Rules for Radicals

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In which Mitch McConnell says, "Eff a pretense":


"I think some of our members may have thought the default issue was a hostage you might take a chance at shooting," he said. "Most of us didn't think that. What we did learn is this -- it's a hostage that's worth ransoming. And it focuses the Congress on something that must be done."

Also, if you have a moment check out this Fresh Air interview with Times Magazine writer Robert Draper. 



GROSS: You're writing a book about the House. So I'm wondering if watching how the House dealt with, you know, passage of this debt ceiling deal, if a lot of members of the House now admire President Obama for his willingness to compromise with them or if they just see him as weak and easy to take advantage of. 

DRAPER: I haven't seen any sign of admiration for President Obama in the Republican camps. If anything, there is a belief that President Obama was not always good on his word at the negotiating table. 

 There was this suggestion that another $400 billion in revenue should be considered that President Obama sort of sprung on Speaker Boehner, which he felt was untenable, given how - the difficulties he was having in his Republican conference to convince them to accept any kind of revenue package. 

 No, I don't see that any of them have viewed Obama's willingness to compromise as a virtue. I think that they recognize it, but they don't see this as something to be admired or even to be emulated. I think that if anything they've calculated it as a kind of weakness.

There's a lot in the interview that jibes with our recent conversations around the role of radicals and activists. The Tea Party, I'd argue, falls within the American tradition of radical activism. I've found myself admiring the way they've waged this battle, in much the same way I admired watching Darrell Green run down Tony Dorsett--that is with a heady mix of utter disdain and profound respect.

I think their agenda is horrible for America. I their tactical usage of of the democratic machinery is superb. I'm less sold on their strategic usage. This is not a crew that fears over-playing their hand, and thus inviting a counter-revolution. I wouldn't be shocked at all if that ultimately doomed them.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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