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Editorial: Something new in the body politic

Whether you agree with what its members say or not, you have to admit that the Tea Party movement brings something unique to the political conversation today.

Unlike the two established political parties that spend their time and energy fighting over matters of nuance, Tea Party adherents appear ready to tear down the entire existing framework to return to what they see as the founding principles of this country. Principles, they claim, that call for placing drastic limits on the federal government, and especially federal spending.

They aren’t interested in the small victories. Compromise, to them, is indefensible. In the past, the two parties were content to meet in the middle; neither side was particularly happy, but each got something for its constituencies.

Simple legislative acts, such as raising the debt ceiling or passing a bill to keep the government solvent, have now become Congressional games of chicken, as Tea Party representatives and their allies in the Repub...

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