After all, no issue has done more to unify the Tea Party activists now threatening moderate Republicans on Tuesday in Delaware and New Hampshire than the national debt. And Republican leaders have been all too happy to oblige the grassroots, slamming the White House over the budget from the moment President Obama took office. But while harping on the deficit is easy when the other party is running up the bills, it’s a lot tougher when the country’s checkbook rests in your hands—and with the GOP poised potentially to retake Congress, that time may be approaching…

“I personally think a balanced budget is imperative and I think there’s tremendous support for a balanced budget,” said Mark Heckler, a spokesman for the Tea Party Patriots. Lawmakers who vote for anything less will “see a lot of frustration out there in the electorate if they do that.”

If the conservatives rushing to the polls to elect Tea Party candidates see things the same way as Paul and Heckler, Republicans are in deep trouble. Achieving a balanced budget in the next year is—to put it mildly—unrealistic.