Our lovely liberal legislators just can’t seem to stop. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) this weekend informed the world just where she thinks Debbie Wasserman Schultz’ Tea Party “tyrants” and Vice President Joe Biden’s Tea Party “terrorists” belong:

Rep. Maxine Waters continued to make waves during the summer recess, telling a town hall meeting that “the tea party can go straight to hell.”

“This is a tough game. You can’t be intimidated. You can’t be frightened. And as far as I’m concerned — the tea party can go straight to hell,” Waters said, according to Los Angeles television station KABC.

The remarks came at a “Kitchen Table Summit” in Inglewood Saturday night attended by more than a thousand people. Waters’ comments came on the heels of questions about unemployment and the economy.

Her remarks followed a week in which her name figured prominently in discussion, first as she expressed outrage that President Obama’s jobs tour did not specifically target the black community, which has disproportionately suffered from the unemployment problem, and then as Rep. Allen West referred to her as a “boss” or “overseer” on the “plantation” of the Democratic Party.

The most recent hyperbolic rhetoric compromises what little credibility Waters possesses (and, as an aside, I wish West would stop allowing himself to be sucked into the circles of dysfunction that surround DWS and Waters!), but, more importantly, they underscore an important obstacle to real progress on the debt, deficit and jobs front. Democrats and Republicans — and the Tea Party — continue to talk past each other, with Democrats insisting that tax hikes be a part of any deficit reduction package, Republicans trying to hold the line against taxes and Tea Partiers pushing for ever-deeper spending cuts. The demonization in all directions does nothing to help. This is not a call for a “new tone,” which is really code for “no one else may criticize, while I can say whatever I want.” But this is a call for a debate about the real, underlying issueWhat size of government is optimal for human flourishing?

It’s well-documented that earned success makes for a happier life than handouts. But the attitude on display this weekend at the event at which Waters employed such choice words against the Tea Party suggested plenty of Americans profoundly misunderstand that fact. The first concerned voter featured in the video actually says proudly that she wants to flip the slogan and ask what her country can do for her.

And that Waters would say the TP should go to h-e-double-hockey-sticks suggests she, too, thinks it’s unconscionable to ask the government to do less. But what does it mean to ask the government to do less? It means to ask the government to take less money from the pockets of small-business-owners and other wage-earners, to allow those small-business owners to hire more workers and those wage-earners to keep and spend their earnings in such a way as to naturally stimulate the economy. In other words, Waters misses the point: Both she and the Tea Party want a government that contributes to human flourishing. But Waters thinks the way to that is to tax more and to spend more.

In reality, even if the government could give a job to every single unemployed person in the country, that wouldn’t solve the true crisis our country faces: The crisis of personal responsibility and of looking to the government for solutions. Nor would it make our nation happy.

Fortunately, that’s not an option because, as Jay Carney says, “The White House doesn’t create jobs” anyway.

All the factions at play in the debt and jobs debate presumably want the same results: A nation of happy workers, to put it simplistically. But whereas some think the government could actually create that, others know the private sector pulls the weight of the economy. They know, in other words, that happiness — like everything else in life — isn’t free. It has to be pursued. And that’s what the Declaration said after all, wasn’t it? Not that we have a right to be happy — but that we have a right to pursue happiness.

As far as I’m concerned, that’s what the Tea Party stands for — and, if Waters wants to damn it for that, so be it. But she’d better recognize a hell of hard workers earning their own success would actually be far happier than a nanny state heaven.