Fareed Zakaria Compares Tea Party to Terrorists, 'Un-American'

On Thursday's The Situation Room, Fareed Zakaria said the tactics used by Tea Party congressmen in the debt ceiling debate were akin to holding the country hostage and threatening to "blow up" the economy.

"So nobody has ever held a country hostage and say [sic] if you don't pass our policies, we'll blow up the economy, we'll blow up the credibility of the United States," Zakaria remarked on CNN Thursday. He called the recent debt ceiling fight "unprecedented" and slammed the Tea Party for its refusal to compromise.

"This is why the Tea Party's insistence on holding the debt ceiling hostage in order to force its policies on the country – the first time the debt ceiling has been used this way – was so deeply un-American," Zakaria ranted in his newest Time cover story.

Zakaria is CNN's foreign affairs analyst and the editor-at-large for Time magazine, and recently made headlines for having had off-the-record conversations with President Obama on foreign affairs. He has praised the President's foreign policy multiple times and ripped Tea Party conservatives for being too extreme.

His latest knock against the Tea Party is that not only are they acting like hostage-takers, but their refusal to compromise stands completely against what America's founding fathers wished for.

Zakaria remarked that "the American system is built on shared powers overlapping authority.... and the founding fathers designed it that way because they wanted there to be an effort to create policies through compromise, through consensus. So if you take the position that it's your way or the highway, that if you literally will not give an inch, what you're doing is really against the spirit of the American republic, against the spirit of what the founding fathers wanted."

A transcript of the segment, which aired on August 4 at 5:31 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

WOLF BLITZER: Fareed, you've written the cover story of the new issue of Time magazine, "The Great American Downgrade," why the debt crisis has hurt growth and our position in the world. Let me read a line from the article, because it's very, very poignant. Controversial, I should say, as well.

"People have to cooperate for anything to get done. That is why the Tea Party's insistence on holding the debt ceiling hostage in order to force its policies on the country – the first time the debt ceiling has been used this way – was so deeply un-American."

Alright, you've gotten some feedback on that, some – some reaction. Un-American?

FAREED ZAKARIA: I'll explain why. First, understand how unprecedented it was. The debt ceiling has been raised 78 times since 1960. It has never been used this way, essentially as blackmail. It was not – the Democrats did not use it during the Vietnam War, it was not used this way during Civil Rights legislation. So nobody has ever held a country hostage and say [sic] if you don't pass our policies, we'll blow up the economy, we'll blow up the credibility of the United States.

The reason I say it's un-American Wolf, is because the American system, unlike European parliamentary systems, the American system is built on shared powers overlapping authority. Noone is in control in America. You know, there's the President, there's the Senate, there's the House of Representatives, there's state government, and the founding fathers designed it that way because they wanted there to be an effort to create policies through compromise, through consensus. So if you take the position that it's your way or the highway, that if you literally will not give an inch, what you're doing is really against the spirit of the American republic, against the spirit of what the founding fathers wanted.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014