Five big things the tea party has gotten right

1.) Nobody is entitled to hold any elected office. Politicians, it should go without saying, serve at the pleasure of their constituents. Sure, political parties have better things to spend their money on than infighting. But there is something seriously wrong with the idea that the only way an incumbent should leave office is in a pine box or a wave election washing in the opposing party.

Incumbents should fight to prove themselves worthy to their constituents just as much as anyone else. Consider Mitch McConnell. Before the tea party, he would have campaigned on bringing the bacon home to Kentucky. Instead he supported the drone filibuster; plotted to repeal Obamacare; opposed the proposed war in Syria; hired Ron and Rand Paul’s campaign manager; and voted for the younger Paul’s to-the-right-of Paul Ryan budget plan.

Whether he meant any of this is in the long term less important than whether Republicans feel compelled by their voters to behave in this manner. Scott Brown — arguably the least conservative politician elected under the tea party banner — had it right. It’s the people’s seat.