According to the GOP establishment, the failure of the Republicans winning control of the Senate was due to the Tea Party, laying the blame on candidates such as Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, and Ken Buck. Of course in order for that claim to be accurate; Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Ron Johnson should have also lost as they were Tea Party backed candidates, nevertheless they won. The question that is being ask is, “Did the Tea Party cost the Republicans the Senate?” however when weighted with the massive GOP wins in State Assemblies, Governorships, and in the House of Representatives, the true question that emerge is “Did the GOP deserve the Senate?”
The answer is a resounding no. In the past two years we saw Republican Senators hand deliver President Barack Obama’s legislation victories. Let’s start with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Stimulus bill), the House Republicans opposed it adamantly, however in the Senate, when the Democrats were one seat short of a filibuster proof majority, 3 senators could have changed the bill, or even help defeat it. Senators Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, and then Republican, Arlen Specter all crossed party lines and voted for the Stimulus bill. They could have demanded more tax cuts, demanded that the bill was read, however they decided the limelight and the illusion of power was more important than the price the American people had to pay. Shortly thereafter, Arlen Specter joined the Democratic Party and became the 60th vote for the Democrats. (This became a lock following Al Franken’s victory over Norm Coleman) The moderate Republican changed parties for political reasons. Fast forward to today, should the Republicans had won a simple majority of 51 seats, what would have stopped Olympia Snowe and/or Susan Collins from switching parties due to the GOP’s shift further to the right? That was strike one.
Then with Healthcare reform, while the Senate Republicans held tight together during the final votes, it should be reminded, it were Republican votes that brought that bill onto the floor in the first place. In the Senate Finance Committee, the Baucus Bill passed Committee because of 1 Republican vote, Olympia Snowe’s. On House Side, only one republican voted with Nancy Pelosi after the Democrats secured enough votes, and because the House version of the bill passed, Congressman Joseph Cao isn’t returning for 112th congress. It was also the House Republicans who greeted the Tea Party on the Capitol on 9-12. Following the election of the 41st Senator Scott Brown, the House passed the Senate Bill to avoid the possible filibuster due to Brown’s election victory. Without Snowe’s yes vote in that Committee, it is possible that Obamacare would have never became law. Strike Two.
Speaking of Scott Brown, his first vote at the Senate was with Democrats, and it doesn’t end well with him. Because of him, and the GOP Senators from Maine, The Frank-Dodd Financial Reform Bill passed the Senate and was sent to Obama’s desk. So once again, a Moderate Republican assisted Obama in passing bills that would fundamentally change the United States of America. For most Americans, especially Tea Partiers, Brown’s vote for Financial Reform was strike three.
Because of the actions, and votes, of Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and Scott Brown, the compromise and acceptance of Moderate/Liberal Republicans ended for the Tea Party. And during their votes, comments from Lindsey Graham willing to meet Obama more than half way on Illegal Immigration reform and his teaming up with John Kerry on Cap and Trade legislation was just adding more fuel to the fire. Insanity is defined by doing the same thing over and over, hoping for a different result; voting and electing Moderate/Liberal Republicans, after the actions of those already in the Senate, would have been classified as insanity. Luckily the Tea Partiers aren’t insane.
Instead of complaining about the 3 to 4 seats Republicans lost on Tuesday, they should be celebrating the 6 Senate seats the Republican gains, and the benefits of having Harry Reid back as Majority Leader. West Virginia Senator-elect Manchin said he would not vote for Reid as Majority Leader, now we can see if he keeps his word. Also with the Democratic Senate, and a Democratic President, when the Republican House passes bills to repeal healthcare, cut spending, and ban earmarks, should the Senate and, or Obama block/veto those bills, who will receive the “Party of No” label? Should there be a Government shutdown because Obama refuses to move to the center, will the label be “Do-nothing Congress?” or will it be, “Uncompromising President?” Perhaps the Tea Party is taking a lesson from the history books. In 1946 Republicans won the House and the Senate in historic numbers, two years later, the 40 year Democratic rule began. Maybe keeping the Senate in Democrat’s hands will help prevent Republicans from repeating 1948.
Republican “Elites” blame the Tea Party for costing them the Senate, yet it was that very movement that led to a 60+ seat gain for House Republicans, 10 gubernatorial wins and almost 700 Republican State Legislators into victory on Tuesday night. Republicans now have control of redistricting in key states, in 2012 the Democrats will have more Senate seats at stakes, and those include seats in Red States. Perhaps Trent Lott, Lindsey Graham, and the GOP Senate Establishment should look elsewhere for their reason why the Senate Republicans remain in the minority; maybe they should be looking into a mirror.