Once mocked as angry racist mobs and "Astroturf," the tea parties made their presence known in last month's midterm elections. Tonight, they claimed their first genuine legislative victory when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pulled the $1.2 trillion omnibus bill with thousands of earmarks, conceding he didn't have the votes to pass it. The reason he didn't have the votes to pass it was was no doubt a result of the pressure put on Republicans by tea party activists who have made it politically untenable to be associated with massive government spending and special favors. Sen. John McCain took to the floor and called this a "seminal moment." I would say that it could be, but that largely depends on how Republicans behave going forward. Democrats made Republicans jobs a lot easier this week by providing them with such a massive target so soon after an election in which voters rejected out of control spending. But the truer test will be if Republicans can show the same sort of fortitude on matters that aren't so easy -- especially when it comes to entitlement spending, which is a much greater threat to the nation's fiscal health than earmark spending. So, this is something worth celebrating -- but only as much as a first down early in the season. There's still a long road ahead for those who want to rein in government.
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