CNN Still Pretending the 'Tea Party' is Not Just the Extreme Right Wing of the Republican Party
While I do not disagree with any of the points that CNN's Fareed Zakaria made to Anderson Cooper after seeing the turn that this debt ceiling hostage taking has taken with the extreme level of obstruction by these so-called "tea party" freshmen in the House of Representatives and as Zakaria pointed out, their refusal to do any negotiating at all during this debacle. But what both of them failed to point out here is that there is no "tea party." It's the extreme right wing of the Republican base.
It's a drummed up astroturf movement sponsored by corporate America that is not only one of Fox's making, but CNN's as well. I don't believe for one minute that any of these right wing Republicans actually believe that it's not necessary to raise the debt ceiling. I also don't believe that any of them are too naive to realize what kind of dangerous game they're playing with our economy. I don't believe they're acting out of ideological purity. I think they're willing to play bad cop to push the Overton window even further to the right so that the rest of them can jam through right wing policies that would otherwise be completely unacceptable to the electorate in the name of a fake, drummed up emergency.
It's shock doctrine and the "tea party" is playing their part as the useful idiots. And our media continues to pretend that they're some grass roots movement that is just beholden to some ideological purity and not just the extreme right of the Republican Party who is helping them to achieve their goal of destroying our social safety nets, which Republicans have hated ever since they've been enacted. And they're doing corporate America's bidding with helping to turn us into a third world country where we have no middle class left. That's their goal. They're not crazy. They're bought and sold.
CNN helped to create this monster. Now we've got Zakaria and Cooper bemoaning how undemocratic they're behaving with Zakaria saying the president should invoke the 14th Amendment and end this nonsense. I don't disagree with him there either, but maybe if CNN was not playing cheer leader for these posers we would not be in the mess we are now with these right wing extremists dominating our House of Representatives and with having the power to threaten the United States' and the rest of the world's economy with their hostage taking during this kabuki theater.
Here's the transcript from CNN. Every time they say the words "tea party", substitute far right wing Republicans and maybe we'd have a halfway honest discussion going on here with where we are now, but one that still ignores CNN's willingness to prop these wingnuts and their "movement" up in the first place. One that they're still being dishonest about here.
COOPER: We'll talk about this with our panelists coming up later on the program. As we said, the Boehner bill passed by narrow margin, 218-210 and only after the speaker spent the day rounding support from Tea Party conservatives.
Fareed Zakaria, host of "GPS" and editorial at large at "TIME" magazine joins us now on the telephone.
Fareed, you say the Tea Party is anti-democratic at this point. And you talked about the polarization that is occurring. How can you that -- how do you mean that they're anti-democratic?
FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" (via telephone): Well, Anderson, if you think about what's going on, the Tea Party is trying to pass a particular agenda, which is basically a balanced budget or, you know, 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.
Now, that is why even Charles Krauthammer, columnist for "The Washington Post," fire-breathing conservative urged today in his column in "The Washington Post" not to go down this path because he called it counter constitutional. In other words, they are not acting in the way that constitutional democracy expects you to act. You are meant to respect the Democratic process. You try your best to convince to get a majority in the House, a majority in the Senate and the president to sign it.
But if you control just one of those three branches of government, you can't hijack the entire system and say I'm going to blow the country up unless you listen to me.
COOPER: Well, Fareed, they're saying though that --
ZAKARIA: They have only won one election to one house once.
COOPER: They're saying they're not holding anybody hostage. They're saying, look, this is what we said we would do to get elected. We've been elected. This is what people elected us to do.
ZAKARIA: Well, unfortunately, as I say 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, counter constitutional in the words of Charles Krauthammer to be trying to do this. You know, 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. Our debts -- it's very important to understand that Tea Party talks a lot about morality. In a capitalist framework, the obligation you owe in terms of repaying your debts is a moral obligation. When the Visa bill comes you can decide that stuff you bought is stuff that you don't want. You pay the bill.
Then you can have an interesting conversation about how to reform your spending. But you can't renege on your debts.
COOPER: What do you think is going to happen now?
ZAKARIA: It seems very difficult to see how the kind of people you were talking to, Anderson, are going to accept some kind of compromise. You know, it seems to me you have to accept that 300 million people in this country, not all of them agree with you. And so you make your best case, you take as much as you can.
They had a deal. John Boehner provided a deal with $3 trillion of spending cuts for $1 trillion in revenue enhancements -- all of it through closing tax loopholes, none of it through raising rates.
Now, if that's not acceptable, I really don't know where you go. And my sense is, I hope that President Obama is seriously exploring the possibility of invoking the 14th Amendment.
COOPER: Really? You think that's a valid option?
ZAKARIA: -- will not be questioned, and saying that he has the legal authority to simply raise the debt ceiling himself. I think that President Bill Clinton thinks that it is a viable argument. I'm not a constitutional lawyer. But I think we have reached a level of dysfunction here that this is the kind of national emergency almost like a war.
And if the president were to invoke that and if it were to go to the Supreme Court, I have a feeling the court would as it does with War Powers issues say this is a political issue. We're not going to get involved. And the president's writ would stand.
COOPER: And, Fareed, to the Republicans who say, well, look this August 2nd is not really going to be the ca cataclysm that people talk about?
ZAKARIA: Look, it may not be August 2nd. It may be August 4th. Nobody doubts that we're running out of money. Nobody doubts that we have to borrow more money, whether it's August 2nd or 5th, or whether you can go some (INAUDIBLE).
Is this how the greatest economy in the world should be run that we should be saying, well, we can first pay the -- we'll take the first 20 cents out of every dollar and pay the debt, but we won't pay the veterans and we won't -- and if you listen to what the congressman said to you, Anderson, he said I don't want any tax increases. No closing of loopholes. I want to pay the interest on the debt. I want to look after our seniors. That's Medicare, Social Security. And then I want to look after the army.
Well, you know, I've got news for you, Congressman. There ain't much money left. If you aren't willing to cut any of those things and not willing to raise tax revenues then you're going to have to rely on magic to somehow balance the budget.
That's all the big money. That's where it is. It's not in some mythical waste fraud abuse. The bulk of the money is in Social Security, Medicare, the military, interest on the debt.
You can abolish the space shuttle program and the Department of Education and that's going to get you four days' worth of money.
COOPER: Fareed Zakaria -- Fareed, appreciate it. Thanks very much.