Perhaps the most revealing portion of Election Night 2010 coverage came when MSNBC pundits Chris Matthews and Lawrence O'Donnell asked one specific question that towered above all others.
The Republican right, the exclusive control mechanism of the party, had during the entire campaign leading up to Election Night coverage drummed over and over the point that if elected fiscal responsibility would be restored. The era of high spending would end.
The Republicans were spurred on by the newest and most vocal element of their constituency, the Tea Party. At scores of rallies held throughout America big government spenders were told that their days were numbered. Tea Party members were, in the words of Peter Finch in the great seventies' hit film "Network", "mad as hell and were not going to take it anymore."
Two major Republican figures from the House of Representatives were asked the same question. They were Tea Party favorites Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and forthcoming House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia.
Matthews started Bachmann off with another question. It was whether she intended to ask that House members be investigated for anti-Americanism, a point she had once advanced. He then quickly shifted to the question of the day, which was where Republicans intended to make specific cuts to reduce federal spending.
After asking both questions Matthews was, in baseball parlance, 0-for-2. All Bachmann did was swoon perpetually about how wonderful it was to be entrusted with power by the American people and how magnificent an evening it was. Matthews, feeling a mixture of disgust and chagrin, finally asked her if she was in a trance since she kept doling out sweet nothings while failing to answer his questions.
O'Donnell then asked Cantor the jackpot spending question about where Republicans intended to impose their cuts to reduce expenditures. The House Majority Leader in waiting delivered swooning paeans of delight over faring so well before America's voters, sounding much like Bachmann.
Now the time of beckoning is closer at hand. Where will Republicans seek to impose cuts? One area where the Republican congressional leadership and their vigilant Tea Party enthusiasts could be at immediate loggerheads is over the issue of raising the debt ceiling, a step that must inevitably occur for the government to continue to handle its obligations, indeed, to systematically function.