E. J. Dionne is blathering like an idiot. In fact he is a well paid blathering idiot. His take on the current political climate? The Tea Party is a scam.
Just recently, tea party victories in Alaska and Delaware Senate primaries shook the nation. In Delaware, Christine O'Donnell received 30,563 votes in the Republican primary, 3,542 votes more than moderate Rep. Mike Castle. In Alaska, Joe Miller won 55,878 votes for a margin of 2,006 over incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is now running as a write-in candidate.You know E.J. in military parlance what has happened so far is called preparing the battlefield. i.e. setting up conditions favorable to the desired outcome. Smaller government. Lower taxes. The two sides of the income = outgo equation.
Do the math. For weeks now, our national political conversation has been driven by 86,441 voters and a margin of 5,548 votes. A bit of perspective: When John McCain lost in 2008, he received 59.9 million votes.
Earlier this year, much was made of the defeat of Sen. Bob Bennett, a Utah conservative insufficiently conservative for the tea party. Bennett lost not in a primary but at a Republican convention attended by all of 3,500 delegates.
Even in larger states, the tea party's triumphs were built on small shares of the electorate. Rand Paul received 206,986 votes in Kentucky, where there are more than 1 million registered Republicans and nearly 2.9 million registered voters. Sharron Angle won with 70,452 votes in Nevada, a state with more than 1 million registered voters.
But then come the commenters. I'm not going to spoil your fun by quoting any of them. Just go read for a page or two. Then we will let Mr. Dionne get back to us on 3 Nov. to explain what it all means. Probably something on the order of, "America has been hijacked by a small fringe group of crazy radicals who conned the voters." The truth of that proposition will be tested on a November day in 2012. We shall see then won't we?