I love foreign affairs, foreign policy issues, international news, etc. But I also enjoy peeking around the corner to understand foreign perspectives on American events – particularly politics. The London Daily Telegraph is always a great source. And this article by Janet Daley is more introspective in terms of Tuesday’s elections than any American source I have read. It’s amazing how much clarity is realized from the outside looking in.
More than three centuries ago, the residents of America staged a rebellion against an oppressive ruler who taxed them unjustly, ignored their discontents and treated their longing for freedom with contempt. They are about to revisit that tradition this week, when their anger and exasperation sweep through Congress like avenging angels. This time the hated oppressor isn’t a foreign colonial government, but their own professional political class.
Daley appropriately identifies the Tea Party movement as a grassroots reaction against the political establishment rather than some arm of the Republican Party. And she correctly identifies the terms of the Tea Party’s tentative support of the GOP in this election in her evaluation of the upcoming midterm elections.
My Republican friends, perhaps surprisingly, were not gloating. They were too furious. But contrary to the superficial British assumption (heavily promoted by the BBC), they were not devoting their excoriation exclusively to the Obama Administration – or even to its clique of Congressional henchmen, led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. That they were opposed to the Big State, European social democratic model of government which Obama had imported to Washington went almost without saying. But they were at least as angry with the leadership of their own party for having conceded far too much of the argument…..
So the Republicans are, if anything, as much in revolt against the establishment within their own party as they are against the Democrats. And this is what the Tea Parties (which should always be referred to in the plural, because they are not a monolithic movement) are all about: they are not just a reaction against a Left-liberal president but a repudiation of the official Opposition as well.
Assuming that the GOP benefits resoundingly from voter anger on Tuesday, the Republican leadership should be fully aware that this mandate is not a response to their establishment policies or agenda. It is not even an endorsement of the GOP platform. Their mandate will come from a total rejection of Obama, Reid and Pelosi’s attempts to push Big Government. And many of the voters who put the GOP into power will be independent voters, unaffiliated with either political party.
I am socially conservative on most all issues. I also want a strong miltary and an emphasis on national defense (independents won’t disagree with this). But this election is about the economy and overbearing government intrusion. And that intrusion finds itself creeping into many of the social causes that I hold dear. The thing that I hold in common with the frustrated independent voters is a desire to get the government out of our lives. This may seem libertarian, but is also a basic tenet of our nation’s founding principles.
It seems like voters are returning to those foundations in the face of the frightening alternative. The GOP will likely benefit from this phenomenom based on the philosophical underpinnings of the Republican Party in contrast to the Democrat philosophy of Obama, Pelosi and Reid. The GOP will be entrusted with a very specific mandate. And if they screw up like they did last time or misinterpret that mandate – I can assure you that the wrath from voters will be equally swift next time around.