Much will be made about last night's election. Massive Republican gains across the board will properly be celebrated by some, but countered by others who think those gains might have been more if we'd just chosen the "right" candidates.
You see, to some in the Washington establishment - only they are smart enough to know who the right candidate is. We must have candidates who "can win," they say. They will focus on Senate races in Colorado, Nevada and Delaware, in particular, as examples of candidates gone wrong. Of course, in so doing, they will gloss over those conservatives who shook the establishment to its core en route to victory, such as Mike Lee in Utah, Marco Rubio in Florida, Rand Paul in Kentucky and Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania.
But all of this completely misses the point.
The point is that the Washington establishment does not get to decide who we send to Washington to represent us, and it's not enough to be a Republican, you must actually believe in the Constitution and limited government.
Of course, it is hardly surprising that in the face of massive establishment resistance and on the back of a Senate Republican Conference that never defined what it actually stood for, some of the insurgent "upstarts" fell short. And yes, in the end, we didn't get everything we wanted last night. But, it's ok. Do you realize what we've accomplished here? We picked up huge numbers of seats across the country and in the process, we've added a number of real conservatives to the mix. We've advanced the cause of liberty - and we've sent a message that this was only the first step of many more to come. It takes hard work to move the ball, and we've done it.
And now, we turn to the future by ignoring the establishment calls for pragmatism and the need to "vet" candidates," and instead, we double down on freedom.
As we look forward, it is a total misreading of a few close losses last night to suggest that a conservative "can't win" in one state or district vs. another. It's a false choice and mistakenly suggests that we must somehow calibrate the appropriate level of "conservativeness" for every race in the nation. How is that possible? Do you believe in the Constitution or not? Do you believe in freedom or not? Do you want to cut the size and scope of government or not?
Some have suggested that Republicans are now, in essence, on "probation." Marco Rubio, I believe, suggested that this represents a "second chance," for Republicans. This is correct.
Republicans have a chance to demonstrate that they actually want to reduce the size and scope of government and to stop the madness that has for too long defined the "leadership" coming from Washington. Republicans have a chance to prove that they are worthy of our trust.
If they do not, they will face opposition and a primary challenge. And we begin now. Erick posted a list earlier today of the current Senators up in 2012. These incumbents do not get a free pass. There will be a new crop of limited government conservatives who are willing to step to the plate and challenge these folks as needed - and they should.