Sunday, July 31, 2011

Democrats May Have Just Snatched Victory from Defeat

24 hours ago, I thought Republicans had dropped any blame for default squarely in the laps of the Democrats. Democrats are better at playing chicken, though. The "compromise" being discussed tonight is a big pile of chicken poop, but likely necessary to forestall default now that it is out there. But Democrats understood a very important strategic fact. They can afford to piss off their supporters. The GOP cannot afford to piss off the Tea Party.

The Tea Party is full of Washington veterans, but its life blood is the passionate, relative newbies who lean towards Republicans because of shared values, but who expect the GOP to toe their line. They state a willingness to go to war against any Republican who doesn't toe that line. And they didn't get what they wanted in this deal.

This could have a two-fold effect. First, it is going to turn Tea Party rage right of center. Oh, they won't be anymore supportive of Obama, Reid, Pelosi, et al. And they'll still fight hard to unseat Obama. But this will split their rage. There will be some cannibalism towards individuals on the right. And that split focus is precisely what Obama needs. If the Tea Party has a singular, laser-like focus on him in the coming year, he is in trouble. But if they are sniping at the right, too, that's just enough to give him some wiggle room and to sew together a narrative to use against the Republican candidate.

Second, this might end up being the shatter point for the Tea Party. Like the Republican Revolution of the mid-1990's eventually experienced, this is a point where the realists, the idealists, the self interested, and the national interest types all move in different directions and shear the movement apart.

There is still time, and I acknowledge that I could completely misunderstand the Tea Party. But the GOP is going to be hard pressed to pull a better deal from the fire at this point.

No comments: