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My Shocking Theory On The Delaware Primary

My Shocking Theory On The Delaware Primary

Prof. Stephen Bainbridge and Dan Riehl have been debating the Delaware Senate Republican primary, and whether it is worth electing “RINO” Mike Castle.  Bainbridge says yes, Riehl says no.

I don’t know enough about Castle or Christine O’Donnell to weigh in on whether Castle is a RINO or O’Donnell is a true conservative — but both Bainbridge and Riehl implicitly assume the point.  I also don’t know about whether Castle is a sure thing in the general election, and O’Donnell a likely loser — again, Bainbridge and Riehl implicitly assume the point (although Bainbridge more so than Riehl).

So, assuming Castle is a RINO yet significantly more likely to win in a general election, what to do?

I say, vote for the candidate you prefer, and let the electoral chips fall where they may.  That is so now more than ever.

The argument is that a Castle election may be the difference between Republican control of the Senate or not, assuming the tsunami happens.  So what?  So long as Republicans control the House (the much more likely scenario), further legislation implementing the Obama agenda is DOA with or without the Senate.

If the electoral tide is strong enough for Republicans to carry the House, the Democratic majority in the Senate — at best for Democrats — will be reduced to 51-53.  There is no huge advantage to Republican majority rule by one vote in the Senate, if the cost of that razor thin rule is that Mike Castle (assuming he is a RINO) is the deciding vote. 

Majority rule in the Senate would allow the House and Senate to pass Republican legislation, but with an Obama veto pen in hand, until there is a Republican President we are playing damage control, trying to stop the bleeding caused by Obamacare and other Democratic legislation.  Affirmatively implementing policy will have to await the 2012 election regardless.

Majority control in the Senate will have importance in the judicial nomination process, but what is the chance Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham, and Mike Castle all would vote against anyone but the most extreme Obama nominee? 

Whether Republicans are up a vote, or down a vote or two, in the Senate will not alter the course of history — so long as the House goes Republican.

In short, the House is the key in the 2010 election.  In the Senate, a marginal one vote majority (assuming all cards fall into place in a perfect storm) is not of such importance that you should vote for someone you do not want in the Senate.

Vote for the person you think is best for the job.

Shocking!

Update:  At HuffPo, three political science professors are predicting a 50 seat swing in the House:

Our preliminary 2010 forecast will appear (with other forecasts by political scientists) in the October issue of PS: Political Science. By our reckoning, the most likely scenario is a Republican majority in the neighborhood of 229 seats versus 206 for the Democrats for a 50-seat loss for the Democrats. Taking into account the uncertainty in our model, the Republicans have a 79% chance of winning the House.

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Comments


A.G. — My point was not that Reagan was some sort of phoney conservative. That would be silly. It's just that one could have in 1968 denounced Reagan as a "RINO" just as easily as some now lump Graham and McCain, absurdly, together with Snowe and Collins as "RINOs." Ditto for Barry Goldwater.

If a guy comes through for your point of view over time, you should recognize that — not tie him to one or another action he took for some understandable political or governmental reasons (e.g., Reagan believed getting the deficit under control was more important than vetoing a tax increase) ad infinitum.

That's what people are doing with respect to McCain, for example. The guy could hardly be more conservative NOW — with voting matching up against DeMint, et al — but he's forever "tainted" by McCain-Feingold for some folks. One should embrace him for what he does now. Isn't that so?

Whether Republicans are up a vote, or down a vote or two, in the Senate will not alter the course of history

…except for the next Supreme Court vacancy moving through Committee or onto the floor for a vote. Holding the majority against an administration who's lost the initiative can wondrously stiffen a spine or two.

Otherwise, it's "Welcome back, Chairman Leahy"

If I had only a choice between a House or Senate
majority, I'd take the House. That's where the
tax and spending bills originate. The Senate is where good ideas go to die.

John Burke, again I'd have to respectfully disagree on many points. As to your argument about McCain coming around to the more conservative side, I just don't buy it from him.

The reality is, McCain was in a very difficult primary race (especially at first before Hayworth imploded) in which he was forced to spend 20 million even before the actual race in November. I think his current more 'conservative' posture has more to do with saying the right things to win the primary, than some kind of latter-day conversion to conservatism. (I hope I'm wrong, quite honestly).

The difference between Reagan and somebody like McCain is that Reagan was believable as a conservative, and after 'learning the ropes' in his first few years he was very consistent in applying conservative principles, unlike McCain.

Further, Reagan worked to unite his party; McCain has repeatedly undermined it throughout his career (and it's much, much more than simply McCain-Feingold: his opposition to the Bush tax cuts, his views on illegal immigration, etc., etc.). I don't think it's a surprise to say that most people will not trust somebody who has undercut them in the past. And McCain is already hedging his remarks about amnesty now that he has won the primary…

As for the concern about the 'RINO' tag, David7134 brought up good points about Graham's support for cap and trade and his views on illegal immigration. While it is true that he has an overall conservative voting record, I agree with David that these are very important conservative issues. I agree with you that the name-calling is pretty juvenile, but the positions *are* important.

It's easy to look at both of those issues in isolation, but when one considers the fiscal impact that they could potentially have, I think you will understand why conservatives are opposed to them. Cap and Trade is a massive stealth tax and a job killer; amnesty for illegal immigrants (in addition to likely providing more votes for Democrats) adds an enormous cost burden to our country, which is already drowning in debt. Similarly, Graham voted to confirm Kagan: how can one preach limited government principles, and then vote for somebody who supports an expanded view of government intrusion through the commerce clause? It's completely incoherent.

Finally, as I mentioned in my earlier posts, most conservatives don't have a real problem with Blue state Republicans like Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, Norm Coleman, etc., even though they have more moderate records. Why then do Lindsey Graham and McCain draw their ire? Because they represent Red states (Graham, especially) and they have been known to to betray the issues that their constituents support. Would it really be any different to most liberals, if a Democrat Senator represented a deep Blue state, and wound up opposing liberals on key issues throughout his/her career?

Why do you assume that someone who doesn't vote for Castle should vote for O'Donnell?

It's one thing not to vote for Castle because you can't stomach his politics.

But to affirmatively vote for O'Donnell you have to look past how ridiculously crazy she comes across, with wild allegations about people hiding in her bushes and radio hosts being on the take. She is going to get hammered on these things, and she will be the face of the movement.

An O'Donnell win on Tuesday would seriously damage the face of the Tea party movement, to a greater degree, even, than Angle's win in NV has.

Thanks A.G. You make the point I was trying to make more clearly than I was able.

John Burke, whether the "lump" is Graham and Snowe or McCain and Graham or any other combination of Republicans whose support of conservative principles has been inconsistent I believe my point was valid. Also, I am not a reader of Dan Riehl’s site although I have nothing against him. I just don’t find myself drawn back there. I’m a lifelong Republican, voted for Reagan both times, and think if McCain had held to conservative principles more closely he may have won the election.

The idea that really galls me is the notion that Republicans have to be willing to move to the center in order to win. The Democrats are so far left right now that moving any closer to them is not moving toward the center. It is moving into the left.

Republicans who hold to conservative principles haven’t lost sight of this. They know that more government programs mean bigger government, reduction in personal freedoms, and increased costs which result in increased taxes on the American people. They don’t need to be told that programs like National Health Care, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and Cap and Trade (if passed) will create outsized government bureaucracies, huge inefficiencies, new opportunities for favoritism and cronyism, and higher costs. Politicians who don’t understand this, who think everything is negotiable regardless of where the negotiation starts, who don’t have a feel where the true center of the country is or a set of principles to guide them aren’t what this country needs.

You may have forgotten or may just not know that there were reports when Reagan came onto the political scene that he scared the American people. That the “people”, whoever they were, thought he was extreme and his election would lead the country to disaster. But Reagan had a better understanding of the American people than the typical politician of the time. Not only that he understood the limitations of government, he could explain them in a way in which ordinary citizens could understand, and he ultimately moved the political center back into closer alignment with the American people. We look back on Reagan’s legacy from a different place now because he led us there.

We need more Reagans, not more Collins, Snowes and Grahams. We need more people who will hold to conservative principles and not negotiate for the sake of appearances. I believe, this country is at one of those junctures that will determine the course it will take for the next 20 years or more. We need to send Republicans to Washington who will steadfastly support conservative principles. Otherwise, twenty years from now government will be even bigger and personal freedoms will have been further eroded.

BTW. I didn't call anyone a RINO in this post. My intent in my previous post wasn't "name calling" it was just shorthand for someone who claims to be a conservative but doesn't consistently support conservative principles. I guess political correctness means that we have to spell it out every time.


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