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06/08/2011 | US: The Real ‘Uniters’

During the debt-ceiling debate, the Tea Party was called everything from cannibals to terrorists. In reality, the Tea Party did far better at getting bipartisan results than the “Post-Partisan Uniter,” President Obama.


In just the last few days, Vice President Biden called the tea party “terrorists,” New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd called them “a maniac gang with big knives held high” and the Arizona Daily Star ran a cartoon with Obama ordering Navy SEALs to kill tea party congressmen. And that’s the civil stuff.

Meanwhile, pundits have talked endlessly about how dysfunctional and partisan Washington is thanks to the tea party radicals.

What was their sin? Well, near as we can figure, it was that the tea party managed to force Washington to confront a festering debt crisis that leaders had far too long ignored, and pushed for a credible plan that didn’t kill the economy with new taxes, all of which produced a deal that got huge bipartisan support.

Wouldn’t a better term for the tea party be “uniters”?

This isn’t, after all, the first time the tea party has pushed an issue to a strong bipartisan finish.

A quick rundown:

• Last December, after tea party victories gave the GOP control of the House, but before they took over, Republicans pushed for and got a two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts. In all, 139 Democrats in the House and 42 in the Senate voted for the extension.

• In April, Republicans, prodded by the tea party, pushed to cut spending for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year. The eventual deal got the support of 81 House Democrats and 48 Senate Democrats.

• And the final debt ceiling deal ended up with 95 Democratic votes in the House and 45 in the Senate.

Let’s contrast this with Obama’s record:

• The hugely wasteful $830 billion stimulus plan passed in 2009 with zero GOP votes in the House and only three in the Senate.

• ObamaCare didn’t get a single Republican vote. (In fact, the GOP’s House repeal vote earlier this year was more bipartisan, getting three Democratic votes.)

• The grossly overreaching Dodd-Frank financial reform law got a combined total of six Republican votes in the House and Senate.

Democrats will argue that Republicans are just more intransigent than they are. But the truth is that in his first two years in office, Obama didn’t need any GOP support to ram his leftist agenda through Congress, so he didn’t lift a finger to get any.

To be sure, we’ve had our differences with the tea party, but it looks to us as though it’s managing to produce something Washington hasn’t seen in a long time — bipartisan solutions to some of the most pressing issues facing the country.

Isn’t that the kind of “hope and change” Obama promised? (Estados Unidos)


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