Well that was easy, wasn’t it?
The House of Representatives made the right move on Tuesday by voting to increase the nation’s debt limit and avoiding a showdown with the Senate that would surely generate negative reviews for Republicans and end in an eventual, inevitable Democrat victory.
A motion to raise the debt limit passed the Senate on Wednesday.
The idea of pairing debt limit increases for the country with spending cuts is a sensible one, but it’s unlikely to gain any traction given the hard line President Barack Obama’s administration and congressional Democrats have taken on the subject recently.
The only group that’s vocally upset about the House vote is the tea party, and it should be an object lesson for them in the way politics in this country actually works.
The ease with which House Speaker John Boehner found Republicans willing to vote for the increase is a testament to the way the party’s leadership views its more conservative wing — the tea party is a tool to be used by the Republican bigwigs when it suits them, but it represents such a fraction of the American populace that it can be easily tossed aside when it suits Boehner and his buddies’ political ambitions.
The tea party allowed itself to be co-opted by the GOP, and that will be the death of it. It’s a movement — whether you agree with it or not — that at its inception appeared to have a viable chance of shaking up the two-party power structure in Washington, at the very least. Congress’s polling numbers show that most people feel a little shaking up wouldn’t be a bad thing. But the Congressmen who were elected in the tea party wave in 2010 will be singing a rank-and-file tune soon enough, mark my words.
That’s not necessarily a good thing for the country, but it’s the truth. And this debt ceiling vote proves it.
Michael Gebelein is managing editor of the Lincoln Times-News.