To make our democracy work, we rely on the two major political parties to debate the issues of the day and then come up with solutions.
Sometimes the Democrats are in control; sometimes the Republicans. But whichever party has the upper hand, the other party is there to provide a loyal opposition.
At any given point in time, both parties have men and women of sound judgment to lead the way. At any given point in time, both parties are also apt to have a few kooks in their midst.
Right now, the Republicans have more than their fair share of kooks. They number in the dozens and they have brought a halt to the legislative process, and they threaten to throw the United States into financial default. They are the Tea Party members of the House of Representatives.
They were elected to Congress to add more fiscal responsibility to the Washington mix. The were not elected to shut down government.
The same Americans--who voted them in to work on the budget deficit and the national debt--now want them to compromise; they want them to close tax loopholes, and they want them to raise the national debt limit. All the polls bear this out, and it isn't even close. By nearly 2-1, the electorate is saying, "Get it done!"
Referring specifically to the Tea Party members of his own party, Republican Sen. John McCain has said that what they are doing "isn't fair", and he called the situation "bizarro". More and more Republican leaders are expressing dismay over the Tea Party stance.
There is another word that applies to the Tea Party position--hypocrisy. Example "A" is Rep. Joe Walsh, of Illinois. His is one of the loudest Tea Party voices, and he is the one most often seen on TV--posturing before the cameras while he preaches about spending within your means, and about not running up debt.
Meanwhile, Rep. Walsh is being sued by his ex-wife for $117,000. in child support--some of which goes back to 2002. The Congressman did, however, find $35,000. to lend to his 2010 election campaign.
As if the present situation isn't scary enough, the future plans of the Tea Party are equally frightening. Moderate, respected Republican Senators have been targeted for defeat in the 2012 elections.
Senators Richard Lugar, Orrin Hatch, and Olympia Snowe--who deservedly enjoy the respect of Democrats as well as Republicans--are considered too moderate by the Tea Party. Their sin is their occasional willingness to compromise.
At this writing the crisis over the raising of the national debt limit is ongoing. The outcome remains uncertain. But whatever the final resolution, one thing is clear. Those Tea Party members of the House must go.