Many Lessons in 2010 Midterm Election

As I was watching returns last night, I recalled a conversation I had with Jeff Frazee and another prominent beltway r3volutionary about three years ago.  The topic was the US House of Representatives and how to create a functional Constitutionalist base within that body.  We figured out that over 90% of the House votes (in 2006) were determined by less than 30 members.   For me, the story is not the Republican victory, but the Constitutionalist victory.  I’ll need a couple of days to determine how many seats we actually won, but the foot is in the door.

The same holds for the Senate.  Paul, Johnson, Lee, Rubio, Toomey, and Demint won.  There is now a TEA Party caucus that can prevent any legislation from coming to the floor.  I have been arguing that this is actually a better outcome than an outright win in the Senate.  Why?  Republicans have achieved functional control of legislation without making a Republican Senate the President’s straw man.   In other words, Obama can’t blame the “do-nothing” Senate for his legislative failures and Republican successes.  In two years, 21 Democrats are up for re-election, but only 12 Republicans.  By losing now, Republicans created an opportunity to score a filibuster-proof in 2012.

I am also encouraged by the TEA Party candidates that lost.  That might seem like a stunning statement, but the reality is that not all candidates are created equally and the class of 2010 TEA Party losers richly deserve those losses.  Of the three TEA Party candidates that we know have lost (O’Donnell, Angle, Buck), two made their Christian Constructionist views prominent in their campaigns (the Earth is 10,000 years old, the Bible is literally true, etc.).  Buck lost the election in Colorado ten days ago when he declared that homosexuality is more like the flu than a function of biology on a Sunday talk show. 

I respect their right to their views, but the reality is that social conservatism is a drag on the message of restrained government, lower debt and taxes, and more personal liberty.  By making these views part of their campaigns, they proved the importance of message disipline.  I hope, regardless of our personal religious views that we recognize that those views should inform our personal values, but not our macro-messaging.

Finally, I want to note that some prominent neo-con TEA Partiers are also heading to defeat including John McCain’s pet, Jesse Kelly in AZ, and Joe Miller in AK.  The hypocrisy of opposing spending and big government at home while maintaining a foreign military empire is a challenge that we must answer.

For complete coverage of the election, my go-to sites are:  Real Clear Politics and National Review.  To track liberty candidates, check out the RLC’s results page.

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