Ross Mackenzie
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Tuesday marks the mid-term elections. How will they turn out?

Big net gains for the good guys.

You define the Teapartiers and the Republicans as 'the good guys'?

Definitely. And the leftists, liberals, progressives -- Democrats all -- as the black-hats, or bad guys. Back in the Fifties, watching television westerns, my (older) sister would keep me up to date in the final chase scenes by saying -- based, I finally figured out, on the color of the hats the cowboys were wearing -- 'Those are the good guys. Those are the bad guys. Those are the....' She didn't know it, but she was introducing me to modern politics.

White hats, good guys -- conservatives. Got it. And they're going to win big?

Maybe on a scale of revolutionary magnitude. Predicting elections is like predicting judges -- a highly risky business. But the near-unanimity of the polls suggests this is going to be a wave election, crashing hard onto the liberal Democratic beaches and washing them clean.

WHY?

Because of the Teapartiers. Formally around for only about 18 months, they may prove -- already have proved -- to be game-changers. They share vastly more with the Republicans than the Democrats. So, after the primaries, they, for the most part, allied with the Republicans rather than running third-party candidates of their own. In the process, they've generated unseen electricity into campaigns and have provided the Republicans with too-often-missing backbone.

But the Teapartiers are so -- you know -- extreme. And they're so focused on such divisive social issues: you know -- abortion, homosexuality, bias in the mainline churches and mainstream media.

On the contrary, the Teapartiers have demonstrated their prudence in two genius strokes: (1) not running their own third-party general-election candidates and (2) avoiding social/cultural issues. They speak almost exclusively of spending and taxes and governmental size. They talk of the Founding and constitutional principles. Thus the 'Tea Party' name. The original 'tea party,' when Bostonians dumped tea into their harbor, was all about taxes imposed by the British crown.

THAT WAS pretty extreme to the British.

Of course it was. Obedient British subjects were not supposed to behave that way, but to do what they were told by the British authorities. Today's Teapartiers, allied with Republicans, are tired of being told what to do by today's equivalent of the British crown -- the federal authorities. That's why those who have run things for so long in Washington are so stunned by the speed with which the Tea Party movement has caught on.

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Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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