One of the odd things about this year's election was how much attention was garnered by what turned out to be some some rather unimportant candidates, like Christine O'Donnell and that Nazi re-enactor guy. In truth, there was a wide variety among even those identified as Tea Party candidates -- some of whom were genuinely nuts, and some of whom were really just ordinary Republicans who saw the opportunity to jump on board a fast-moving train. That's true even of those who got elected. Rand Paul, for instance, doesn't seem to be all that smart, knows virtually nothing about government, and is nearly impossible to imagine turning into an effective legislator.
There's an old adage that there are two kinds of legislators, "work horses" and "show horses," those who get things done, and those who give speeches and preen for the camera. It's not really as simple as that -- there are some who do both and plenty who do neither. But the division is certainly there, and in the GOP, it's going to get starker. There are a couple of reasons why.
As Barack Obama is looking for reasons not to feel bad today, one thing he's probably thinking about is that a number of his predecessors faced something very similar -- steep losses in their first midterms -- yet nevertheless went on to win re-election easily. And what enabled them to do that? The main reason is pretty simple: an improving economy. Politics is obviously complicated, but nothing matters more. Let's look at a picture:
A couple of weeks ago, I argued that this election was going to cause more polarization, because you'd have a lot of incredibly conservative Republicans getting elected and a lot of moderate-to-conservative Democrats losing. Lo and behold, that's what happened. In particular, the Blue Dogs who have made life so miserable for the Democratic leadership were pretty much decimated:
Well this is odd. In reaction to a Politico story about other Republicans worried about the consequences of her running for president, Sarah Palin -- in what seems to be a perpetual snit about the fact that people criticize her -- e-mailed the Daily Caller her complaint, including this riff on the fact that Politico used anonymous sources: