JP, you invited me to respond to your blog and the blog by Richard (RJ) Eskow entitled, “Bill Clinton, Boehner, And Some Other Rich White Guys Had A "Summit" And Agreed: It’s Your Fault.” So I read his blog. I had to track down information about what was this “Fiscal Summit,” since neither of your blogs gave much nonpartisan information about it.
I don’t say this to complain, but it leads to two points: (1) the public at large is likely to be like me, uninformed about activities such as this Summit. And, (2) partisan reaction with scant reference to the facts, which is the stock and trade of most blogs, admittedly, is part of the problem.
I mean, what do you expect when these professional party leaders get in the same room, with the current state of politics? Were you imagining John Boehner or Tim Geithner to say, “Gee, with my colleagues out of earshot, I can give up my allegiance, and say something about compromise and practical, from the heart.”? Of course not. This Summit was obscure enough for a guy like me to not take much notice, but a big enough deal that political hacks can listen in, react, and say, ‘Why didn’t things go my way?’ In the big picture, this Summit was business as usual, and mostly an excuse for someone to say they are trying, and they get a nice meal out of it.
I say Eskow’s blog, and therefore yours are attempts to wish those old white guys would give in and lean in your direction. I know you know better, but I think efforts are better placed elsewhere.
And that leads me to reaction about the recent success of the Tea Party in Nebraska and Indiana. You are right; rumors of the Tea Party’s demise are premature. The rubber will truly meet the road, though, when general elections happen. It is the voice of all the people that matter, and the 3 trillion dollar question is, ‘Are there more moderate, independent, intelligent voters than there are Tea Party crazies? And who will actually show up at the polls?’ I pray there are more, and they will be motivated to get out.
I do have one (I think only one) thing in common with these Tea Partiers, and that is a desire for real action. I am not in favor of “no compromise.” I am not in favor of throwing out entire government departments, starving the government beast, or piling more privileges on our gilded class overlords. I would submit, though, that membership in the Tea Party will decrease in proportion to the public’s sense that our government is actually capable of action and meaningful attempts to deal with unemployment AND the deficit. I think there is a fine line between having an informed opinion and complaining. Empty negativity just leads to extremism. And I can heap that label on the both the Occupiers and the Tea Party. (Not yet on you, JP.) Let’s do better than inflaming the voters. We do have some workable plans out there: Glass Steagall, the Volker Rule, Dobbs-Frank, and previous compromises. While far from perfect, they are the best available means to a starting point.
I truly think that the most meaningful thing the public can do – and I mean every voter – is to wake up and get informed, and vote.