Tea partiers have, The Post’s Jerry Markon reports, largely stayed out of the debate about the fiscal cliff. Markon gets several passive, fatalist comments from various leaders of tea party organizations, mostly to the effect that the whole issue is hopeless.
Well, I suppose. But what is missing from this article is any sense of the main context: Anyone who really wants deficit reduction immediately — as tea party activists have claimed since they got started — should support plunging over the fiscal cliff as fast as possible. No other possible outcome could do more for reducing federal budget deficits than simply carrying out the policies due to take effect in the next several days.
So: Do tea party leaders actually care about deficits? Is deficit talk all just a cover for a traditional (over the last 30 years at least) Republican insistence on low tax rates for rich people, regardless of what actually happens to the deficit? Do they have no idea what they’re talking about at all, and are lost when it comes to actual policy choices instead of easy slogans?
I’m guessing it’s the last one.
But I’ll admit: I don’t know the answer. It is, however, what I want to hear about from tea party leaders.