The Two Sweetest Words in the English Language: De-Fault!

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 8 2011 8:07 AM

The Two Sweetest Words in the English Language: De-Fault!

Andrew Kroll, on the ground covering Wisconsin's recall elections, grabs video of Tea Partiers cheering when Andrea Shea King tells them that S&P's perfidy has been dubbed the Tea Party downgrade.

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Shea King obviously wants to inspire the opposite reaction in the crowd -- hey, you guys, should boo this! -- and maybe some of the applause is wry. But it wasn't all that long ago that the assembled at an Americans for Prosperity summit in Northern Virginia cheered the news that America had lost out on the 2016 Olympics after President Obama had campaigned for them.

The thing here is that both reactions completely make sense. In both cases, some damage has been done to America's reputation. In neither case is Barack Obama entirely responsible. In both cases, he's going to absorb the blame. And because these activists think defeating Barack Obama is necessary to save America, they cheer. The new reaction to the downgrade only differs for the role anti-spending, anti-tax activists had in making it happen. (No bias here. You want to quibble, take it up with S&P, who cited their worries that America would never be able to close the budget gap with new revenue.) But they're pretty confident that they're not going to be blamed for it, so they can cheer.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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