After it was evident that the GOP would make huge gains in the House and Senate, the question on Election Eve was this: will the right light a peace pipe or a grenade when it comes to how they’ll deal with Democrats?
Though many pundits insisted that both sides would take a conciliatory tone and argued that right an left have no choice but to work together in the next two years, reality rained on their parade.
The GOP has moved to the right after a long stretch where they acted like big government liberals.
And the left has become even more progressive as conservative Democrats were defeated last night.
Any notion that Congress would be singing kumbaya with the White House was sorely mistaken. And for good reason.
For months the Democratic leadership has governed arrogantly and defiantly against the will of the people from the far left. They’ve ignored the key concern among voters – the economy – to score a legislative victory they’ve wanted for decades: universal, mandated healthcare no matter the costs –literally and figuratively.
When the people objected, Democrats didn’t get it. They discounted their concerns. When the people revolted, they still didn’t get it, and chose to insult the public’s lack of support instead as a weak understanding on their part as to what the bill actually does.
The Democratic leadership mimicked this behavior on spending and the stimulus, cap-and-trade and immigration as well, failing to acknowledge or even begin to understand that the policies they put forth weren’t working, and were hugely unpopular.
Last night, on November 2, the Democrats were punished for their actions. The people spoke. The message was that the madness had to be stopped and even though they weren’t necessarily the most palatable choice, Republicans were the only ones who could do it.
The GOP now views this powerful role of checks and balances very seriously. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) gave an indication as returns poured in that the GOP was willing to work together with Democrats, but would not compromise on their principles – which is exactly the message they need to send to show the coalition responsible for last night’s wins that they were listening.
While the GOP should not bend or fold, they must make sure they don’t fall into the same trap that Democrats did: looking distracted.
Speaker-elect Boehner has already said that priority number one was repealing Obamacare. While this is and should be a critical goal, fixing the economy must be their primary focus, with repeal and replace as a secondary mission.
There’s a saying in marriage: “Don’t go to bed angry; stay up and fight.” With 2010 resulting in a newly arranged marriage between the right and the left in government, now isn’t the time to rest angrily. The GOP needs to play hardball. In other words, stay up and fight.
The president might talk the talk, but it’s unlikely he’ll declare the end of big government at his next State of the Union address. He is likely to stay the current course and concede nothing. Republicans must make sure that when it comes to representing the will of the people, those who handed them this historic victory, they shouldn’t either.
Andrea Tantaros is a conservative commentator and Fox News contributor. Follow her on Twitter @andreatantaros.
Andrea Tantaros currently serves as co-host of Fox News Channel's The Five (weekdays 5-6 PM/ET). She joined the network as a contributor in 2010. Follow her on Twitter @andreatantaros or on Facebook.com/andreatantaros. Click here for more information on Andrea Tantaros.