The fiscal cliff deal cut in the wee hours of New Year’s Day was a late Christmas present, according to FreedomWorks’ Matt Kibbe, whose tea party group plans to capitalize on what he called a tax “massacre” heading into the 2014 midterm elections.
“Our sense is that the New Year’s Day massacre is … unfortunately, is going to be a gift that keeps giving,” Kibbe told The Daily Caller in a phone interview.
Asked who was massacred, Kibbe said “the taxpayers … [and] fiscal responsibility are getting massacred.”
“I think, whether we like it or not, this constant budget crisis — which I think is by design — is going to continue to define the congressional debate all the way up until the 2014 election,” he continued.
“And we view each of these failures … as opportunities to educate the American public on the gross irresponsibility of the representation in Washington,” Kibbe said, describing it as “a teaching moment for America on exactly how not to do things.”
FreedomWorks, he said, will focus on educating the public about why the fiscal cliff deal was bad politics and bad policy.
“Just educating people on how the budget process is supposed to work and why it is that these midnight deals behind closed doors cut between [Kentucky Republican] Senator [Mitch] McConnell and [Vice President] Joe Biden is such a fundamental corruption of honest government,” Kibbe said.
Kibbe added that he believes the process upset people almost as much as the deal’s details.
“You know the tea party was born out of the way that Wall Street was bailed out behind closed doors at the last minute … as opposed to some open, transparent conversation that the American people could be part of,” Kibbe said. “Since they are the shareholders, the people who foot the bill for these things, it seems only right that they would be allowed to participate in that conversation.”
“How is it possible that again and again and again, these backroom deals are cut when the American people are paying the least possible amount of attention?” he asked.
“If you had any luck, you were out on a date with your wife on New Year’s Eve, and probably too hung over to read the budget authorization language on New Year’s morning. And I think that whole system is a shakedown by design.”
As FreedomWorks prepares for the 2014 elections, Kibbe said his group will be taking a more active role in making sure the right candidates get into the races, whether that means subjecting sitting Republicans to primary challenges, or finding the right candidates to challenge incumbent Democrats.
“I think in 2014 and 2016, if we don’t see a compelling candidate that meets both our philosophical and practical criteria for what it takes to win, we’re gonna go try to convince that man or woman to get into the race,” he said. “And that didn’t happen in 2012 and we probably paid the price for that, for settling on the best available candidates instead of the right candidates.”