In short, the GOP base is frustrated over the direction of the country. Obviously a large portion of that frustration is directed at the Democratic Party, and Barack Obama in particular. But it is also directed at the party establishment and Washington, D.C. When pundits say that the Tea Party seems like it is more interested in defeating Republicans than Democrats, they aren’t entirely off base. They just miss the reasoning behind that animus toward the GOP establishment.It's Government Failure. Not in the Eastern Establishment sense of "gridlock" or "lack of consensus." There's a new consensus afoot.
Which brings me to the other aspect of the Cantor Conundrum, the Brat Braining: the contention that, in addition to being “staggering,” “stunning,” etc., it is also of vast importance. Is it? In the sense that it (like the European elections of a fortnight ago) bespeaks a profound unease among the electorate with politics (and nota bene, pollsters: politicians) as usual, I’d say, yes, it is important. We’ve been told that the “tea party” is a spent force. The trouble is, the millions of ordinary people who are disgusted with Washington, who fear and loathe the the rise of the imperial state with its vast armory of regulation and surveillance, not to mention its untouchable self-enriching nomenklatura — those millions haven’t gotten the memo. They don’t know that their interests and desires are de trop, even though their masters in Washington have done everything possible to reinforce that idea.The new consensus is that the Old Consensus isn't working.
But on the policy issues and political ramifications of this race, it’s not easy to box Brat into a neat caricature of an anti-immigration zealot or Tea Party demagogue, or, in TIME’s hasty reporting, a “shopworn conservative boilerplate.” If Brat ascends to Congress, which is quite likely given the Republican-leaning district that he’ll run in as the GOP nominee, he may actually continue taking on powerful elites in Washington.The emerging populist consensus might either be libertarian or socialist. There's dawning awareness, though, that traditional process and technocracy no longer works.