Glenn Reynolds, to GOP: Don't Get Cocky, Kid
Glenn Reynolds, in a rare multi-paragraph Instapundit post, fires this shot across the bow of a morning-after GOP:
But while Scott Brown could get elected as the anti-Obama figure — and while others will be able to pull that off in the fall — the GOP needs to be sure that it doesn't just look like it's lining up for its turn at the trough. Polls show that most Americans want smaller government, even with fewer "services." Running on a platform that money's better kept in voters' own pockets, rather than handed over to special interest logrolling and vote-buying, will work: If it'll work in Massachusetts, it should work pretty much anywhere. It is a fashionably-gloomy line among some on the right to say that the country's too far gone in statism and the government-handout parasite culture to support such an approach — but again, if you can make it with this in Massachusetts, you can make it pretty much anywhere.
Of course, what the GOP apparat does is less important nowadays than it was. As I noted before, there's a whole lot of disintermediation going on here — Scott Brown got money and volunteers via the Internet and the Tea Party movement, to a much greater degree than he got them from the RNC. Smart candidates will realize that, too.
And lies don't work as well as they used to. Obama promised transparency and pragmatic good government, but delivered closed-door meetings and outrageous special-interest payoffs. This made people angry. If Republicans promise honesty and less-intrusive government, but go back to their old ways, the likelihood that the Tea Party will become a full-fledged third party is much greater. Are the Republicans smart enough to realize this? I don't know.
Probably unlike Reynolds, I wanted to reach through my TV and throttle Brown's handsome neck when he made his campaign one-liner last night about KILLING terrorists, not giving them LAWYERS! Also, the day I expect much of anything from your average elected Republican is, um, the day that has never happened. But there's something fun about angry anti-incumbency in nearly one-party states, and it's genuinely interesting to watch how the Tea Party tendency morphs and flows into the political system.