ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight wrote this column appearing November 5, 2010 on The Washington Times website.
The morning after Election Day, the lead story in the Washington Post’s Style section was headlined: “The first frost coats Election Day with symbolism.”
Yes, the D.C. area got its first frost on the very day that voters sent Obama’s hope for a socialist America into a cooler, if not a deep freeze.
“In this moment of political realignment, to one voter, dormancy is a healthy pause; to another it’s a return to paralysis,” wrote the Post’s gardening writer, Adrian Higgins.
It’s not hard to figure out which garden party Mr. Higgins digs: “The cycles of nature do indeed come to define the political vicissitudes of Washington: change, growth, retreat.”
Well, 2008 brought change, all right. And growth – in government, with a quarter-million new bureaucrats, a national debt of nearly $14 trillion and rising and nationalized health care. But the fun can’t go on forever, and the frost aptly symbolizes the Capitol mood among the donkeys.
Mr. Higgins talked to an Arizona couple who had lingered in Washington after the Oct. 30 left-wing mockfest Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear staged by Comedy Central on the Mall. They weren’t laughing Wednesday. Touring the National Arboretum, the woman of the pair shared this wistful thought: “Maybe you can draw a connection between the time it takes to grow a tree and build a human community.”
To liberals, our 234-year-old republic isn’t a nation of human communities but rather a sorry collection of misfits who need ever more government. Those misfits sent quite a message on Tuesday, however, which ran far deeper than the Republican tide.
Evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics turned out in droves, many of them supporting Tea Party candidates and initiatives. A post-election survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for the Faith and Freedom Coalition reports that self-identified evangelicals made up nearly 30 percent of the total vote and cast 78 percent of their ballots for Republicans. The survey also indicated that 52 percent of self-identified members of the Tea Party movement are born-again evangelicals. Roman Catholics, who had voted Democratic in 2006 and 2008, broke for the GOP in 2010, with 54 percent overall and nearly 60 percent of white Catholics voting for Republicans, according to a Pew Forum survey.
Given the nation’s economic crisis and health care takeover, the Tea Parties have concentrated on fiscal issues. It would be a huge mistake to conclude that they care only about money. They’re worried for their kids and grandkids.
The Tea Party/Christian surge helped the GOP sweep the South, and the gains were so big in the Midwest that one wag called it the “Rust Belt Rout.” Pro-life winners included Pennsylvania’s new senator-elect, Pat Toomey, and the former and now future Indiana Sen. Dan Coats.
The GOP also took a majority of governor’s races and gained control of at least 20 more state assemblies, senates or both. In South Carolina, pro-life Nikki Haley overcame a vicious smear campaign to win. Even in liberal Maine, voters elected a pro-life governor, Paul LePage, and gave Republicans control of the state House and Senate.
In Iowa, voters dispatched three of the state Supreme Court justices who had struck down Iowa’s marriage law – Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Justices David Baker and Michael Streit. The other four judges were fortunate not to be on the ballot.
In Oklahoma, voters approved a constitutional amendment prohibiting judges from applying Islamic Shariah law.
Constitutional amendments passed in Arizona and Oklahoma allowing residents to opt out of certain provisions in Obamacare. Arizona voters also passed, with 60 percent of the vote, an initiative prohibiting racial preferences in the state’s public institutions, including universities.
Four initiatives to legalize marijuana went up in smoke. California’s Proposition 19, which left-wing billionaire George Soros promoted heavily, failed by 54 percent to 44 percent. Initiatives involving legalized medical marijuana also failed in Arizona, South Dakota and Oregon.
Voters rejected 10 of the 13 “Stupak Democrats” who were billed as pro-life but had voted for Obamacare despite no anti-abortion-funding language in the final bill. Five Democrats whom pro-lifers called the “flip-flop five” and first voted for Obamacare and then voted “no” the next time also were defeated.
In Pennsylvania, Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy, who sponsored a House bill overturning the military’s ban on homosexuality, was defeated, as was Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak, who was running for the U.S. Senate and had wanted to be the bill’s prime sponsor, according to Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness.
“Both candidates tried to disguise their extreme social liberalism with military uniforms they had previously worn,” Mrs. Donnelly said.
California remains a liberal bastion, with voters electing Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown as governor, re-electing Sen. Barbara Boxer and rejecting a measure that would have saved the state from its own idiotic and draconian carbon-curbing (and job killing) law. Elsewhere, Sen. Harry Reid in Nevada and Rep. Barney Frank in Massachusetts were re-elected, as were some other left-of-Trotsky liberals. But most of the rest of the nation seems to have broken the “progressive” stranglehold.
The frost is on the liberal pumpkin, and it’s likely to get a lot colder.