As newly elected Senators and Representatives go to Congress next year, they will be tempted by the apple of power. They will be invited to drink the Potomoc water. It will be here where the test will either be passed or failed.
President Obama has told us what his side is going to do. They believe in their principles and they don't want to compromise on the core stuff. He said he would be willing to take Republican ideas such as fixing the small business 1099 provision in the Health Care law to reduce the paperwork and bureaucratic burdens. We know the President is good at words. He seems to have learned some kind of lesson from this. But don't sit back now thinking he's going to give in.
This whole thing is not about compromise. It's about principles. What we learned last night is that there are still two distinct groups in America who are not willing to compromise on those principles. Do we continue down the road of vicious discourse and the politics of personal destruction or do we foster an environment where compromise is not horse trading, but more like pragmatic bull riding?
There are lessons for all of us to learn from this. The Democrats found out that if they don't listen to the will of the people, they're out. The establishment Republicans have learned that if they complain about the candidates that have come out of the political process, particularly Tea Party candidates, they harm their chances for 2012. The Tea Party has learned that they are the truest and purist in the philosophy that is needed to get this country back to its Constitutional roots but that they are not always the most prettiest, most savvy or "best dressed" candidates.
It's time for the Democrats to be the ones who do the compromising. It's time for the Republican establishment to welcome the Tea Party into the tent and show them around. It's time for the Tea Party to learn how to turn the levers of power.
Power works like anything else. There is a science to it. It, in and of itself, is not a bad thing. But power corrupts when those who work the wheels are they themselves corrupt. And in this regard, the Tea Party has a major point about the GOP establishment.
In fairness to the GOP establishment, it's understandable that they would be concerned about people who have never worked the wheels before having to go from a field where dirt flies in the breeze between the Gadsden flags to the inner halls of Congress where a certain decorum and demeanor are required to work those wheels and where actual governing decisions need to be made.
But it is here that the GOP establishment has a crossroads moment in how they are going to treat the future of the Republican Party. If they don't see this influx of the grassroots as its party's future, they are destined to watch the party go the way of the Whigs. If the GOP establishment wants to "Bogart" the wheels of power and continue with business as usual in order to protect their own inner power structure, the principled newbies are not only going to be ineffective. They will leave the party.
This is a second chance for Republicans to be what they said they would be not so long ago, Marco Rubio said. The last thing America needs is its most principled people and its most Constitutionally conservative members to be demotivated by criticism that "they don't clean up well." If they pull out, it will create the vacuum that will result in the "Pottersvilling" of America. We were almost there in 2008. If it was not for the Tea Party, we'd probably be beyond the turnaround point by now. All hope for restoration would be gone.
If the Republican establishment is smart, it will open the hood, hand the Tea Party a wrench and say "let's get to work." There are some mechanical things the Tea Party can learn from the establishment. But when the establishment tries to take a short cut, rig the job or compromise on the value of the workmanship that goes on under that hood, it's time for the Tea Party to say "nope, we're going to do the job right this time."
It's time for the Republican Party to ride the tiger, not beat it. It's time for "the establishment" to begin to hand it over to the next generation, the "new establishment" that will be made up of mature Tea Partiers when the time is right.
If the establishment sees the Tea Party as a threat and tries to knee-cap it, or if it looks down on the Tea Party in a condescending manner, the battle to beat the liberals and to take back the Shining City on a Hill will be severely compromised and our energy will be diverted from the task at hand.
Christine O'Donnell gave a great example of this on the talk shows this morning. According to the New York Daily News:
[O'Donnell] said she wished the state and national Republican party backed her more enthusiastically during the campaign.
"I think the only thing that really would have made a difference is if the Delaware GOP had unified," O'Donnell told "Good Morning America." "Unfortunately, that still hasn't happened."Amy Kremer, chairwoman of the Tea Party Express told Megyn Kelly on Fox News Channel that the Tea Party is proud of the work it has done and will continue to work toward electing conservative candidates and getting the Republican Party to move back to its platform.
The fact that the punditry and some inside the GOP establishment are saying that the Tea Party is a double edged sword or that they hurt the party's chances of picking up more seats do nothing to positively help either the cause of the GOP or the cause of the Tea Party.
Consider that the GOP establishment also fielded candidates who lost and consider the simple nature of the beast that you can't win them all. Winning every seat is like winning a football pool. You might do well, but there will always be a field goal kicker, a quarterback or some stupid play that costs you a game here and a game there. Recognizing life for what it is and being thankful for the victories the GOP had last night is too positive a suggestion even for those among our own ranks who would choose to complain and point fingers.
Sarah Palin pointed out that CNN exit polls show that if Mike Castle had been the Delaware GOP candidate, he, too, would have lost to Coons.
How is it possible that Harry Reid, who had some of the lowest approval ratings for a candidate going into last night could still win?
Don't blame the Tea Party. Understand the nature of the beast before you beat it with a stick.
For over a century here in the United States and for centuries in Europe, people who have clustered into big cities and high population centers have always had a need to be told what to do. It is normal human belief that when large groups of people live in such close quarters that there needs to be rules and codes of conduct. And for centuries they have chosen their leaders to be both nanny and disciplinarian.
In more open areas where there is more of a rural or pioneering type setting, people tend to want to self-regulate. They don't want groups or other people to tell them how to live, what to do with their land and most of all don't want themselves being forced to give up things that they earn from the sweat of their own brow so that people can live comfortably in large cities where services and peaceful living are considered entitlements rather than issues of personal responsibility.
When Carly Fiorina, Meg Whitman and Sharon Angle lose their elections, it's not because they were horrible candidates chosen by the Tea Party. It's because they were candidates who shook up the big city mentality and got a lot of people thinking during an election which, if it had been run at any other time than now, would have easily been won by the liberal candidates with no further discussion from the talking heads. The fact that Barbara Boxer, Jerry Brown and Harry Reid had to fight for their lives against "such inferior candidates" says a lot more than many want to admit at a time where sore losership trumps clearer thinking on the GOP side.
Winning in 2012 and beyond is going to take more thought than just whining about choosing electable candidates. Let's face it. An electable candidate in Texas or Kentucky may not be an electable candidate in New York or California. "That O'Donnell and Whitman performed roughly the same despite the fact that O'Donnell characterized herself as a Tea Party conservative while Whitman characterized herself as a moderate should tell everyone that the deep blue hue of California and Delaware mattered more than anything related to the Tea Party," writes Ian Lazaran at Conservatives4Palin.
What should be more frustrating to the GOP establishment than the quality of candidates fielded should be the colors on the map. Nothing burns a conservative more than looking at a map where all the precincts are red except for a few small blue spots that just happen to be near or in the inner cities and then they look up at the election numbers and see their candidate down by 4%.
It is the failure of the GOP to recognize that while we are successful at open field hilltop to hilltop political combat, we simply suck at urban house to house warfare.
No one is saying the GOP shouldn't be working on finding the best candidates. Candidate training is a part of the Tea Party movement. If the GOP can help out rather than lash out, maybe this can be achieved more quickly.
But more importantly, beyond focusing on changing the quality of their candidates, the GOP and Tea Party should be working on winning over the hearts and minds of the city people with cluster mentalities that have lead them to a false sense of security based on their beliefs that a nanny state federal government is the same as having a well run apartment complex with a good super or a community with a good association whose rules keep the quality of life nice.
These are the people who need to be convinced that local government is the best government. It is these people who need to believe that the GOP is not out to take away their essential services or interfere with their social lives. Instead, they need to be empowered to pay for these services themselves and live their lives as they see fit without coming to the federal government with their hands out or a laundry list of laws that ask others who are not like them in other areas of the country to conform to.
There are two philosophies. The inner city philosophy of top down rule and the rural more outside suburbanite philosophy of small limited government with bottom up rule. These will always clash unless those with the inner city mentalities who vote liberal like lemmings can be convinced that their lives will be much better off once they are weaned off the teet of the federal government (and ultimately unwilling taxpayers who don't live in or near the big cities).
The Shining City on a Hill need not be polished off the sweat of the brows of those who live in the valleys. Those who live in the city need to take responsibility for their own pad or plot and take pride in their communities and complex enough to believe that we are all capable of making the country a better place when we stop micro-managing and over-complicating things and take a more common sense approach to solving our problems.
The Tea Party has a lot of work to do, not because they are doing things wrong, but because there is a lot more right that needs to be done. It now needs to hold the candidates who were just elected accountable and see to it that it continues to improve as we head into 2012. We've come a long way since the Tea Party was a rag tag army of sign waving Gadsden flag holding members of the "mob" in a field protesting the government. Those who criticize them today fail to recognize the potential for tomorrow.
The time has come to continue to move forward. We've done so much good so far.
We had a great victory last night. But it was a politically bloody battle. We took casualties. We crushed our opponents. We took the gavel from Pelosi. We took Obama's Senate seat. We won crucial governorships in Ohio and Florida among other states. We achieved the ultimate objective of taking the House.
Yes, we didn't take out Harry Reid. Yes, we lost Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell. Miller and Rossi may also be lost. Carly Fiorina was badly wounded, but she will be back. It wasn't a totally pretty win. But it was a solid win.
It was also the next phase in the evolution of Sarah Palin whose great victories give her more clout than ever before and whose toughest losses give her a more clearer and more concise picture of what needs to be fixed as she moves forward to possibly running for president in 2012. These are all good things. If someone wants to shoot off their mouths and criticize the Tea Party or criticize Sarah Palin, that is simply stinking thinking. Success is not a destination, but rather a journey. Statues have been erected for those who have succeeded in the past. But you never see a statue erected for a critic.
It's time to move forward. We are advancing. Stage 2 is the big one. And, it's only two years away.
Enjoy the banquet today. Tomorrow we saddle up for the next big battle.
For more, check out this excellent article by Cubachi:
Last night was a win for the Tea Party, conservatism, and mama grizzlies