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Posted at 04:15 PM ET, 08/02/2011

The Tea Party isn’t interested in governing

Members of the Tea Party must be basking collectively in the glow of victory. The deal that was signed into law by President Obama gave them just about everything they wanted and took the American people and the world to the brink of economic calamity to get it. Just how maddening their recalcitrance and default-be-damned pose was on full display by Matt Kibbe last night during an interview with Chris Matthews on “Hardball.” But Matthews wasn’t having any of Kibbe’s nonsense and voiced my number one concern about the Tea Party: it’s not interested in the hard work and compromises involved in governing.

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Kibbe told Matthews that he would have voted against the debt bill that was pending in the House at the time of the interview. Kibbe made the insane assertion that it would be perfectly fine for the United States to pay only a portion of its bills in the event of a default. “I think that`s the government forced to make decisions every family has to make.” That’s when the MSNBC anchor pushed back hard.

MATTHEWS: See? This is the problem with your argument.  You have an ideology behind you which makes sense.  But the trouble with it when it comes to running the United States government, you guys don’t accept the fiduciary responsibility to be part of the United States government, do you?
You’re basically still carrying placards and you’re still standing outside of the Capitol yelling, but you’re not willing to come inside the building and help run the government, which means paying the bills because you don’t accept that responsibility, do you?  To pay the bills.
KIBBE:  It’s not the job of the Tea Party to cut a deal.  It’s not our job to cut the deal.  It’s our job . . .
MATTHEWS:  Thank you.  You’ve admitted it.

Matthews concluded the interview, telling Kibbe, “Matt, you’re in the right job. You’re not in the United States government. And that’s where you don’t belong. And thank you for being honest and saying you don’t belong there. But your trouble is you got colleagues in the United States government who don’t accept the responsibility to pay their bills.”

Matthews isn’t the only one raising concern about the Tea Party’s disinterest in actual governing. The push for a balanced-budget amendment in the House, writes Michael Gerson today, “is a demonstration that a significant minority of House conservatives has no interest in actually governing.” This just won’t do. The United States has serious problems, and the American people are demanding solutions. They sent Tea Party-affiliated folks to Washington in 2010 because they didn’t think Washington was listening to them. And as we saw in the elections of 2006 and 2008 and the special elections in 2009, they have no problem voting them out.

By  |  04:15 PM ET, 08/02/2011

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