The idealist glowers, curses and empties the contents of his glass on a nearby potted plant. The pragmatist, surveying his friend’s unhappiness, flicks the fruit fly out of the beer and drains the glass with a few hearty gulps. The idealist, returning to the bar with his empty glass, asks “Why the devil didn’t you get a new one?” The pragmatist smiles and points to the clock above the bar, “Last call was five minutes ago. Taps are closed until Monday.”
In 2010 ordinary American citizens, much alarmed at a big lurch towards statism, gave face and name to the Tea Party. Typical of midterm elections, the president’s party took a drubbing, but this one made exceptional by the open allegiance of the newly elected to Tea Party precepts of constitutionally limited government. Among the remarkable victories was Scott Brown, the first Republican elected by Bay Staters to the United States Senate since 1972, filling a seat vacated by the death of liberal icon Teddy Kennedy.
Now, two years later, we are reacquainted with Senator Brown through his re-election bid against Democrat Elizabeth “Fauxcohontas” Warren and have taken notice to flaws in the former’s voting record. As it turns out, Scottie is a moderate. His Club for Growth score is a median hugging 49%. Certainly a better power ranking than the 10% earned by that state’s senior senator, John Kerry, but not one that will win him an honorary tricorn hat.
What gives? Did the Council on Foreign Relations offer him eternal political life in exchange for a solemn vow against excessive Tentherism? Is the Tea Party dead and Scott Brown its pallbearer?
The answer should be obvious. At one time Massachusetts was known as the Cradle of Liberty. Now it’s the Wet Nurse of Nanny-Statism. It’s worth noting that the Massachusetts Senate rebuked the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 with a 32-1 vote. Indeed, little has changed.
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky would have a better chance of succeeding Tom Brady as quarterback of the New England Patriots than getting elected to federal office in the Massachusetts. That Scott Brown’s CFG ranking is ten times more libertarian than his predecessor might not get him on the cover of Tea Party Today, but should be cause for reasonable optimism.
The pragmatic recognize that electoral victories are merely a symptom of voter frustration, and a century of progressive assaults on our Constitution will not be reversed by a few elections. Our mission, first and foremost, shall be to spread the gospel of liberty and localism.
In the long run, education more so than elections will prevent a Hunger Games-style dystopia. Constitutional literacy will save our country; Scott Brown, moderate Republican, will not.
Yes, elections still do matter. A lot. And flies will occasionally land in our beer. But I, for one, rather share a beer with a fly than have none at all.