The real midterms result: Neo-conservatism is deadPosted on November 11, 2010
The media are now engaged in a frantic exercise in tail-chasing over what the result of the midterms really means.
It’s certain that the Democrats took quite a drubbing – particularly in the massive swing in the House of Representatives and the strong swing to the Republicans in many gubernatorial races, though less so in the Senate.
It was also a good night for the Tea Party both electorally and reputationally.
Electorally, the real posterboys of the movement – Rand Paul and Marco Rubio (whom I drew attention to back in September) romped home. The movement’s detractors claim these two don’t count, because they were fighting for seats with Republican incumbents, but that misses the point. Yes, they beat the Democrats but more crucially they beat the Republican establishment. These were victories for the Tea Party over the whole political establishment – that is why they matter so much.
Reputationally, the candidates that the media and the Tea Party’s critics wanted to be the face of the movement – people like Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell – lost. There are some burned TPM fingers as a result, but that is a lesson learned: don’t pick weirdos. The ability of voters to be selective and sensible whilst still backing the Tea Party has been demonstrated.
The most important result of all, though, is that last night represents a crushing defeat – particularly on the fiscal front – for neoconservatism.
The British stereotype that neocons are all about foreign policy is mistaken; that was tacked on to a previously isolationist philosophy after 9/11. In reality, the neocons’ most distinguishing ideological feature was a rejection of fiscal conservatism (opposition to deficits and support for balanced books, low tax and low spending) in favour of big spending, big debt and hang the consequences. That is why they and Obama are viewed as much of a muchness by most Tea Party activists and why the Tea Party began rolling in the Bush years, well before Obama’s election.
The Tea Party is an earthquake, and it is the neocons’ house that has come crashing down. The people have rejected big spending, government debt and deficit finance wholesale in favour of low taxes, spending cuts and an end to deficits.
The Republican establishment took a long time to realise this. Those who stuck to their deficit-financed guns have been swept away, and those who adapted are scrabbling to join the new consensus. Neoconservatism is dead – long live the Tea Party.
Tags: Barack Obama, Borrowing, Debt, Deficit, Democrats, Economics, Freedom, House of Representatives, Marco Rubio, Media, Midterms, Neoconservatism, opinion, Politics, public spending, Rand Paul, Republicans, Senate, Taxes, Tea Party, USA