The Tea Party can succeed in 16 months by helping elect a president who will not veto necessary reforms. To achieve that, however, Tea Partyers must not help the incumbent achieve his objectives in the debt-ceiling dispute.
One of those is to strike a splashy bargain involving big — but hypothetical and nonbinding — numbers. This would enable President Obama to run away from his record and run as a debt-reducing centrist.
Got that? The important thing isn’t to strike a compromise and prevent a disaster; the important thing is prevent Obama from claiming a political victory.
This is important to remember when we get all caught up in Republican intransigence over including tax cuts in the debt ceiling bill. Is Grover Norquist's pledge partly just an excuse to deny President Obama a victory? Its why he asked on Friday whether Republicans can say yes to anything.
Notice also that George Will pretty much endorsed the idea that if President Obama is able to run as a "debt-reducing centrist," that will deny the Tea Partiers a victory in 2012. In other words, it means Obama wins. This not only would be interesting news to the poutragers who think a grand bargain is the biggest threat to his re-election, it's also confirmation of what Nicholas Kristof wrote today about Republicans being a threat to our security. Duh!