EDITORIAL: The GOP’s Fab Five

New mainstream ‘unelectables’ will shift Senate to the right

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The world’s most exclusive country club, the U.S. Senate, is in for a shock come January. Five Republicans handed their membership cards Tuesday have promised to shake up the chamber famous for its accommodation - otherwise known as caving to liberal ideas. Because individual senators have a greater ability to shape national policy than individual members of the House of Representatives, sending a handful of fiscal conservatives to the upper chamber will make it difficult for President Obama and congressional Democrats to get away with spending as usual.

Pennsylvania voters, for example, gave the nod to former Rep. Pat Toomey, who recently served as president of the Club for Growth, a limited-government group known for mounting primary challenges against squishy Republicans whose records are weak on reducing taxes, expanding trade, promoting school choice or rolling back regulatory excess. That is not the resume of someone likely to sell out his principles just to be re-elected or to advance to a leadership position.

Mr. Toomey will be joined by three Club for Growth-endorsed senators-elect: Florida’s Marco Rubio, Kentucky’s Rand Paul and Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson. In what was arguably the most eloquent acceptance speech Tuesday night, Mr. Rubio demonstrated that he understands his mandate is to reverse the big-government course down which Democrats have steered the country since the 2006 election. “We make a grave mistake if we believe that tonight these results are somehow an embrace of the Republican Party,” he said. “What they are is a second chance - a second chance for Republicans to be what they said they were going to be not so long ago.”

Dr. Paul delivered a fiery speech describing the Tea Party tidal wave that sent him and his new colleagues to deliver a message of “fiscal sanity and limited, constitutional government and balanced budgets” to the Senate. Leftist groups campaigning against Mr. Johnson portrayed him in a light that probably earned him extra votes. A People for the American Way television spot declared Mr. Johnson “too extreme for Wisconsin” because he opposed Obamacare and refused to buy into the man-made global warming hoax.

Mr. Johnson unseated incumbent Democratic Sen. Russell Feingold by a comfortable 5-point margin. Dr. Paul won by 12. Mr. Rubio won by 19. In fact, New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte won by a whopping 23 percent margin, proving the public was unfazed by endorsements from alleged “extremists” like former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. “I know that your vote for me was a vote to end wasteful Washington spending,” Mrs. Ayotte said Tuesday. “When it comes to spending, you know my position: Washington must stop.”

Stop spending: That’s exactly the message Americans were desperate to hear. Although a number of excellent candidates lost their races, they did so on narrow margins where local issues and personalities often make the difference. After such a successful surge from the right, 2010 results should put to rest the tired cliche that running to the center is the ticket to success for national office. This Fab Five show us otherwise. They are the new mainstream.

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