Reason Writers Around Town: Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch on the Debt Ceiling and Independents in the L.A. Times


Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch, co-authors of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America, argue that the momentary debt-ceiling impasse in Washington should give inspiration even to people who dislike the Tea Party. Starts like this:

Forget President Obama, House Speaker John A. Boehner and the less-interesting-than-their-name-suggests "Gang of Six." When the history of the Great Debt Ceiling Debate of 2011 gets written, the main character will not be a Beltway negotiator, or even a politician.

The only reason Washington is even talking about proposals to slow the growth of government spending, instead of robotically jacking up the nation's credit line for the 11th time in a decade, is that a large, decentralized group of citizen activists has spent the last few years loudly telling politicians from both parties one consistent message: restrain your own power or face our wrath.

Whether you conceive of the "tea party" as a heroic tamer of bipartisan big government or a diabolical hydra threatening America's very future, its success in precipitating a national debate over fiscal policy should give hope — and a tactical blueprint — to anyone who feels marginalized by politics.

Whole thing here.


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  1. While commentators love mocking them for backing such not-ready-for-prime-time insurgents as Christine O’Donnell, even the Republican Party is smart enough to recognize the power of a growing bloc that refuses to be taken for granted.

    The primaries are where the people have power over their respective parties, but Democratic voters seem less willing to give up a sure thing general election victory to advance a message.

  2. The “Tea Party” is a “bottom-up” political movement? When did you guys get into comedy?

    1. Damn right it’s bottom up! I’ve never gone to a tea party rally, but I know some guys who organize them around my area. It is completely bottom up, coming from tiny meetups and political groups. They are volunteers and not getting any money to do this. Some parties are “organized” in that they have a state or national organization, but these groups are feeding off the name and are not in charge. They get no traction in my area at all.

      1. Oh wait… That was Steven Smith. I wasn’t supposed to feed him, was I?

        1. No when the phrase “bottom-up” is bandied about.

  3. The blueprint won’t work; whenever the left gets excited about a politician but then that politician doesn’t immediately nationalize all private enterprize, they get discouraged from politics and don’t vote for 4 decades.

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