Last month, Rand Paul faced Mitch McConnell’s and the establishment’s preferred candidate to replace Jim Bunning. Even before the votes were dry, it was obvious that Paul had destroyed them. The DC-NY establishment quivered in fear and tried to figure out how to regroup. They used tactics that always worked in the past in key races last night to maintain their position as kings of the hill.

In South Carolina, Tea Party favorite Nikki Haley faced a variety of well-known establishment figures, the state Attorney General, a Congressman, and the state’s Lieutenant Governor, in a bid to replace the beleaguered governor, Mark Sanford. After Sarah Palin endorsed her, she jumped in front. Shortly thereafter, a blogger ‘revealed’ that he had left his mother’s basement long enough to have seduced the comely candidate. Her poll numbers continued to climb. Then, an ‘interesting’ aide to one of her opponents chimed in that he too, had had sexual relations with Haley. Luckily for her, the combined laughter of hundreds of thousands in the Palmetto State subsided enough for them to cast their ballot for Haley yesterday. She secured 49% of the vote in the primary and now must face one of the establishment candidates in a runoff.

In Nevada’s Republican primary for the opportunity to face Harry Reid, the early establishment frontrunner, Sue Lowden, made a series of missteps, especially including a homespun solution to the health care reform bill passed this year in Congress. Her Tea Party opponent, Sharron Angle, rose from Lowden’s campaign ashes and went from virtually nowhere in the polls to take a lead. So, the establishment played another card. Angle, according to the DCers, would squander a terrific opportunity to defeat Reid, since she was so far from the ‘mainstream’ voters. This tactic, traditionally used to keep voters from wavering from the establishment line, proved completely ineffective when used to benefit a candidate who was unable to stop shooting herself in the foot except to reload.

Why is the establishment so apprehensive? For a decade now, they were perfectly complacent in the typical Washington dance; Republicans loudly call for cutting taxes, but then go along with huge deficits. Democrats call for higher spending, but never care where the money is coming from. Both sides appeal to their respective interest groups, while nothing gets done to fix up the mess both parties have caused. What else could the media and the rest of the political elites do when they find their favorites and their livelihood threatened? They fight back using the tactics mastered over years of fighting about nothing, when neither side actually wanted things to change. Throw mud and make untenable claims…now, they only have one choice, it seems…be afraid – be very afraid.