Posted Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010, at 5:49 PM
LAS VEGAS -- The Sharron Angle party -- as our emcee called it, "Harry Reid's retirement party" -- was in full swing when Russ Feingold's defeat was announced. And so it got the loudest cheer of the night so far.
This makes a lot of sense, because a win by Ron Johnson brings the GOP closer to control of the Senate. But Feingold was an unpredictable liberal. He opposed TARP. He was the only senator who opposed the Patriot Act. Earlier in the night, Alan Grayson lost his House seat by a landslide. The party hadn't begun here, but in other Republican victory events -- at the Tea Party Patriots event in D.C., for example -- Grayson's loss got huge cheers. And Grayson had, at times, gone out of his way to appeal to libertarian-minded voters on some of their issues, helping push through a version of Ron Paul's "audit the Fed" legislation.
There was a moment, during the Bush years, when frustrated libertarians thought they could form new coalitions with whatever party was in power. And now they're forming coalitions with the GOP. But, wow, did the alliance with Democrats ever collapse quickly. I asked Angle supporter Andrew Rothbart, who was very concerned about sound money, whether he thought the Senate was losing anything by losing a Democrat who opposed the Patriot Act and TARP.
"No, it's a good thing," he said. He held out his arm and pointed to an imaginary wound. "That 'D' is like an infection. You need to get rid of it."
Photo of Sen. Russell Feingold, MIRA OBERMAN/AFP/Getty Images.