Durbin: Tea Party engaging in ‘political extortion’

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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Coming out of last night’s debt announcement, there seems to be a lot of bitterness directed at Tea Party Republicans, for their ability to control the terms of the debate. And some of that resentment is coming straight from the top of the Democratic Party — from Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin.

In an interview on CNN’s “American Morning” on Monday, co-host Carol Costello asked Durbin why the Democratic Party wasn’t putting up more of a fight with the Tea Party.

“Just a last question because there are a lot of editorials out this morning including one in The New York Times that says Democrats are continually caving to a tiny portion of the Republican Party and that would be the Tea Party and the Democrats just don’t show much spine,” Costello said. “They just capitulate. And why is that?”

According to Durbin, Democrats had their hand forced and they had to make the deal they made in order to prevent the worst from happening.

“Well, because the alternative was to let the economy crater,” Durbin replied. “That’s what the Tea Party said they were willing to accept. You have some of these Republican presidential candidates praying for a default. Let me tell you that would have been totally irresponsible.”

But Costello took it a step further, saying “extortion” was at play with the Tea Party Caucus, and Durbin agreed.

“Of course it is – it’s political extortion,” he said. “And if you say that you’re prepared to call somebody’s bluff using other people’s chips, that’s what we’re down to. A lot of innocent people would have suffered if we would, in fact, have gone into this default. We avoided that and that was something we had to do.”