"The Tea Party's influence on the direction of Senate Republicans in the 112th Congress is about to be put to the test," editorializes the Washington Times. "Grass-roots activism helped swell the ranks of the chamber's fiscal hawks with several newly elected members who are fired up about banning earmarks.
"When the Republican conference meets Tuesday to consider South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint's resolution that would end the practice for its members, the outcome will demonstrate whether Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky or Mr. DeMint and the Tea Party have captured the heart and soul of the Senate GOP. . . .
"For a reinvigorated Republican Party to continue earmark spending they would have to be as tone deaf as the Obama-Pelosi-Reid team," the editorial concludes. "Voters expect Washington to change its ways. The best way for senators of all parties to show they've heard the message is to retire the earmark perk once and for all."