Earlier in a statement, Borosage had suggested that “Tea Party terrorists — the extremist faction willing to hold the economy hostage to get their way — have won.”
Progressive Change Campaign Committee’s Adam Green offered similar gripes, saying the compromise “will kill our economy and is an attack on middle-class families” and urged group members to flood Congressional offices with calls.
MoveOn.org surveyed some of the group’s 5 million members and concluded “the vast majority oppose the deal because it unfairly asks seniors and the middle class to bear the burden of the debt deal.”
The strong reactions on both sides reflected the unusually high level of citizen engagement in this policy debate. Last week, the Capitol switchboard and Congressional websites were overwhelmed by citizens demanding that Congress resolve the crisis. Advocacy groups might have a harder time sustaining that level of activism post-deal, but prominent leaders on both sides said the debate is far from over.
And though liberal groups might think the tea party has won the debt fight, tea partyers were hardly celebrating Monday.
Tea Party Nation’s Judson Phillips said Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had “totally sold the tea party and the conservative movement out.”
Phillips called on activists to organize against them and get involved in the 2012 elections to “kick these RINOs to the curb.”
But not all tea partyers were disappointed by the deal, raising questions about how united the grass roots will be in voicing opposition to it. TheTeaParty.net, whose members sent nearly 400,000 letters to Congress last week calling for deep cuts, hailed the deal as “a victory for the tea party.” The group plans to thank Boehner and House Republicans and is taking credit for forcing a tougher round of cuts.
Spokesman Dustin Stockton said tea partyers “took a terrible plan and made it neutral.”
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