After the 2006 election, the question you heard conservatives asking over and over again was, "Did the Republicans learn anything from their defeat?"
As we now know, regrettably the answer to that question is "no" -- and so we're back once again trying to figure out if the GOP's 2nd savage beating in a row has stirred them from the Beltway bubble they've been firmly ensconced in over the last few years.
I would suggest to you that there is one surefire way to tell if the Republican Party has learned anything from the 2nd straight whooping that it has received, one test that will determine if we're going to come back in 2010 or remain wandering in the wilderness. If, as expected, Mitch McConnell is once again elected as Senate Minority Leader, then the GOP is still so far out of touch that they need a telescope to see the interests of the people who sent them to Washington in the first place.
Mitch McConnell is another one of these Republicans who came to Washington to drain the swamp and ended up deciding to pal around with the alligators. Some people might protest that isn't true -- and indeed, there was a time when Mitch McConnell was a genuine conservative leader.
However, McConnell has been inside the Beltway since 1984 and over time, he has learned to love the "compassionate conservative" kool-aid that has poisoned the Republican Party.
Just take a look back at Mitch McConnell's so-called "leadership."
McConnell supported amnesty in the Senate and even after it failed, he led the way in bringing it back. How many millions of dollars and votes did that finger in the eye of conservatives cost the Party in 2008?
The GOP's support of the bailout bill cost them seats in 2008, likely cost John McCain the election, and in the end turned out to be a very bad, very socialistic idea that didn't fix the problem. Of course, we can once again thank Mitch McConnell for helping to lead the Republican Party down that blind alley.
Speaking of blind alleys, we can't forget the Bridge to Nowhere. McConnell voted for it -- twice. When Tom Coburn showed some actual leadership on an issue that mattered to conservatives and tried to push through an amendment to move the money for the bridge over to Louisiana in order to help repair damage done by Katrina, Mitch McConnell voted against that common sense maneuver.