Since there are so many people trying to figure out who won and who lost with the recent budget battles, I figured I'd throw in my two cents' worth.
- "Moderate" Republicans: When things looked bleak, moderate Republicans stepped in and appeared to be leaders. Of course, their idea of leadership was to disregard the TEA Party movement and the American people who said they wanted a balanced approach and gave us...something that allows us to spend more in the short term and maybe kinda sorta get some of it back later. Thanks to the tireless efforts of people like Mitch McConnell and John McCain, we're still spending with the hopes we won't later. That's a victory, pyrrhic though it may be.
- Rep. David Wu (D-OR): With all of the talk surrounding the budget, his sex scandal got very little coverage. When asked about it, Anthony Weiner said, "Sonofa..."
- President Barack Obama: Not only was President Obama AWOL from the bulk of the discussions, when he was involved both parties wanted him out of the room. For the budget issue to get this heated and this bogged down is a failure of leadership. This was another missed opportunity for the President to lead. Instead, he went out, did some fundraising, and attacked Republicans for trying to bring spending under control.
- Speaker of the House John Boehner: Boehner got streamrolled, first by the TEA Party, and then by the Democrats and moderate Republicans. Instead of leading the charge, he looked more like a middle manager trying to move up the ladder by kissing up to people he thinks will get him ahead. The Right had a golden opportunity to make positive change and live up to its rhetoric, and they squandered it for a deal that doesn't help the problem.
- The American people: Lost in all the partisan back-and-forth was what impact any deal would have on the American people. The economy stinks, we've had out-of-control spending for decades, and the working people of America are on the hook for whatever plan comes out of Washington. And what's come out of Washington so far is...we get put on the hook for more.
Too Close to Call
- The TEA Party: Although the TEA Party members in the House and Senate didn't get the end result they were hoping for, I feel if they weren't in power at this point in time we wouldn't have had a debate over the debt ceiling or budgetary matters. It would be business as usual. The numbers weren't with them, but to overlook their impact on this situation would be foolish.
- The Democrats: The Democrats clearly didn't bring their A-game to the table this time around, but it's too soon to tell how much of an impact it will have on their electoral future. One thing is for sure. They ratcheted up the heated rhetoric as the budget battle went on. Calling the TEA Party "terrorists" and saying they "held the country hostage" is rather extreme, and it will certainly energize the Democrat base. Whether it will play to a larger audience remains to be seen.