Framing the Debt Ceiling Debate: Attach a Balanced Budget Amendment


It is truly amazing to me that most of the talking heads on national television and in national publications are amazed, – amazed! – that there is actually a debate over whether or not to raise the federal government’s debt limit. This is continued proof that these people simply don’t understand what exactly it is that is bubbling up from the American grassroots, sweeping the state legislatures and governorships, and ultimately manifesting itself in Congress.

If a balanced budget amendment is attached to raising the debt ceiling, the bill will either pass and the amendment will go to the states for ratification (where it will surely succeed), or it will fail and the failure will be at the hands of Democrats in Congress. Either way, it is a victory for the GOP, and especially for conservatives.

As Dan McLaughlin rightly points out, this debate is not just about revenue and expenditures. It is ultimately a debate about the role of the federal government in our free nation. As conservatives and tea party activists, we know that this debate is only the first in a series of battles that will define national domestic policy for decades to come. The incoming freshman class in the House of Representatives knows well the importance of this first battle.

The outcome, however, will be dependent on how it is framed in the public’s mind’s eye. If it is perceived as a hostile Alinskian attempt to intentionally bring about economic ruin in an effort to impose an extreme right-wing agenda, we will surely lose. The left is already hard at work framing this issue as being a coup d’etat by a lunatic tea party movement that wants to cut its nose off to spite its face…

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