In a matter of days, we will wake up in a changed America. Some say it will be a country that has changed back. I certainly hope not.
While it is vital to put the brakes on the lurch we have taken toward outright socialism these last two years, the remedy is not a return to pre-2008 America.
While we had not yet squandered a trillion dollars on a useless stimulus and had not begun handing over health care to the government, the America of the Bush and Clinton years still leave much to be desired in the explosion of the size, scope and cost of government. If we are going to wrestle much of that government from the hands of Democrats who have shocked even their own voters with their radical recklessness, I surely do not want the reins handed over to the type of Republican willing accomplices who set the stage for them.
That stage was set with years of bipartisan inattention to our debt, our borders and our Constitution. Democrats will feel the sharpest thrust of the tea party Election Day sword, but the message has also gone out to weak-willed Republicans: You too are part of the problem.
For years, we have seen Republicans proud to find “common ground” with Democrats. That kind of Republican has found favor with party elites who don’t want to be bothered with the messy business of actually dealing with our nation’s massive problems.
Finally – and it took the Obama administration to do it – Republican voters, joined by millions of independents, are ready to deliver a swift kick not just to Democrats who fed the government monster but to Republicans who helped them.
The primary season dealt extinction blows to more than a few Republicans who marched into battle with the party elites’ seal of approval. Those elites have no idea what to do about tea party passions. They talk a good game about valuing the votes that will oust Nancy Pelosi as House speaker, but they are shaking in their boots about what comes afterward.
And that is the expectation that they will keep promises of limited, constitutional government. Gone are the days when the GOP will earn brownie points for simply restraining the growth of government. When Republicans can expect partial credit for throwing a few tough questions at activist judicial nominees, then voting for them. When Republicans can talk tough about our borders without actually doing anything to strengthen them.
Should the election go as expected, what will the Republican Party do with all of this new momentum and clout? It is only partially earned. There were indeed Republicans who predicted the disasters that would unfold with the Obama years, and there were more who sniffed it out quickly and helped lead a charge against it.
But the real engine that will loft Republicans to a majority in the House and maybe even in the Senate was not born amid the leather and mahogany of the Republican power structure. It was born at tea party rallies across the 50 states, a fire lit by voters of many stripes who have had it up to their eyeballs with government run amok.
So Republicans will have plenty to celebrate the morning of Nov. 3. So will every American who has been repelled by the expansionist excesses of the first half of the Obama term.
But the new Republicans taking the oath in January should know from the outset that voters did not put them there to forge alliances across the aisle, because across the aisle are the people who have led us to the abyss of financial ruin. This GOP freshman class is there to stop this madness, not become an accessory to it like some of their predecessors.
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