Budget Deal


Budget Deal & the Tea Party


The Budget Deal and the Tea Party
by Dave McIntyre- August 29, 2011

Part 1

Nobody asked me, but as a strategist, here is my analysis of the budget deal.

This whole deal was about neutralizing the Tea Party. That's what both sides wanted. And it worked.

Obama does not mind growing the debt - he uses it to pay off his base and scare the middle with threats about Republican cuts. Listen to his advisors. They all tell him the debt does not matter - just build some jobs thru stimulus.

The Republic elite do not mind growing the debt - they use it to pay off their base and scare the middle with threats about Democratic spending. Listen to what they said in the last election. The main stream rep candidates all said the debt did not matter - just build some jobs through tax cuts.

Obama, Boehner and McConnell have all built their strategies for the next election around having a big debt to run on or against. Reducing the problem reduces their power and their leverage for the next election. Left to their own devices they would have agreed to raise the ceiling and move on to positioning themselves for the next election.

The Tea Party ruined this cozy relationship. The recently elected Tea Party freshmen would not back down from Obama and would not allow Boehner & Co to surrender.

So the big boys in both parties cut a deal that eliminates the Tea Part voice from the next round.
- The established elite picks who sits on the committee.
- They decide what comes out of the committee (The proposals are going to be cuts to defense, means testing, and higher taxes on those without tax attorneys)
- And these proposals by the elites can only be voted up or down. Accept all or none.

If the Tea Party freshmen say no again, then the triggers kick in, defense is slashed, poor people are hurt across the board, and it is the Tea Party's fault. Remember they get no option to refine the plan -- approve or disapprove only.

If the Tea Party freshmen say yes, then they have voted for higher taxes and they will be destroyed at the voting booth the same way Bush 41 was for violating "no new taxes."

This is the strategic effect of the "budget deal" - leave the Tea Party with only two choices in Nov -- Hypocrisy or Suicide.

If the Tea Party freshmen knew enough about DC to recognize this trap, they would start talking Third Party now. It is the only leverage they have left. To start talking about this after they have been flanked by the Nov committee announcements is too late. It is now or never.

But they can't generate enough passion to go in that direction because the whole bill is so confusing that nobody understands all the implications. They had to vote for it to understand what it said.
That's my take. Regardless of what the press says now, two big winners: Obama and the Republican elite. And two big losers: Tea Party and the American people.


Part 2

Some friends have asked if I am really recommending a Third Party.

No.  I was providing a strategic analysis – and objective look. What i think "is" - not what i think "should be." Hence the discussion of a third party. I am not recommending it -- I am just if the freshmen are ever going to play this card for leverage, it is now or never.

I just listened to Fox say the big winner of the vote was the Tea Party. Apparently many on the left think so too. I think that analysis is too short term.

The TP is OUT of leverage when this issue comes around again from the committee -- that is my point. If you think pressure to compromise was heavy this time, try next time when the issue is automatic cuts to the things we care about most. At that point many TP participants may say "a pox on both your houses. we will form our own party." But it will be too late for that. The TP will be marginalized and out of options. The elite in both parties are counting on this.

What to do?

  • Expect this outcome. Understand that the TP will not be able to replicate this display of power again - the big boys on both parties have teamed up to make sure the TP will never again have this leverage.  That is the primary outcome of "the deal." They will not hold another vote unless the outcome is already decided.


  • Expect that both parties will try to shift the focus to job creation. That’s exactly what I told my friends to watch for 18 months ago.  Here we go again.

Why the shift to focus on jobs? Because it lets all the big boys off the hook while giving them a club to use against the other side.  Both argue "I have a plan," and when it does not work, they can claim that the other side is at fault.

So Obama will say he could be creating more jobs except the Reps will not give more $ for stimulus. And the Reps will say they could be creating more jobs except Obama will not cut more taxes and regulations.  And they both get to ignore the real issues: Spending, and the changes in the world that make the way we educate and train workers obsolete.

My recommendation? (ok, the strategic analysis part is over)

  • Double down on the TP focus on spending, but add a focus on type of spending rather than just total spending.


Not all spending is bad. I want out troops to have the best weapons.
Not all govt is bad. I want more inspectors checking Chinese products for harmful chemicals, not fewer.

But IRRESPONSIBLE government and IRRESPONSIBLE spending and IRRESPONSIBLE  recipients of our spending are very bad indeed.  (we might add IRRESPONSIBLE reporting to the list)

My recommendation to the Tea Party? Begin beating both sides daily with example after example after example of irresponsible spending. Show every tax dodge getting a government subsidy, every dope user getting our money for food, every government program to remove tattoos or study navel lint.

Shift the argument to responsible vs irresponsible spending.

This maintains TP independence, attracts the middle, can't be denied (so the press can't argue we are crazy), and hits both sides but Obama harder. Result? Increased TP respect and leverage and independence.

That's my recommendation -- not a third party.

But like I said, nobody asked me.

Dave McIntyre