It’s no doubt that last Tuesday’s election was a historic one. After four years of Democratic control of both houses of Congress and two years of an administration that dragged the country leftward at an alarming rate, Republicans rode a wave of disillusionment with the policies of Barack Obama and his allies in Congress to decisive victories. The GOP gained over 60 House seats and chipped away at the Democratic majority in the Senate. Republicans also made major headway in governorships and other races at the state level. For Republicans, as well as for conservatives in general, it should have been a time of celebration.
However, as last week wore on, the Right was treated to the sound of certain Republican leaders carping about the “failure” of the 2010 midterm elections. Establishment Republicans like Senator Lindsey Graham and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott actually blamed the Tea Party and conservatives within the party for not nominating candidates that could win certain seats.
With tea party-backed candidates going down in Delaware, Colorado and Nevada, depriving Republicans of what would have been a 50-50 Senate, a bloc of prominent senators and operatives said party purists like Sarah Palin and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) had foolishly pushed nominees too conservative to win in politically competitive states…
“Candidates matter,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “It was a good night for Republicans but it could have been a better one. We left some on the table…”
Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott put it plainly: “We did not nominate our strongest candidates…”
“It’s like you’re on the five-yard line ready to score and the quarterback calls the play and some member of your team tackles one of your members and keeps you from scoring,” [an unnamed] senator said. “We came tantalizingly close to a majority.”
And so it went, with more moderate, establishment-type Republicans complaining about what could have been, rather than reveling in the big victory handed to them.
Now, I’m not a party man. Although I was happy with quite some results last week, I’m an ideological conservative, rather than a hardcore Republican. (Just being able to refer to Nancy Pelosi as “former Speaker of the House” is worth it all.) And I saw so many things that should excite conservatives when it comes to these elections. Here are five big reasons: