The Constitution takes center stage. Politicians have fleeting dreams of fiscal responsibility. Legislators envision a rollback of ObamaCare and the rest of the left's short-lived socialist agenda.
Here comes the Tea Party Congress. If 1994 was the Republican Revolution, then the 112th Congress is the Republican Evolution. Call it a reminder that the people in Washington still work for the people in the rest of the United States - from town halls to what the media call "flyover states." If Republicans don't learn from the Tea Parties, then they will go from GOP to G-O-N-E.
With a new-found majority in the House of Representatives and more members in the Senate, conservatives are in the center ring of this three-ring circus of the House, Senate and administration.
Now watch as the left and the media unleash the lions. Not since my namesake was locked in the lion's den has a pack been more eager to feed.
No wonder. They were almost as disappointed with the terrible twos they got from Team Obama as Tea Partiers were frustrated with the last GOP Congress. Now the so-called 'historic' speakership of Nancy Pelosi comes to an end. CBS termed her 'one of the most effective speakers in congressional history,' but she's been pasture-ized.
Just as the Democrats couldn't rid themselves of Charlie Rangel's incompetent corruption (bad crooks get caught), they couldn't shed Pelosi's stunning leadership that cost them the House. Any speaker who lets 'read the bill' become a slogan because she's too power mad to give people time to do it deserves the back bench or early retirement. Dems gave her neither. Combining that with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid means that the left is fielding the same team that alienated enough voters to give Republicans a second chance.
Beginning with a live reading of the Constitution, the House GOP gets a chance to prove that chance is deserved. They have to prove it to the left and the media who will battle them at every turn. But mostly, they have to prove it to the Tea Parties that delivered the votes to get them there.
To hear journalists spin it, the Tea Parties are already dying out. Time magazine said the Tea Party wasn't cool enough to be its Person of the Year and fantasized whether it would go the way of the Beatles and break up. That's nicer than what pretend conservative Joe Scarborough (RINO-MSNBC) told Parade magazine. After reminding the world former Gov. Sarah Palin is "not qualified to be president," the MSNBC host then warned Tea Party members to "make sure they don't scare little kids and pets." It's obvious such conservative behavior scares the media more - especially the Olbermann network.
Even wackier liberals like Robert Parry of Consortium News warn their side is "headed for a major battle with the Tea Party crowd over the Constitution itself." After years of twisting the founding documents, lefties fear the right might undo their efforts.
He's correct that a major battle over the Constitution is brewing, but like many who hate the Tea Party movement, he denigrates their views. We've seen two years that kind of abuse in the media where those who want to save their nation are called "teabaggers," "Nazis" and worse. Now despite the best attempts of the media, the Tea Parties have power. ABC, CBS and NBC have mentioned them more than 60 times just in the last month.
The elites are scared ordinary voters might actually have a say in Washington and they are prepared to stop it.
The media have the perfect agenda for the Tea Party Congress - the GOP is wrong no matter what it does. If legislators stand by their guns and advocate or dare vote for fiscal discipline, they will be called "radical" and will shutdown bipartisanship or even the whole government. New congressmen and women will be pushed hard on this. If they give in, then they will be called phonies and criticized because they didn't stand by their principles. A nice Catch-22.
Journalists have already set in motion a couple of scenarios like this - on ObamaCare and the debt ceiling. ObamaCare, which drew such national revulsion, is being treated like a settled issue. Journalists warned the GOP not to try "relitigating the past" or attack the "president's signature achievement."
The media are taking the cue on debt from Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers who warned 'about playing chicken with the debt ceiling.' He made news by saying the consequences of not raising the ceiling "would be the first default in history caused purely by insanity." Few headlines paint the $14 trillion national debt as insane though. Thankfully, the American people understand.
The media plan for this Congress is simple - they plan to eat the Tea Party for breakfast. There's only one problem with that strategy. Breakfast isn't at tea time, and if conservatives stick to their beliefs, tea time is what we're all about to enjoy.
Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The Fox Forum. He can also be contacted on FaceBook and Twitter as dangainor.