The Tea Party had some big wins and some embarrassing losses last night (calling Christine O'Donnell) but the movement that inspired people to get to the polls managed to grab some pretty good seats at the table.
While the Tea Party initially rallied in response to "big government spending," it has spun out to include all manner of people including racists, misogynists, and bigots. Some of the biggest offenders didn't win (Ken Buck), but others are now in positions of power.
So, Tea Party candidates, what are you going to do now?
Rand Paul - new Senator from Kentucky. Paul has promised to filibuster and vote against any unbalanced budget. Sure do wish Paul had been in place when President Bush started two expensive wars, cut taxes for the rich, and blew our budget surplus out of the water. Oh, wait. Paul is actually for extending the tax cuts to the rich. Hmm, how does this balanced budget thing work again?
Nikki Haley - new Governor of South Carolina. This feather in Sarah Palin's cap promises to maintain "conservative values" in South Carolina. Actually one of the least dramatic Tea Party candidates, in spite of the allegations of the affair -- which is de rigueur in South Carolina politics -- Haley should have no problem promoting her agenda in the conservative state.
Ron Johnson - new Senator from Wisconsin. This win hurt since it meant the ouster of Democrat Russ Feingold who famously crosses the aisle to partner with Republicans to push through legislation. Johnson doesn't believe in climate change, so we can expect him to fight against any legislation that helps protect the environment.
Jim DeMint - re-elected Senator from South Carolina. Really DeMint jumped on the Tea Party bandwagon since he was an incumbent. So far DeMint is credited with being the big daddy of the Tea Party Senators, and wants to form a pro-business coaltion with the other new Tea Party members of Congress, reaching out to them already and demanding they not accept plum committee assignments or be bought off with political favors. Good luck with that, Senator DeMint. First up on his agenda, extending the tax cuts to the rich. Because that's how you balance a budget.
Marco Rubio - new Senator from Florida. A Cuban-American, Rubio is anti-immigration, anti-health care bill, and pro-gun rights. This good-looking young Republican will go far -- with or without the Tea Party. While Rubio is a conservative with a right-wing agenda, he steers clear of the rabble rousing and looks for solutions, making him one of the least scary of the Tea Party winners.
Pat Toomey - new Senator from Pennsylvania. A Club for Growth member, Toomey is one of the most far right politicians on the scene. Expect Toomey to carry out the mission of the club, which is to attack Republicans who aren't conservative enough and accuse anyone who disagrees of being a communist. Major wingnut alert.
Are you excited or scared by the Tea Party wins?
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