"They discounted us to start with, then they started laughing at us, then people like Biden started attacking us – and in all that we see hope that maybe we might win in the end," says Buddy Gray, a tea party organizer in Calhoun, Ga.
Democrats' reaction to the debt deal and tea party's role did not end with Biden's exchange, which his spokespeople have since denied despite multiple sourcing of the story by the news site Politico. Democrats argued that at the very point when the unemployed and marginalized need assistance and the economy needs more stimulus from Washington, the right is keen to rip the funds away, worsening the pain and dragging the country into a fiscal abyss.
"Consider what the towel-snapping Tea Party crazies have already accomplished," writes Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. "They've changed the entire discussion. They've neutralized the White House. They've whipped their leadership into submission. They've taken taxes and revenues off the table. They've withered the stock and bond markets. They've made journalists speak to them as though they're John Calhoun and Alexander Hamilton."