As we just saw in Haiti, most earthquakes can't be predicted.
As we just saw in Massachusetts, some can.
One reporter said after Republican Scott Brown's astounding Senate win in the Bay State Tuesday night that Democrats didn't see the temblor coming. In truth, they had to look away purposefully not to have seen it.
Look away they did -- from the polls, from the sincere worry in real Americans' faces, from the angry town halls last summer. Look away they did, with the help of a complicit news media -- a news media that essentially campaigned for the president's agenda, that dismissed Americans' opposition to it, and that mocked, and continues to mock, the good, patriotic people trying to save this country through the "tea party" movement.
Tuesday was a tipping point in American history, a fork in the road. To the left lay socialism. To the right, the traditions and institutions of freedom, capitalism and individual responsibility that built this nation.
It speaks volumes that the very liberal, very Democratic commonwealth of Massachusetts steered us to the right on Tuesday. It speaks volumes about how radical and unwise and unwanted the path is that the president and congressional Democrats put us on a year ago.
No one word sums up the Massachusetts election better than "repudiation"---although perhaps by November, with both chambers of Congress up for grabs, the word may become "revolution."
Thinking Democrats were talking serious moderation after Brown's historic upset Tuesday. They seem almost relieved today, as if they've been rescued from the radical liberal faction that has control of the Democratic Party and the country. No more votes on health care until Brown is sworn in, says Virginia Sen. Jim Webb.
"It is vital that we restore the respect of the American people in our system of government and in our leaders," Webb said. "To that end, I believe it would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Sen.-elect Brown is seated."
"If you lose Massachusetts and that's not a wake-up call," concluded Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., "there's no hope of waking up.
"Moderates and independents even in a state as Democratic as Massachusetts just aren't buying our message," he said. "They just don't believe the answers we are currently proposing are solving their problems. That's something that has to be corrected."
If it's not too late, that is -- and if the dogmatic ideologues in charge in Washington have it in them to listen and to change.
Even Democrats in San Francisco saw the election as a sign the party had taken the country much too far to the left.
"This should be a gigantic wake-up call to the Democratic Party -- that we're not connecting with the needs, the aspirations and the desires of real people right now," San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom warned even before the polls closed. "There's real intensity and fervor out there, as represented by the Tea Party ... This is real. At our own peril, we dismiss these tea parties as ... some sort of isolated extremism. ... It's not."
And so, now the aftershocks.
Moderate Democrats will urge a rethinking of health care, and a slowing down of Mr. Obama's radical agenda. They will urge their Democratic leaders to listen to the people and turn to the things we really want done.
Americans are shouting to fix our economy. They want the deficit slashed. They demand a balanced budget and a smaller national debt. They want a government that lives within its means.
Democrats will urge all these things to protect their own hides in November -- to avoid the fate of defeated Democratic candidate Martha Coakley.
Democrats will make a fatal error if they deny Tuesday's rebuke even as they stand amid its rubble. This wasn't all Coakley's fault. Yes, she was a hopelessly dismal campaigner prone to gaffes and oozing with a disdain for the common man. But that never stopped a Democrat from winning there before. Nor was this a Republican or tea party tantrum -- a statistical impossibility in blue Massachusetts.
Moreover, Brown waged an upbeat and populist campaign out of his truck (which former "community organizer" Barack Obama foolishly ridiculed).
No, this election was about -- to borrow a phrase -- hope and change. This was an uprising, the galvanizing of a movement. This was a historic course correction that is only likely to continue through November.
For those of us who believe the country had been taken down the road to financial ruin and unprecedented loss of individual liberty, this election was a monumental relief and change of direction.
Earthquakes are, essentially, corrections.
You saw a huge one Tuesday in Massachusetts.