The EFM Feature

I don’t know if Scott Brown will win tomorrow. I hope he will, but as a guy who lived in Massachusetts for three years, I know the power of the Democratic machine. Look what they did to Mitt in ’94 when Ted Kennedy was in peril. Look at the ferocity of their attacks now (I mean, did John Kerry actually warn of a “dangerous atmosphere” around Scott Brown rallies? Really?)
But regardless of tomorrow’s outcome, if you had asked any pundit in America this time last year if Ted Kennedy’s seat (I’m sorry, the people’s seat) would be in danger, they probably would have accused you of excessive drug use. Obama was about to be sworn in, and a new era in American politics was dawning. Conservatives were so . . . 2004.
But one year of grotesque overreaching later, and the world looks very different. And the Scott Brown campaign can help show us the way. No one is looking at him as some sort of conservative messiah. We’re over messiahs now. In practice, he represents a near-perfect channeling of the tea party movement into political reality. It’s a marriage of congenial, personable politician to strong conservative ideas.
When I think of the tea party movement, I think of ideas, not people. They’re standing in the front of the Obama machine yelling, “Stop!” But it’s not just a movement about “no;” it’s a movement about a particular vision of modest government — a government that stimulates the economy and the culture by maximizing liberty, not by command and control. It’s a movement that’s anti-elite not because we don’t believe in expertise but because we believe this “elite” is out of control, pretentious, and wrong.
To those who think it’s unlikely that a Mitt Romney-style Massachusetts politician could so well capture the spirit of the moment I think have misjudged the moment. We don’t want political messiahs. We want good ideas, conservative ideas. Soaring rhetoric matters less than excellence, and even the most well-intentioned government bureaucracy is no substitute for the unleashed entrepreneurial spirit of the American economy.


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