The Tea Party is engaging in the politics of division, not compromise. They refuse to let others have anything they want if they are not able to have their way without compromise. The last time the USA had a round of that sort of thing on a national level, it was the pro-slavery faction that dragged the nation into civil war.
When our leadership is so full of pride and self-importance that it cannot think of statesmanship and focuses solely on selfish ends such as party fundraising and re-election for re-election’s sake, we have a situation that, in history, produced one of four outcomes. I’ve described these before, but the concept bears repetition. The outcomes from this current immobilizing rift will be either constitutional convention, civil war, national dissolution, or authoritarian regime.
A constitutional convention requires a desire to work things through: I don’t see that here. Election politics involve dividing people. American politicians are in a permanent re-election mode, so they are constantly dividing, not reaching out. No constitutional convention, or if we have one, it will fail with the same gridlock that we see now in Congress.
Civil war involves regional splits. We don’t have that here. National dissolution? In a looser federation of states, perhaps, but there is still enough will at the center to assert itself on any would-be breakaway state or region. That will at the center points the way to authoritarian regime.
It need not be an ideological authoritarianism: it could, in fact, arise out of a state of emergency declared in the face of a massive government and economic crisis. With the budget going nowhere and the debt ceiling about to be reached without extension, we are well on our way to that big crisis. But it need not be this time: the Congress may yet blink in the face of that showdown and one side or another budge to the demands of the other.
But the situation continues. If not now, then some point in the future will produce the situation in which, finally, neither side compromises and the crisis occurs. We will then see, piece by piece, authoritarianism solidify and dominate the nation.
The worst thing from the Tea Party is that they accuse Obama of being a tyrant. In their idiotic refusal to cooperate with him, they may very well have sealed their own fate and that of the nation in causing a tyrant to emerge as a consequence of their uncompromising tantrums.