Some conservative activists are already salivating over primaries against senators Brown, Snowe, and Lugar in 2012. But the Tea Party has professed to be solely about fiscal discipline, not social issues, on which many claimed to be libertarian. By this standard, votes to end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell should be applauded, while prospective Tea Party challenges should be directed at big spenders like Mississippi’s Thad Cochran, the No. 1 pork-barreler and earmarker in the Senate for several years running. The fight to reduce the deficit and the debt will be the big action item of the new year, and I think you’ll see most of the new Senate Republican centrists supporting serious steps toward fiscal responsibility, like entitlement reform and tax reform. They again will be in a position to drive the agenda and might prove to be essential bridges between fiscal conservatives and Obama.
The last two weeks have shown that this lame duck could fly, but that’s not all. It is a positive harbinger for the next two years. Not that all will be sweetness and light—there are plenty of snakes in the grass. But nonetheless it is a reminder that divided government does not have to mean gridlock. It is a reminder that we can move our country not left or right but forward.