The debt deal is a moderate change. It reduces the projected ten-year deficit from $10 trillion to $7.5 trillion with most of the cuts starting more than two years from now. It is mainly notable because Congress normally raises the debt ceiling without condition. The deal does not change the long-term deficit from unsustainable to sustainable, it does not fix the long-term problems with Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid. It does not even cut spending noticeably before the next election. It was a triumph for the Tea Party mainly because it included some sort of cuts without an accompanying tax increase. Assuming that Congress follows through on its promises, it will slow the growth of government slightly over the next decade.
You would never know this after listening to the left. Democratic senators and Vice President Biden are alleged to have referred to their opponents as terrorists. Rep. Steve Cohen didn't mince words, he called it "evil". Paul Krugman compares the deal with a banana republic. His fellow NYT columnist, Joe Nocera, followed the Democrats' example and used "terrorists".
The main message from the fight is that the Tea Party has the momentum and discipline that the left was hoping Obama's election would provide the left. After the bruising and fruitless fight over health care, they have no more big issues. In his State of the Union address, President Obama listed liberal accomplishments and called for more of the same.
While many on the left mourn the days of great liberal advances and want to bring them back again, they have to face a truth. They have already won most of their battles and we are now struggling to pay the bills that they ran up. The fight to make the US more like Europe looks a lot worse when you look at the state that Europe is currently in.
The real reason for the anguish from the left is that they see this as the first of many declines. The days of Hope and Change passed.