The Pitchfork Primaries: Will Washington Get the Message?Submitted by meekandmild on Sat, 05/22/2010 - 20:48
The Kelly green golf course, the limpid lap pool, the khaki slacks and crisp sundresses all seemed to murmur Establishment, but unhappiness is so widespread this year that revolutions are stirring in the strangest places. At a country club in Bowling Green, Ky., a handsome ophthalmologist named Rand Paul lobbed another missile Tuesday night toward the battered fortress of Washington's elite. "I have a message, a message from the Tea Party," Paul announced after crushing the old guard's favored candidate for his state's Republican Senate nomination. "A message that is loud and clear and does not mince words: We have come to take our government back."
Before the votes were counted May 18 in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Arkansas, a few jaded members of the capital's insider clique - the Permanent Party - still sniffed that they'd heard all this before. In 1994, in 1980, in 1966. Someone's always coming to take the government back. Ho-hum. (See 10 elections that changed America.)
But no one was yawning the morning after, as the insistent notes of rebellion throbbed on the hollow drum of official power. The natives are restless. Americans of all persuasions at last agree on something. It is a message to their leaders that starts with F and ends with u. In Kentucky, the cream of the GOP - Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, former Vice President Dick Cheney, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce - all backed a fellow named Trey Grayson against newcomer Paul. They got the message loud and clear. In the other party, Barack Obama's stamp of approval meant diddly to the Democrats of Pennsylvania and Arkansas, where outsider candidates ended the 30-year Senate career of Arlen Specter and pushed Blanche Lincoln, chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, limping into a runoff.