Brian McNicoll

When members learned that deal included tax hikes, they made clear they wouldn’t support Boehner, and he was forced to walk away. A deal eventually did get done – one that left both sides unsatisfied, the problems unsolved and the true outcome uncertain. But that deal did not include tax hikes.

This proved Tea Party-approved lawmakers now control a majority of congressional seats. Not establishment Republicans … if they were still in charge, Boehner’s deal would’ve gone through … but candidates who have promised not to raise taxes and to get serious about reducing the size and scope of government. This is an enormous accomplishment for a political movement that didn’t exist before 2008.

It also provides an historic opportunity. Democratic overreach pushed voters into their arms, and the credit downgrade on top of economic unrest here and in Europe provides an opportunity to keep them there through the 2012 elections. If conservatives prevail then, they will have a chance to remake America in a variety of ways.

They can repeal ObamaCare IF they win the presidency. They can enact a flat tax … Stanley Greenberg, the Clintons’ veteran pollster, says liberals are open to this idea as well.

They can go big on entitlement reform and farm policy and even consider eliminating departments or reducing them to agency status. They can reduce corporate and capital gains taxes and get some of that $1.5 trillion in corporate reserves off the sideline and into the game.

It’s all doable. It’s all passable. The window may not be open for long, but it will be open wide. And voters will reward bold action. The left will complain, call for “compromise” and claim conservatives have gone beyond their mandate.

But it won’t matter. It is as Heritage said in that paper in 1993 … elections have consequences.

Brian McNicoll

Brian McNicoll is a conservative columnist and freelance writer based in Alexandria, Va.