Conservatives didn’t just gain seats on Election Day, they gained pro-life, pro-marriage members to fill them.
"At least 78 House and Senate candidates would – if given the opportunity – vote to make abortion illegal under all circumstances," wrote distraught liberal columnist Will Neville. "Two years from now, we will look back on November 2, 2010, as the day that voters ushered in the most pro-life, anti-sex education, anti-gay, anti-family planning Congress in our nation’s history."
Well, if it only were so! One thing that drove voters to the polls this time was their revulsion with Obama’s rush to transform America into an anything-goes European nanny state. But behind the scenes, there’s a civil war going on within the Republican Party. The country club elites invited the religious right into the GOP 30 years ago, but now are appalled that Christians don’t want anything to do with a continuation of the policies that put this nation into preposterous debt – even before the Obama trillion-dollar spending spree.
As election returns rolled in, the entrenched GOP establishment was patting itself on the back, clueless about what anger was driving voters to the polls. Was it Medicare reimbursement rates that sent grandmothers into the street at Tea Parties in Claremore, Oklahoma, and Branson, Missouri and all across America?
No, it was Obama’s headlong rush into taxpayer-funded abortion, homosexual curriculums in our schools and shoveling billions of dollars to Planned Parenthood and unions. It was public outrage at Obama attack on marriage.
Seventy-four judges were up for retention in Iowa – and only the three who imposed same-sex "marriage" on the state are now unemployed. That is no coincidence. Of the Maine legislators who redefined marriage in 2009, 22 woke up Wednesday morning without jobs.
In at least six state legislatures, where a push for same-sex "marriage" was imminent, Democrats lost their majorities. Say what you will, but the message is that there is a political price to pay. Exit polling from Concerned Women for America found that 62 percent of voters said one of the most important challenges America faces is "the decline of morality and values."
But are those in the Republican elite listening?
When the blame game begins over why Republicans lost several Senate seats they probably should have won, you can expect the Tea Party to receive its fair share. After all, they pushed Angle as well as Alaska’s Joe Miller and Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell, helping them win against moderate Republicans in the primaries.
But Angle and O’Donnell lost their races and, as of press time, Miller was trailing write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski in his election.
"The Republican Party did not win on November 2," writes former U.S. Senator Bob Smith (R-New Hampshire). "The Republican Party was the weapon of choice at the ballot box for millions of ordinary Americans to vent their dissatisfaction with leaders who were bankrupting America and passing mountains of debt on to their children and grandchildren.
"These people for the most part were not party activists, political operatives, big donors or Washington insiders.
"They were common sense working men and women who were fed up and simply sick and tired of our political leaders in both parties ignoring their pleas to return to constitutional government, exercise fiscal restraint, reduce the size of government and cut taxes on business and individuals to create more private sector jobs.
"Call them Tea Party activists or just plain concerned citizens, they are the winners," writes Smith. "This was an insurrection of determined citizens who decided to change the political landscape and in so doing changed America.
"Thomas Jefferson would have been inspired by these patriots!"
But not everyone was buying the Jefferson comparison. Predictably, the liberal media was in high gear. Liberal columnist Mark Leibovich called Tea Partiers a "cadre of high-fiving, Heineken toasting, Tea Party insurgents and Republican stalwarts."
Peppered throughout the news articles and network coverage, one finds such terms as right-wing "extremists" and "uncompromising zealots." The worse epithets came from the Republican elite. Former New Hampshire Senator John Sununu predicted proudly that the impact of the Tea Party senators will be "absolutely nothing."
He called the Tea Party as an "overblown story that is 180 degrees from the truth." The former senator said that only those who work with the establishment will be "deeply respected and successful."
That’s a recipe for disaster
The bottom line for Congress, Smith says, is: "The American people have elected you to rein in government, cut taxes and promote job growth and respect the Constitution. They mean business and will not tolerate a lack of commitment and action to accomplish these goals.
"They are not looking for moderation and compromise. They want real change in policy and in the way you conduct your business in Washington, D.C. If you do not deliver, you will be gone in a blink of an eye.
"Here is a bit of unsolicited but friendly advice from one who has been where you are headed:
"1. The media and the establishmentwill do all in their power to see that you fail. You will be mocked, marginalized and ignored. Do not be intimidated. Put principle over politics and do what you need to do. Let elections take care of themselves after you do the right thing. You do not have to interview with anyone just because they ask you. If you succeed with your agenda, you will get all the media attention that you need.
"2. All of you newly electedHouse and Senate members, whether Tea Party or not, immediately announce that you will not be campaigning to raise or accept campaign contributions until January of 2012. Keep the lobbyists out of your offices, hire strong, principled, professional staff and work hard to accomplish what you came here to do. You are thus telling your constituents that you came here to change America back to Constitutional government and fiscal sanity, not just to run again for re-election. This is going to be hard and difficult to do, but so was your election hard and difficult!
"3. Do not be afraid to speak upas a new member. Each of you has only one vote and they are all counted equally. Do not let establishment leaders and other members threaten you or flatter you into something you do not believe is the correct agenda or vote.
"4. Clearly set the agendathat you would like to accomplish in 2011 and make sure all party leaders and your colleagues understand it clearly. Get votes on these items even if the President vetoes them. The American people would welcome gridlock, if you demonstrate that you want to stop the spending, repeal government run health care, end the bailouts and stimulus money, reduce corporate and individual income taxes and stop more attacks on our constitutional form of government.
"Put all spending on the table for discussion. You cannot balance the budget by only cutting earmarks and other discretionary spending. Yes, that includes entitlements, corporate subsidies, defense and ending the financial drain of illegal immigration.
"5. Call for a conferencemeeting or a retreat of 50 to 100 of the most successful business leaders in America. Task them to give you some ideas on how we can kick the economy back into gear and create more jobs. You should look at some degree of privatization of education, infrastructure, space, energy and other innovative technologies. Part of this discussion should be a plan for incentives to encourage companies to bring trillions of dollars of capital, sent abroad to avoid taxes and penalties, back to America for new investment and job growth. Business leaders will be flattered to be asked and you never know what they might bring forth.
"The American people are counting on all of you! If you succeed, historians will look back decades from now and write that America returned to the principles and policies of our Founders with the elections of 2010. Given our current crisis, failure is not an option."
"We saw the beginning of the moral re-awakening on November 2 when three Iowa Supreme Court justices who had made a ruling allowing homosexual ‘marriage’ lost their seats in a popular revolt," writes columnist Jonah Knox.
"With the country focused on the increasingly precarious economic and financial situation that faces our nation, it is tempting to ignore the moral decline of America and the accelerating assault on our traditional cultural institutions, such as the family.
"The good news is that reports are emerging that the Tea Party movement, having focused the nation’s attention on the economic crisis, is turning its attention to the moral crisis. They are recognizing that America’s economic strength has to rest on a moral foundation. This is welcome news indeed."
Independents and people 65 and older are two pivotal voting blocs neither party can afford to lose. On Election Day, Democrats had alienated both.
For seniors, a group that takes voting seriously, Obama’s health care overhaul legislation was a driving issue. Fifty-three percent said the measure should be repealed – and almost all of this group backed Republican House candidates on Election Day.
Independents, senior citizens
Voters over 65 were also the likeliest age group to consider themselves Tea Party supporters, with almost half – 49 percent – saying they back the conservative movement. Nine in 10 of them voted Republican on Election Day.
Independents seemed especially upset with Obama and took it out on Democrats, voting Republican for the first time since 1998. Over half said the president’s policies will hurt the country, and independents saying their vote represented opposition to Obama more than doubled those saying they were signaling support for him.
More than a third of GOP votes came from the South, the most Republican-friendly region of the country by far. Democrats’ votes came in near equal proportions from the East, Midwest, South and West.
"Washington will be different after this week’s midterm elections," writes Jonathan Strong, who covers Congress for The Daily Caller, a daily Internet news site.
But the issue to watch will be whether the Republican establishment subverts and intimidates the Tea Party newcomers. For about 12 hours after maverick conservative Christine O’Donnell won Delaware’s Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Only it was the Republicans who were fretting. O’Donnell had defeated a liberal Republican congressman.
All the mainstream media analysts were trumpeting their delight that she could not possibly win in the general election – and that Republican hopes to take over the Senate were lost.
On Election night, euphoric that they had hung onto the Senate, Democrats were relieved for two reasons. They still controlled the Senate. And, it appeared, the Tea Party was ripping the Republican Party in two.
After O’Donnell’s primary win, a spokesman for the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee bitterly declared that the national GOP would neither fund nor support O’Donnell’s campaign or her candidacy. He also lashed out at South Carolina Republican Senator Jim DeMint, who had backed O’Donnell over Republican Congressman Mike Castle.
"I hope Senator DeMint is enjoying his short-lived victory tonight because many Republicans look forward to when he has to look his colleagues in the eye post-November 2 and explain why he helped cost them a critical Republican vote," the GOP aide said. "Clearly, he’s doing a great job achieving his arrogant goal of 30 pure Senate seats instead of a Republican majority. I’m sure Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer appreciate his hard work."
DeMint, however, has no apologies
"I want to congratulate," he said. "She wasn’t afraid to stand up to the establishment and she overcame some pretty nasty attacks."
The establishment DeMint was referring to was the national Republican hierarchy. DeMint had challenged them to rally behind their party’s new candidate.
But the GOP power brokers would have none of it.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee issued a brief, begrudging statement after the primary, congratulating O’Donnell on her win, but left the impression with several journalists that they would not be spending any money in Delaware. Nor did they. And so, she lost.
Veteran Democratic strategist Paul Begala, eyeing the tumult among his opponents on the right, captured the moment this way: "For the Republican Party, and the establishment hierarchical corporate party, this is the French Revolution."
Many Democrats, such as Senator Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat and chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, were jubilant.
Internet commentator and DailyKos founder Markos Moulitsas put it more bluntly. "Thanks teabaggers! Very kind of you," he declared on the social networking site Twitter.
Others, like Democratic strategist Peter Daou, were more cautious.
"Democrats keep cheering for the so-called ‘crazy Republican’ to win. They’re misreading the mood of the nation," he wrote on Twitter.
He was right
"And so it begins," observed veteran political writer Frank Salvato. "The establishment Republican Party has loaded the gun and is now pointing the barrel directly at its own foot; a situation all too familiar for those of us who, in the past, have watched the Republican Party snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
"How they are handling the Tea Party movement – or, rather, how they are trying to manhandle the Tea Party movement – is a perfect example. In the end, victory or defeat will hinge on whether or not the establishment GOP party leaders shake off the stench of arrogance and elitism."
The revolution has begun, says Salvato, "and the establishment GOP had better get behind it. To do anything else is to flirt with relegating the Grand Old Party to third party status.
"The Tea Party is winning big," writes economist Peter Morici. "Voters are disgusted with a mess instigated by Washington. Leaders of both major parties appear clueless."
The solution is not to declare the Tea Partiers the enemy.
"The aftermath is being discussed and analyzed by all the pundits," writes Christian author Bill Wilson. "Headlines say that TEA Party supported candidates scored big. Establishment Republicans are beside themselves as they are seeing their grip on the party slip away to unrefined, unsophisticated TEA Party neophytes.
"Tea Party candidates are relying on the common sense and decency. These are not radical Communists, but rather peaceful Americans trying to take their country back. They are attacking the Republican Party because it is a party fractured by establishment liberals and grassroots conservatives. The Democratic Party is united in liberalism."
And both parties are doomed if they can’t figure out what the voters want.
"To turn the country away from humanist Socialist policies," writes Wilson, "the only political hope is found in moving to the right – where the voters are."
"The Republican establishment has lectured us about being loyal to ‘the cause’ – by which they mean their questionable leadership," writes Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. The embarrassment of seeing liberal Republicans switch sides whenever it advances their political ambitions "is not new for the Republican Party," writes Perkins. "It’s something I’ve witnessed first hand. The difference is that this time, conservative voters have had enough.
DeMint notes how the Republican establishment said "Pat Toomey was too conservative when we backed him over Arlen Specter. They were wrong.
"They said the same thing about Marco Rubio and Rand Paul.
"If there is one thing we have learned this year," said DeMint, "it’s that we cannot count on the leadership in Washington to elect the kind of leaders our nation needs.
"We’re going to have to engage the process.
"And we’re going to have to do it ourselves."