The Tea Party's stranglehold on American politics has been compared to a hostage situation but that really isn't the case. Unlike a real hostage situation, the hostages in the debt ceiling crisis are free to leave whenever they want. The House of Representatives contains maybe 100 Tea Party members at most and the Senate can't have more than 20, those are probably overestimates. Given that it takes a simple majority in the House and 60 votes in the Senate, who's really to blame? The non-Tea Party Republicans.
If the Democrats could get just 25 House Republicans and 7 Senate Republicans to vote with them, the Tea Party would be powerless to stop anything from going through. Yet they can't get even that small number of the pack to peel off from their party. Why not? It's certainly not because of their principled stance against compromising on the debt ceiling. No, it's because people like John Boehner care more about his status as Speaker of the House and re-election than about saving the American public from a crisis. These establishment Republicans are more than willing to be adults and do what needs to be done to govern the country but what's paralyzing them is a self-interested fear of being primaried by the Tea Party.
Democrats have become known for being spineless and bending over backwards to satisfy Republicans but it's become clear that establishment Republicans are just as spineless as the Democrats. It's like all these people don't realize that 80% doesn't have to be beholden to the will of 20%. John Boehner wants to talk about how President Obama isn't showing leadership but a true leader would stand up to the Tea Party and explain to them that you can't always get exactly what you want and that he got them a pretty good deal. He's not going to do it though because what really matters is that he doesn't want to give up his gavel to Eric Cantor.
Republicans watched as Tea Party flameouts like Christine O'Donnell and Sharron Angle ruined their golden opportunity to take over the Senate in 2010 and yet what did they learn from that? Nothing. It's one thing to allow the Tea Party to have a voice in the party; it's another to let them take over. What's the point of being Speaker if you're essentially just a figurehead, there just to carry out the will of a loud minority that will never accept anything but total submission? John McCain finally got up the nerve to give some "straight talk" a few days ago and rip the Tea Party for their insanity but then went on Hannity and walked back everything he said. McCain is in his 70s, just won re-election through 2016, and was the party's last presidential nominee yet even he irrationally fears the wrath of the Tea Party.
Democrats face pressure from the liberals all the time and shrug it off, knowing that their left wing is going to pressure them but has some understanding of the notion that you can't always get what you want and so they accept the fact that President Obama has made concession after concession even if they don't like it. Republicans alternatively are continually giving in to the extremists of their party and yet that's not good enough. Dick Lugar is one of the most esteemed members of the entire Senate and yet he's being primaried by some Tea Party hack and is actually in danger of losing his seat. Does anyone stand up for Dick Lugar in the Republican Party? No, not a word.
Don't blame the Tea Party for being politically successful. They're only successful because those that don't agree with them care more about themselves than the future of the country. Blame John Boehner, blame Mitch McConnell. They're enablers and they're the ones that are holding this country hostage to the detriment of everyone else.