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    Will The GOP Build More Castles In The Sand?

    Will The GOP Build More Castles In The Sand?

    The victory last night of Christine O’Donnell over Mike Castle in the Delaware Republican Senate primary signals a sea change.  Not so much because O’Donnell won over the heavily favored establishment GOP candidate; that pattern is not new this election season.

    Instead, the reaction of the GOP was one of immediately throwing O’Donnell off the ship.  Castle decided to be the sore loser and not endorse O’Donnell; Karl Rove went on Fox News to denounce her election; and the GOP has made it known that it will not help her at all.

    Some of these decisions may change.  Castle’s decision was made through “sources” (I haven’t seen any reports that he made a public declaration of no endorsement); Rove’s statements could be written off as a blunt assessment of O’Donnell’s likelihood of success, not a personal attack; and the GOP may come around if her prospects improve (as happened in the Scott Brown race).

    But the immediate reaction was very telling, and very damaging to the GOP. 

    It’s not like the GOP couldn’t see this coming.  The most recent poll by PPP showed O’Donnell ahead by 3 points, and high-profile endorsements by Sarah Palin and Jim DeMint raised money and turnout for O’Donnell.

    In many ways, I think I am representative of the electorate’s reaction to the race.  Two weeks ago, I was completely agnostic on the race, and really had not focused on it.  But I found it very troubling that the GOP establishment — and I include mainstream conservative publications — refused to address Castle’s very troubling policy positions, such as his support for Nancy Pelosi’s cap-and-trade bill. 

    Every attempt to raise policy issues was met with personal attacks on O’Donnell, some of which were based on fact and some of which either were exaggerations or false.  It seemed like the only thing that was important was winning, even if it meant we elected someone who stood against us on policy.  The electability factor was a legitimate issue, but the stifling of debate over Castle’s record was not legitimate.

    Christine O’Donnell may have flaws in her past, but in this election season people are willing to look beyond such personal issues when what is at stake is a Washington, D.C. two-party establishment which seems incapable of and/or unwilling to stop the train wreck of national debt and deficits. 

    If the choice is between a flawed candidate who will pull the brakes and a less-flawed candidate who will not, I’ll choose the brakeman (or brakewoman).

    And is there now a new purity test for the GOP?  Because the GOP never, ever nominates and supports candidates who are less than perfect, right?

    We expect such hypocrisy from the Democrats, who were okay with a President who abused his power over a college intern to get blow jobs in the White House, and who lied under oath in a judicial proceeding about his harassment of a state employee when he was Governor.  He now is their only remaining rock star.

    But if the GOP is going to go the route of stunning hypocrisy and pettiness, the O’Donnell race will turn out to be the GOP’s Waterloo.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.

    The GOP can ride the wave or stand in its way.  It’s up to them.

    If the GOP attempts to stand in the way of the wave … well, you know what happens to Castles made of sand.

    Update:  Ed Morrissey is firing on all cylinders this morning (emphasis mine):

    My advice to the GOP would be to quit whining about losing a long-shot bid to win control of the Senate and focus on actually winning the races….

    What does Mike Castle’s crash and burn among Delaware Republicans say about their party organization?  After all, we have heard oodles of commentary about how Delaware Republicans are moderates who might get energized by the Tea Party but supposedly aren’t looking for conservative candidates.  Instead, they convinced Castle to leave a relatively safe House seat instead of looking for someone who hadn’t backed a government takeover of the energy sector in cap-and-trade (in a coal-dependent region!) and co-sponsored the DISCLOSE Act.  Perhaps had the GOP establishment listened a little more carefully to Delaware Republicans, who turned out relatively heavily in this election, they wouldn’t find themselves crying in their lattes this morning….

    Grow up, shut up, and get to work.

    And, if you don’t want to donate to the GOP, but want to donate easily to multiple conservative Senate candidates, you can go to the Senate Conservatives PAC website (overloaded as of this writing but should be back up soon).

    And, that was quick:  NRSC backs O’Donnell, donates $42,000.
    Related Posts:
    The Party of Whatever
    Nuts and Sluts In Delaware

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    Simon: Michael Medved is the poster child for clueless RINOs. I blogged at for more than two years and even there, RINO Central, most of the commentors ripped him apart. I will consider your arguments as you explain them but it lowers your credibility if you are just parroting the arguments of a certified RINO.

    To everyone, I have read Bill Buckley's rule to "vote for the most conservative electable Republican" so many times that it was a relief to learn the Buckley made exceptions too. In 1988, he was so frustrated with stealth liberal Senator Lowell Weicker that he endorsed the Democrat… Joe Lieberman who eked out a 1% victory. My bet is that Buckley would be a Tea Party supporter were he still alive.

    The Tea Party voters flexed their considerable muscles and Cornyn blinked. Still waiting on Rove to get down with his own bad self. The longer he waits the harder he gets slammed. There is a point of no return for Rove if he waits too long.

    pasadenaphil — Buckley didn't make an exception to his "rule" in his home state of Connecticut when he endorsed — more than endorsed, organized a campaign for Joe Lieberman. He knew Joe well, and he understood from Lowell Weiker's record that Weiker was significantly more liberal than most Democrats. That Joe too was a Democrat — and even wound up running with Al Gore — did not change Bill's application of the principle: support the most rightward viable candidate. Joe's subsequent record in the Senate bears out Buckley's judgement.

    VotingFemale says "There is a point of no return for Rove if he waits too long."

    Rove might say a nice thing about O'Donnell at some point, but you guys actually think Rove is sitting around worrying about what you're gonna do to him?

    Here's what Rove is out there doing. Politico reports that Rove is going hammer and tongs after Harry Reid, pouring money into Sharron Angle's campaign:

    "A third-party group linked to Rove has been the most aggressive, highest-spending outside force behind Reid’s opponent, Sharron Angle, launching withering attacks that have helped keep the onetime long shot competitive against Reid."

    As I noted above, Rove's independent group spent $800,000 in August alone to back Angle's run against Reid — despite Rove's and a lot mof mother people's earlier reservations about her as the best candidate to beat Reid. Unlike O'Donnell, Angle is a viable candidate who's running competitively, so Rove is going all out for her. (And unlike you, Rove can tell the difference.) At the August rate of spending accelerated post-Labor Day, his group may pour a couple of million dollars into Nevada.

    So I don't see Rove needing to apologize to anyone for his (accurate) assessment of O'Donnell.

    Phil, the "RINO" thing is done. It started out as incisive, but the more it got used, the broader the category of people to whom it was applied, the blunter it got. We have now reached a point where people are calling Karl Rove a RINO. It's become a meaningless, hackneyed trope fired indiscriminately at anyone who disagrees on any point, no matter how small and how otherwise orthodox they are. It wasn't born meaningless, it was emptied of meaning by misuse and now it's done.

    As to Medved: whether he is too moderate, I have no idea, although he's certainly more enjoyable to listen to than these assholes who scream incoherent nonsense the top of their lungs. I'll take Medved and Rush over Levin and Hannity any day. At any rate, even a broken watch is right twice a day, and even if I shared your assesment of Medved, that wouldn't change the fact that everything he says in that video is correct. The idea that there is no difference between the GOP and the Democrats is fictitious.

    Now, are there issues on which they agree? Sure. If you have nutty policy views at odds with 90% of the public, the parties are members of the public, so the odds are that both parties (less about 5% each) will disagree with you. Neither party wants to abolish the federal reserve, move the capitol to Nebraska, or ban Count Chocula. But on the vast ambit of public policy, as Medved correctly says, and as his caller utterly fails to challenge, still less refute, there are wide differences between the parties. You think that if there was a Republican majority in Congress, Obamacare would have passed? It wouldn't.

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