For some reason, that “assuming the economy recovers” part gets short shrift in much of the editorial coverage today, despite exit polling that suggests the economy was far more than an addendum to last night’s result. Elsewhere in the Times, Ross Douthat uses his blog to say basically nothing.
Over at The Wall Street Journal, the editorial board has a lot to say:
Yes, the economy was the dominant issue and the root of much voter worry and frustration with Washington. But make no mistake, this was also an ideological repudiation of the Democratic agenda of the last two years. Independents turned with a vengeance on the same Democrats they had vaulted into the majority in the waning George W. Bush years, rejecting the economy-killing trio of $812 billion in stimulus spending, cap and tax and ObamaCare.
All of this reflects the epic overreach that has typified the House under Nancy Pelosi, who will now have one of the shorter speakerships on record. A Republican President, even a lame duck one in Mr. Bush, could hold the Democratic House’s worst instincts in check. But with the arrival of Mr. Obama, the party’s liberal barons, most of them creatures of the 1960s, unleashed all of the ambitions they had been forced to submerge during the post-Reagan era.
Say what you will about Rupert’s Journal, but you can’t deny the paper can still produce a blistering editorial. In typical Journal style, there are clearly outlined villains—Pelosi, Obama—and hallowed heroes—Reagan—swoon; and the language is strong, colorful, deliciously anti-Times stuff. There is no advice here, and hardly any looking forward or deep analysis. And there is certainly no evidence, in exit polls or anywhere else, to support the writers’ claims that last night was a mass repudiation of Godzilla and Mothra (Pelosi and Obama outside of the WSJ’s Sixth Ave HQ). But it sure beats the Times’s textbook-like list for an interesting read.
The same can be said for South Carolina senator Jim DeMint’s column in today’s Journal. DeMint offers some keen insights into just how the few Tea Partiers who were elected last night will behave in Congress—assuming they listen to their Dear Jim advice columnist.
Many of the people who will be welcoming the new class of Senate conservatives to Washington never wanted you here in the first place. The establishment is much more likely to try to buy off your votes than to buy into your limited-government philosophy. Consider what former GOP senator-turned-lobbyist Trent Lott told the Washington Post earlier this year: “As soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them.”
Someone isn’t going to be popular at the D.C. steakhouses this week. DeMint then gets into specific pieces of advice, the most specific being, “Do Nothing.”
First, don’t request earmarks. If you do, you’ll vote for legislation based on what’s in it for your state, not what’s best for the country. You will lose the ability to criticize wasteful spending. And, if you dare to oppose other pork-barrel projects, the earmarkers will retaliate against you.
Second, hire conservative staff. The old saying “personnel is policy” is true. You don’t need Beltway strategists and consultants running your office. Find people who share your values and believe in advancing the same policy reforms. Staff who are driven by conservative instincts can protect you from unwanted, outside influences when the pressure is on.
Third, beware of committees. Committee assignments can be used as bait to make senators compromise on other matters. Rookie senators are often told they must be a member of a particular committee to advance a certain piece of legislation. This may be true in the House, but a senator can legislate on any matter from the Senate floor.
Fourth, don’t seek titles. The word “Senator” before your name carries plenty of clout. All senators have the power to object to bad legislation, speak on the floor and offer amendments, regardless of how they are ranked in party hierarchy.
He ends by advising Tea Party Republicans to “put on their boxing gloves.”