For the second time in two years, the American people have delivered a message of change, a message that they think Washington is broken. In 2008, Barack Obama took that message into the White House but has, at least according to these polls, failed to deliver change that most Americans readily believe in.
Now, the conservative Tea Party movement is riding what Kentucky’s new Senator-elect Rand Paul called a “tidal wave” right into the halls of power to “get our government back.”
The change the Tea Party is proposing is, of course, very different from the agenda that Obama pursued. The question is whether the new kids on the block will be any more successful in handling the power they have now been granted.
Paul said the message he would take to Washington from day one was a message of “fiscal sanity, constitutionally limited government and balanced budgets.” That will be music to many voters’ ears, especially to people who felt that Obama had dangerously expanded the role of the government and presided over an alarming rise in spending and borrowing without curing the nation’s economic ills.
But the other message many Americans would like politicians to hear is for an end to the partisan bickering that has disfigured political debate and divided the country — that political, as well as fiscal, sanity would be restored. There was not much sign on Tuesday night that they would get it.