Those pesky tea party members have a disconcerting habit of scoring great victories immediately after establishment politicians or the mainstream media declare the movement dead. Conservatives in Indiana fondly relish that resilience since the result here was the primary victory of state Treasurer Richard Mourdock over “moderate Republican” U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar.
Now it turns out the Mourdock victory was somewhat of a model for tea party efforts in the rest of the country. Tea party Senate candidates are surging from Wisconsin to Nebraska, Missouri to Texas. Ted Cruz’s come-from-behind trouncing of longtime Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the Texas GOP primary was the greatest victory yet.
The growing success of the tea party movement has some folks downright worried. Goodness, if all those conservatives kick out the moderates, the Senate will get downright partisan!
“The infusion of new conservative blood could alter the complexion of the Senate,” frets The New York Times, “increasing the sorts of conflicts between moderates and far-right Republicans disinclined toward compromise that have characterized the House for two years.”
“Disinclined toward compromise”! Tsk, tsk!
It naturally wouldn’t occur to anyone at the Times that one possible outcome might be a more fiscally responsible Senate. If tea party support propels Republicans to Senate control the way it propelled them to House control, we might even end up with a conservative-majority Congress. Then maybe – not definitely, just maybe – the federal government could be trimmed back to something resembling reasonable size.
In case anybody needs reminding:
The federal debt now stands at nearly $16 trillion and is growing by $4 billion a day.
The federal deficit will be more than $1 trillion this year for the fifth year in a row.
Federal entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare have unfunded liabilities of $84 trillion.
Facing all this dire economic news, congressional leaders announced a budget compromise that will set spending levels through March at $4 billion more than last year.
The United States is headed for a fiscal cliff our current leadership seems not interested in turning back from. The federal government is getting ever bigger – it has now grown to 2.15 million workers – and has ever more control over more and more aspects of our lives. With Obamacare, the size, cost and intrusiveness of Washington power will all grow enormously.
“Disinclined toward compromise”? Heaven help us all if there isn’t a critical mass of such ideologues in Washington after the November election.