Even before Republican voters in Kentucky cast their ballots on Tuesday, the favorite in the Republican U.S. Senate primary has already declared "there's a tea party tidal wave coming."He's right about one thing: Rand Paul and tea party candidates certainly will be deciding where the Republican party goes over the next several years. I just happen to believe that destination is the political wilderness.
"It's already gotten to Utah, and tomorrow it comes to Kentucky," Rand Paul told a crowd of supporters in this town, where he has long worked as an eye doctor.
In his final rally before the election, Paul sounded confident not just of victory over Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson, but of being part of a tea party movement that he thinks will change politics.
Polls show Paul comfortably ahead in the GOP race to replace retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.). He argues that a win here will help solidify the tea party's place both within the Republican Party and in the broader national political landscape.
"Tomorrow's election will be big, it's going to be big for us in Kentucky, it's going to be big nationally," he said. "It will be the first victory for a tea party candidate in a statewide election, and this will have huge ramifications."
"We the tea party, we the people of Kentucky will help decide what that message is, where the Republican Party goes, what the Republican Party becomes," he added. "This is an important election. You will be part of helping define the direction of our country the next few years."
Paul talks the talk, but he's going to find actually implementing the "solutions" he has will be much harder. And I think as impatient as some manic progressives are about Obama, they're going to be even less tolerant of tea party heroes like Paul when they can't deliver the goods. Getting elected is easy. Governing, making laws and passing them, well, that's not so simple.
Unless the Tea partiers plan on magically getting a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate to override Obama vetoes, they're not going to get a damn thing done between now and 2012. And unless a Republican magically steps up to challenge Obama then, well they'll have to deal with the Big O until 2016 to boot.
Somehow I doubt the force behind that tidal wave is going to be that patient. Besides, Paul has to win in November first, and should Jack Conway pull it off tomorrow, he's going to have a real interesting time.
Oh, and check Nate Silver's article on exactly how going Teapublican could really hurt the GOP this fall.