After next Tuesdays election, Republicans will be the ultimate political power in the universe — or, at least, in the United States of America. That is, if GOP candidates perform anywhere near expectations and, indeed, capture even the slimmest majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.
More powerful than the man who put the O in Obamania, the POTUS, the commander-in-chief with his finger on the nuclear trigger?
Well, yes. (Unless President Obama intends to aim missiles at the Congress. In which case, his popularity might improve.)
Forget the U.S. Senate. A Senate majority is not required. The House, alone, possesses the most awesome weapon in the federal governments arsenal: the power of the purse.
Article I, Section 7 of our Constitution clearly reads: All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives . . . And Section 9 states, No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.
So, if Republicans in Congress are serious about restoring fiscal sanity to Washington, they will hold all the cards necessary to do so. The Obama Administration simply cannot spend money the U.S. House refuses to raise or appropriate.
What does this mean for post-November 2nd governance?
Two very important things: (1) Holding Republicans feet to the fire will be critical, requiring the Tea Party movement to continue to be an engaged, energized and take-no-excuses force, and (2) Democrats are likely to look back at their public relations success in 1995, when the new Republican Congress and Bill Clinton, their man then in the White House, had a showdown over the longest government shutdown in history — some 21 days.
Tea Party activists, smartened up by past bad behavior by Republican officeholders, are no longer willing to play the patsy role. From the special election race in New Yorks 23rd congressional district, in which conservatives abandoned a moderate to liberal Republican in favor of a long-shot Conservative Party candidate, to the surprise dumping of three incumbent U.S. Senators in Republican primaries, conservatives and libertarians are putting principle before party.