Our panel of experts reports on the first national elections of the Tea Party era.
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First, for whatever reason, Republicans slightly underperformed the final-week polls almost everywhere in the country. In polls in race after race in the Senate, and in the final two, much-ballyhooed, generic ballot surveys, Democrats looked to be in worse shape, by several points, than they ended up doing. And in the House, Republicans lost a slew of hair’s-breadth races and in total numbers again slightly trailed the results predicted by the Real Clear Politics averages.
What this indicates is that, by hook or in some circumstances almost certainly by crook, the Democratic get-out-the-vote effort outperformed that of the Republicans. The surge of public opinion went the Republicans’ way, but the Democrats still got their voters to the polls and won tough battles. As political trends ebb back to stasis in the next two years, then, Republicans must rebuild their ground game, because they may not be able to rely again on the unprecedented, frenetic energy brought to bear by the various Tea Party efforts.
The truth is that these elections were the easy part. Consolidating the gains for both Republicans and conservatives, in both policy and politics, will be a significantly harder job. And because Barack Obama, unlike Bill Clinton, will be unlikely to compromise, it will be more difficult to point to direct legislative accomplishments.
Rejoice, then, because conservatives are on the march. But it will indeed be a hard march, not a pleasant walk in the woods.
Quin Hillyer is a senior editorial writer for the Washington Times and a senior editor for The American Spectator.
The predominant media narrative coming out of the midterm elections will be that “gridlock,” a legislative stalemate preventing President Obama or Republicans from accomplishing anything in the next two years, spells doom for average Americans. Funny how the media willfully promotes a view which is predicated on the liberal assumption that when the government does a lot of things it works much better.
It would be a mistake of Greek tragedy proportions for Obama to deny the message the American people sent him in this referendum on his first two years in office. That being said, I have no delusions that Obama will wake up tomorrow and become the fiscal conservative we need to restore America’s economic sanity. But he would be well served to reach across the aisle on a few issues, yes, Tea Party issues, that this election has shown have broad appeal to all Americans.
Recently we conducted a poll to find out which Tea Party issues strongly resonate with all Americans. We found that 70 percent of Americans support reducing spending through a 10 percent cut in the federal budget. We found that 75 percent of Americans oppose candidates who run on the promise to return earmarks to their district. But most encouraging, we found that Americans feel that the Tea Party movement is more representative of mainstream America than the Democratic Congress by double-digit margins.
Well, the election and the polls are over. The GOP needs to stop using vague talking points. To truly rein in government spending everything must be on the chopping block, including defense and entitlement reform. Anything less signals that Republicans are not ready to make the tough decisions the Tea Party movement expects out of them.
Americans see our national debt as the 800-pound — or should I say the $13 trillion gorilla — in the room. They see pork barrel spending as supporting a culture of corruption and they understand intuitively, unlike Democrats, that you can’t spend yourself out of debt.
The majority of Americans are prepared to start facing these realities, and all of our elected officials must be too. That’s the real post-partisanship Obama spoke of so highly on the campaign trail in 2008. If he offers modest support for a few initiatives addressing spending and the national debt, it would go along way toward restoring the average American’s confidence in our government acting responsibly. If he doesn’t, Obama will be returning to that private sector he willfully neglects by the end of 2012.
Matt Kibbe is president and CEO of FreedomWorks.
The biggest story in the 2010 elections was the transition of the Tea Party movement from a ragtag group of citizens protesting federal government overreach to a formidable political force. Though Tea Party activists suffered some losses, overall their energy fueled the Republican comeback and helped elected more conservative candidates nationwide. The key question now is whether the movement can transition once again, this time to put pressure on Republicans to use their power to advance conservative ends and avoid becoming corrupted by Washington.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online