Today POLITICO Arena asks:
Is Joe Miller's win in Alaska a sign of the tea party's potency as a national political force?
Joe Miller's win in Alaska isn't simply a sign, but one more in a long string of signs of the Tea Party's potency as a national political force. From Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts to the massive Beck rally on the National Mall on Saturday, forces are stirring in the nation as they haven't for years. And as that rally showed, they aren't entirely or even mainly political forces. Nor are they mainly religious in any narrow sense, as the mainstream media seem to be saying, once again missing the point.
Rather, the Tea Party movement, like the original Tea Party over two centuries ago, is a rebellion against overweening government and a call for the restoration of individual liberty, individual responsibility, and limited constitutional government. That there should be a religious element in this should not surprise. After all, America's three great revolutions -- the first whereby we declared ourselves free and independent, the second that ended slavery, and the third that ended legal segregation -- were all supported and inspired by religious beliefs and institutions.
And for good reason: In America, at least, religion is a private affair, free from government coercion, a domain where individuals can and must assume responsibility for themselves -- the very virtue that is crippled by dependence on government. Alaskans and Americans more broadly are increasingly rejecting the Murkowski view that government is instituted to provide goods and services. It's instituted to ensure our freedom, including freedom from forced dependence on government.