Michael Hirsh | Why the Tea Party Lives On

Similarly, in meeting the challenge of World War II and the early  Cold War, the government was still small enough to push “blue-sky”  reform. America could build the intelligence apparatus that it needed  from scratch because much the national-security state back then was  tiny. Today, by contrast, every intelligence agency is a giant vested  interest left over from a half century of world war and cold war. The  FBI, CIA, and other intelligence and national-security agencies seem to  spend almost as much energy defending their own turf as the homeland  itself—all of which has made true reform far more difficult.

So it is with Congress. It is sclerotic, and Boehner and McConnell  are symptoms of that malady. In the eyes of many critics, so is  President Obama. Full of second-term verve, Obama declared unilaterally  Tuesday that he will no longer  negotiate over the nation’s debt limit  after the brinkmanship of the last couple of years. “I will not have  another debate with this Congress over whether or not they should pay  the bills that they’ve already racked up through the laws that they  passed," the president said. With the new deadline on the “sequester”  just two months away, he urged "a little less drama" in coming talks  about cutting government spending.

Sorry, but I think the drama is far from over. The rebellion against  the size of government is a true populist movement, and it’s not going  away. The debt limit is still the biggest card the tea party has.  They’re going to use it.


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