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New York Times columnist Charles Blow tries to determine the Tea Party's allegiance. Is it to itself, or to promoting governance in a democratic society?

I must confess that every time Representative Michele Bachmann uttered the phrase "as president of the United States" during Thursday's Republican presidential debate I blacked out a little bit, so I'm sure that I missed some things.

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But one thing that I didn't miss was the moment when all the candidates raised their hands, confirming that they felt so strongly about not raising taxes that they would all walk away from a hypothetical deficit-reduction deal that was as extreme as 10 parts spending cuts to one part tax increases.

That moment should tell every voter in America everything about this current crop of Know-Nothings — no person who would take such a stance is fit to be president of the United States or any developed country.

Good governance in a democratic society is about the art of the deal, not fiats and dictum. You want leaders who stand up for principles but not in the way of progress.

Read Charles Blow's entire column at the New York Times.