The Tea Party has triumphed in at least one sense, says E.J. Dionne Jr. in The Washington Post. Despite a host of economic challenges facing the nation — including an unemployment rate that stubbornly remains at 9 percent — the debate in Washington is focused squarely on the budget deficit and spending cuts. Liberals may scoff, Dionne says, but the truth is that the Tea Party can claim victory in "fundamentally altering the country's dialogue." Here, an excerpt:
Consider all of the problems taking a back seat to the deficit in Washington and the media. You haven't heard much lately on how Wall Street shenanigans tanked the economy in the first place — and in the process made a small number of people very rich. Yet any discussion of the problems caused by concentrated wealth (a vital mainstream issue in the America of Andrew Jackson and both Roosevelts) is confined to the academic or left-wing sidelines. You haven't seen a lot of news stories describing the impact of long-term unemployment on people's lives or the difficulty working-class kids are encountering if they want to go to college...
Thanks to the Tea Party, we are now told that all our problems will be solved by cutting government programs. ... Does anyone really think that cutting such programs will create jobs or help Americans get ahead? But give the Tea Party guys credit: They have seized the political and media agenda and made budget cutting as fashionable as Justin Bieber was five minutes ago.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How the South's ugly racial history is haunting ObamaCare
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- What if Leo Strauss was right?
- Stop making fun of philosophy and read some philosophy
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- If Democrats abandon immigration reform after Tuesday's likely loss, they will turn 2016 into a debacle
- Beware of Splenda: The backlash against artificial sugars
- The 7 best Halloween-themed editorial cartoons
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
Subscribe to the Week