Vice President Joe Biden may or may not have concurred with some disgruntled Democratic politicians that in the negotiations over the debt ceiling, the Tea Party Republicans acted like “terrorists.”
But what critics of the Baggers’ methods were pointing to was well described by Fareed Zakaria:
‘ the Tea Party is trying to pass a particular agenda, which is basically this all-cuts budget. It cannot get it through the Congress of the United States. It cannot get it through the political democratic process that we have, which is that Congress passes something and the president must sign it. That’s the normal workings of democracy.
So, instead of accepting some compromise that can get through the democratic process, what they’re saying is we’ll blow up the country if you don’t listen to us. We’ll hold hostage the credit of the United States, the good standing of the United States and we’ll blow it up…
I think they don’t understand the workings of democracy. They have not been elected as dictators of the United States. They have been elected to one house in one branch of the American government. The only way you can translate your wishes into public policy in America is if you can convince your branch and the other one, the Senate and the White House, to go along with it.
If you can’t, you’ve got to figure out amongst yourself what you can agree on. This is why it is fundamentally anti-democratic –”counterconstitutional” in the words of Charles Krauthammer – to be trying to do this. It’s just an extraordinary act of hostage-taking on the part of the Tea Party. It is holding the country hostage.
And it has already damaged the good standing of the United States…’
Democratic politics is the art of negotiation and compromise. Taking the credit rating of the United States of America and its ability to meet its obligations hostage in order to force through a minority agenda is at the least a form of political coercion and an attempted minority coup.