by Michael Maharrey
The sound of thundering elephant feet first began to resonate right here in the Bluegrass State.
Republicans picked up 61 seats in the U.S. House, and they could end up with as many as a 66 seats by the time its all said and done. Democrats will still control the Senate, but the GOP made gains there too, snapping up at least six seats. It was the biggest single election power shift in 70 years.
Here in Kentucky, Republicans rode the wave, gaining seats in both the Kentucky State House and Senate. The GOP took control of seven new House seats and strengthened its Senate majority with a two, perhaps three seat pickup.
While Republicans trumpet their victory, they would do well to ground themselves in an important reality. This election was not a ringing endorsement of the GOP. It was instead a repudiation of progressive ideology. It was a backlash against bailouts, deficits and federal health care mandates. It was a protest against rapidly expanding government power. The newest Kentucky Senator seems to understand the message sent by American voters on Tuesday.
â€œItâ€™s a message that I will carry with me on day one. Itâ€™s a message of fiscal sanity. Itâ€™s a message of limited Constitutional government and balanced budgets,â€ Paul said.
The hue in our nationâ€™s capitol shifted from dark blue to purple on Tuesday. This Republican tsunami, as some have called it, will certainly change the political landscape in Washington D.C. But if Republicans donâ€™t bring about some fundamental changes, this new crop of representatives will likely enjoy short careers. Senator elect Marco Rubio from Florida articulated the reality for Republicans perfectly.
â€œAnd we make a great mistake if we believe that tonight these results are somehow an embrace of the Republican Party. What they are is a second chance. A second chance for Republicans to be what they said they were going to be not so long ago.â€
The question remains. Will the GOP squander this second chance? Will GOP leaders do any better adhering to constitutional principles than their Democratic brethren? Are the American people suddenly safe from government overreach now that Republicans will have some say in Washington?
I fear not.
Many Republicans talk a good game when it comes to limiting government, and protecting defending the Constitution. But their track record doesnâ€™t quite live up to their rhetoric. If history teaches us anything, it reveals that federal power tends to expand unabated regardless of the party in charge in D.C.
We the people simply canâ€™t rely on Washington to solve our problems. Asking the federal government to reign in its own power is akin to asking a lion to quit hunting, or the fish to quit swimming. It goes against its very nature.
The people must hold the feds accountable. The Constitution is a compact between the people of the United States and their federal government. The mechanism we have to protect our freedom and liberty is through the States. James Madison wrote in the Virginia Resolution of 1798:
That this Assembly doth explicitly and peremptorily declare, that it views the powers of the federal government, as resulting from the compact, to which the states are parties; as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument constituting the compact; as no further valid that they are authorized by the grants enumerated in that compact; and that in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of other powers, not granted by the said compact, the states who are parties thereto, have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them.
Liberty loving Americans can certainly celebrate the outcome of these midterm elections. But we will not ultimately win the war to restore the proper balance of power between the State and federal governments in Washington D.C. That battle must be waged in Frankfort and Tallahassee. In Austin and Sacramento. In every state capitol across the fruited plain.