A return to reason

Is the tea party over?

Are we seeing the beginning of the end of the tea party-fueled Republican resurgence that began in 2010? Results in from the Nov. 8 off-year elections, along with the popularity of the Occupy movement, would seem to say so.

In Ohio, voters soundly repudiated Gov. John Kasich’s attempt to shred public employees’ collective-bargaining rights, as his pal Gov. Scott Walker had done in Wisconsin, by soundly repealing a law that prohibited workers from bargaining on health benefits and made it harder to collect union dues and negotiate on staffing.

In Arizona, voters recalled the radical president of the State Senate, Russell Pearce, the man behind and spokesperson for Arizona’s infamous anti-immigrant law that gave law-enforcement officers police-state powers to arrest and expel people without documents.

In Maine they voted to reinstate same-day voter registration, after Republicans in the legislature axed it, knowing that by making it harder to vote they would decrease Democratic turnout. And in Mississippi—Mississippi!—they rejected an amendment declaring that a fertilized egg was a person.

What these elections tell us is that moderation and common sense still have a place in American politics, that voters eschew ideologically based partisanship, and that the kind of overreaching that we’ve seen in Wisconsin, Ohio and elsewhere has run smack-dab into good, old-fashioned American pragmatism, reasonableness and sense of proportion.

Let’s hope the trend continues.