One way or another, the battle of the budget and the debt ceiling will be over by All Hallows’ Eve.
Yet, as one looks deeper, at the irreconcilable conflict behind the present clash, only a roaring optimist would imagine we shall ever know again the tranquility and unity of the Eisenhower-Kennedy years.
Consider the bile dumped upon tea party Republicans by Barack Obama, Harry Reid and their camp followers in the national press.
What did the tea party do to deserve this? Answer: These extremists shut down the U.S. government, they’re holding America hostage, and they’re inflicting terrible suffering on innocent people.
But is this true?
Three times in a fortnight, the House has voted to fund every department, agency, and program of the government — except Obamacare. Who, then, is truly shutting down the government?
And have not the past three years exposed glaring flaws in Obamacare? Have not severely adverse consequences turned up in widespread layoffs and a reversion to part-time help?
Why then is the House’s exercise of its constitutional authority to defund Obamacare, which polls show a majority of Americans favor, such a moral outrage?
This brings us to the underlying conflict.
The Obamacare battle is part of a larger struggle between a party of government and a conservative party that fears America is heading down a road traveled by Greece, Italy and Spain.
Big government and the Fat City are one in Barack Obama’s America.
And how does the tea party imperil the country?
First, they risk taking America over the cliff into default. But that raises a question: Since the tea party folks are newcomers to town, who brought America to the edge of this cliff? What radical added $6 trillion to our national debt in five years? Or did the tea party do that?
Almost all now agree that the entitlement programs — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid — threaten to consume the budget. Is the tea party responsible for this gathering disaster?
Is the tea party responsible for our being committed to fighting other countries’ wars and paying other countries’ bills, in perpetuity, through foreign aid?
When the tea party says the Fed’s QE3 amounts to printing money and inflating the currency, that it is creating stock market and real estate bubbles certain to burst, and that the dollar’s future as the world’s reserve currency is imperiled, do they not have a point?
The tea party is feared and detested in Washington because these folks threaten the ideology, the vested interests, and most critical of all, the rice bowls in this city that voted 15-1 for Obama.
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?” His column is distributed by Creators Syndicate.