On the bright side
Election Day wasn’t a total disaster for the right. The same country that re-elected the most liberal president since Franklin D. Roosevelt also renewed the speakership of Ohio Republican Rep. John Boehner. Senate Democrats maintained their slim majority, but the GOP pulled off a more important coup in the upper chamber: The caucus is growing more conservative.
With Ted Cruz of Texas and Jeff Flake of Arizona earning the title of senatorelect, the Tea Party proved its ongoing relevance. These fiscal hawks will join Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Sen. Mike Lee of Utah in holding the line against President Obama’s relentless push to expand Uncle Sam. The world’s most exclusive country club hasn’t seen this many devotees of limited government since the Founding Fathers were members.
At the state level, voters did the right thing on a number of important issues — even in liberal outposts. The same Californians who approved Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown’s suite of tax-the-rich initiatives also shot down an attempt to eliminate the death penalty and opposed a Nanny State proposition that would have required labeling of “genetically modified” food. Michigan may have given the nod to Barack over native son Mitt Romney, but 63 percent of voters pulled the plug on a proposal to mandate 25 percent of the state’s electricity be generated by the windmills, solar panels and algae the president so admires.
We’re stuck with Obamacare in the wake of the Nov. 6 vote, which makes state efforts to block its implementation critical. Measures asserting state authority over health care passed with 77 percent support in Wyoming, 62 percent in Missouri and 59 percent in Alabama. Similarly, Mr. Obama has said he’d push for new gun-control laws, increasing the relevance of amendments protecting firearms ownership and hunting that passed in Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska and Wyoming.
Fiscal responsibility may have gone out of style at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but elsewhere in the country the issue remains a hot topic. In Washington State, voters once again gave overwhelming approval to a referendum requiring a two-thirds vote of the legislature to enact a tax increase. A sneaky provision of a prior initiative forces any hikes that do obtain legislative approval to go on the ballot as “advisory” measures. Tuesday saw the first such votes, and the liberal West Coast state voters opposed taxes on banks and oil companies by 58 and 56 percent. The initiative’s sponsor believes these provisions will encourage restraint among lawmakers.
“The next time they’re thinking of voting for a tax increase, they’re going to think twice, three times or four times about it,” anti-tax activist Tim Eyman told The Washington Times.
Progress was also seen at the local level. Citizens of Monroe, Wash.; League City, Texas; Murrieta, Calif., and Newport Beach, Calif., voted to ban cash-grabbing red light cameras with opposition running between 57 and 77 percent.
The next four years will be difficult for conservatives. The success of a number of conservative candidates and initiatives proves that staying true to principles can still pay off — even in deep-blue states.