Vice President Joe Biden said in a closed-door meeting that Tea Party Republicans "acted like terrorists" during Congress' messy debt ceiling negotiations, after another Democrat said the fiscal conservatives had "threatened to blow up the economy," according to Politico. Sarah Palin, among other GOP leaders, said it was "appalling" that Biden would use such an insult. Biden's office denied the vice president used the term. Is the "T" word out of line, even in a political fight as vicious as this one?
Absolutely. Biden should be ashamed: It would be easy to dismiss this as just another one of Biden's infamous gaffes, says Doug Brady at Conservatives4Palin, if it weren't for the fact that "quite a few lefties" have been slamming Tea Party lawmakers with this "ludicrous analogy" lately. Sorry, guys, but "trying to prevent the nation's rapid descent into fiscal bankruptcy" isn't comparable to blowing up innocent people.
"Joe Biden: Those concerned about nation's unsustainable debt are 'like terrorists'"
Sadly, the label fits: "Terrorism is a tough term," says William Yeomans at Politico, "but, unfortunately, it describes Tea Party tactics precisely." They took "their radicalism beyond tough negotiating, beyond even hostage-taking," and threatened to inflict intentional harm on innocent Americans if their political demands weren't met. They knew a default or downgrade would murder the markets — and the retirement savings of many Americans — and exploited that potential harm as a negotiating "weapon of mass destruction."
"The tea party's terrorist tactics"
Tea Partiers' behavior was reprehensible, but not criminal: Like most people, we "bitterly opposed the tactic of holding up a vote on the debt ceiling," says James Joyner at Outside the Beltway. Raising the debt ceiling has always been a mere housekeeping matter, but Tea Partiers used it to "get a second bite at the budget apple." That's "unprecedented and economically dangerous. But it's not criminal." And anyone who doesn't like it can say so at the ballot box.
"Biden: Tea Party 'terrorists'"