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Michelle Malkin
Michelle Malkin
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A Tea Party Senate Takeover


The tea party isn't dead. It's just looking down ballot. While fiscal conservatives remain split over the GOP presidential candidates, grassroots activists are coalescing around a stellar slate of limited-government candidates looking to reinforce and reenergize the right in Washington.

And in the spirit of the modern-day tea party movement, no entrenched incumbent — Democrat or Republican — is safe.

Utah was Ground Zero for the movement's first major electoral upset. In April 2009, this column first reported on a Salt Lake City tea party protest of 2,000 Utahans who repeatedly booed GOP Sens. Bob Bennett and Orrin Hatch for supporting the $700 billion TARP bank bailout. In May 2010, the three-term, 76-year-old Bennett got the boot at the GOP state convention. Young conservative lawyer Mike Lee, who clerked for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, went on to win the seat.

Now, young conservative entrepreneur and renowned state pension reformer Dan Liljenquist is taking on Utah's other big government Republican barnacle, 77-year-old Hatch. Liljenquist excelled in the private sector as a global management consultant and business strategist; he also helmed a privately owned call center company that grew from two to 1,500 employees since its 1995 founding. Liljenquist was elected to the Utah Senate in 2008, where he spearheaded state pension and Medicaid reforms that earned him the non-partisan Governing magazine's 2011 "Public Official of the Year" award.

The 36-year, six-term Hatch was first elected in 1976 on an anti-entrenched incumbent platform. Hatch's campaign line then against his opponent Frank Moss: "What do you call a Senator who's served in office for 18 years? You call him home." Now, Hatch is clinging to power after almost four decades in government — and vainly attempting to claim the tea party mantle to stave off Liljenquist's David vs. Goliath primary challenge.

Hatch co-sponsored the $6 billion national service boondoggle and dedicated it to his good friend Teddy Kennedy, with whom he also joined hands to create the ever-expanding SCHIP health care entitlement.

He slobbered over corruptocrat Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, supported tax cheat Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner from Day One, lavished praise on Joe Biden's manhood, and embraced and defended Attorney General Eric Holder's nomination because, he said, "I like Barack Obama, and I want to help him if I can."

In Indiana, another aging liberal Republican dinosaur is fighting for his political life by masquerading as a tea party standard-bearer. The six-term 79-year-old Sen. Dick Lugar — who prides himself on being Obama's favorite Republican — hasn't lived in his home state since 1977. He supported the Obama stimulus law, job-killing environmental mandates and the taxpayer bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as the auto and banking industry bailouts.

Richard Mourdock, Indiana's former state treasurer, offers a fresh alternative with widespread support from both grassroots activists and local and state GOP officials. While others hedged their bets, Mourdock took the federal auto bailout head on, lodging a court complaint against the Chrysler bailout to expose its illegal abuse of shareholders and punitive impact on Indiana citizens. He was elected to the treasurer's office in 2006, a tough year for Republicans, and was re-elected handily in 2010. Before politics, he worked in the private sector for 30 years managing businesses in the energy, environmental and construction industries. He's never had a Beltway zip code.

In Texas, young attorney Ted Cruz is making waves in the GOP race to replace retiring GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. The former Texas solicitor general is a 10th Amendment scholar who doesn't just speak the tea party's language. Cruz has put constitutional conservatism into action, winning many of the 40 cases he has argued in front of the Supreme Court. Cruz isn't afraid to challenge the GOP establishment. In 2008, he successfully battled the Bush administration and meddling globalists all the way to the high court to prevent international law from superseding American sovereignty.

The GOP needs just four seats to take control of the Senate. With inspired and inspiring free-market candidates like Dan Liljenquist, Richard Mourdock and Ted Cruz, 2012 bodes well for the tea party footprint on Capitol Hill. Remember: Entrenched incumbency is the disease. Fresh blood is the cure.

Michelle Malkin is the author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies" (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is



6 Comments | Post Comment
The Repes just need four seats to control the Senate? How about "Republican implosion and meltdown hands over control of the Senate and the House to the Dems?" That's what you fools are looking at.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Masako
Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:58 PM
Those you oppose are the very ones who have and are helping this country move forward. Those you like, such as Richard Mourdock lost his challenge to the bailout but showed he's just another Republican willing to allow American's to crash and burn. Maybe you've noticed our auto industry is again alive and well, but with no help from the GOP or the Tea Party. Again proof that without GOP and Tea Party obstructionists our economy might very well be much further ahead. Another tea party GOP guy you should love is Romney. He would have let the auto industry fail and as for the housing collapse, "Let them foreclose so investors can buy them and end the Dodd Frank Act so we can continue cheating. That's the Republican idea of a stimulus. After they make the mess, they swoop in like vultures leaving behind carnage of homeless, jobless, penniless and a confused and dazed lower and middle class. Then as the elections roll around the brainwashing begins. Fear Socialism, Marxism, arrogance, ruining our Constitution, loss of freedoms & rights, ad nauseum. Republicans beat us down, appeal to our fear, then want to rule us after you've ruined us. No thanks! I'll take Obama and Obamacare and Democratice altruism today, tomorrow, and every time if the only alternative is Republican's who will say and do anything to satiate their greed and hunger for power. They've done enough. Vote them all out.
Comment: #2
Posted by: demecra zydeem
Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:04 PM
The democrats are shreading the constitution just as much as the republicans are. I've even heard democrats on TV say them want to get rid of it and start from scratch. Thankfully they do not represent the entire party. And what exacly is your idea of "democratice altruism"? Giving away other peoples money to those they deem worthy? I don't think any altruism happens in DC at all.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:29 PM
Chris: I would say the Dems tend to add to and tangle. The Repes do tend to shred, or chop, for the most part. But generalizations only work up to a point.

I still struggle with the contrast between false friends (Dems) and obvious enemies (guess who?) Increasingly, I'm not sure which is more dangerous. Not that I don't see good folks from both persuasions, but not a whole lot of them, sad to say.

As for altruism, nope, don't see much of it anywhere, but I do take inspiration from those who rescue abandoned and discarded animals.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Masako
Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:45 PM
Thats a fair enough assessment. I'd also say that adding and tangling can be just as dangerous as chopping and shreading. I truely sad moment in recent history was when Obama teamed up with John McCain to pass the NDAA. This opens the door for guys like us to be watched and arrested just for comments like these.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Thu Feb 16, 2012 9:19 AM
We're tired of Big Government sell-outs like "Errin" Orrin. 17 votes to raise the debt = 7.6 trillion and you're out.
Comment: #6
Posted by: diana
Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:38 PM
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