not for lack of trying. But until they are able to, they’ll just keep trying, knowing that the worst-case scenario is that they defame people they don’t like and slowly and deceptively turn public opinion against them. And they’ll continue this, resting assured that the only possible backlash against them is that the people who already don’t trust the media will continue to distrust them.