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.
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This reaction proves there are spoiled children at the head of both parties.
Here's the fact- Castle was so unpopular he couldn't win enough Republican votes to stay in the race- period.
The off-the-record comment that the party won't help O'Donnell is so incredibly dumb I suspect it came from Steele. Seriously — how STUPID do you have to be to announce to your base "we don't care who you nominate, if it's not our anointed candidate, we won't go along with it"?
The Republican party will have a hard time raising money the next few election cycles. I suspect individual candidates won't, however.
Starve the RNC. Send money directly to the candidate you want to win.
In my case it's Angle number 1 and O'Donnell number 2.
Love the post – perfect assessment!
That said, I would keep in mind that these comments and statements are coming from unnamed (i.e. anonymous) sources to the biased press. This could be a tactic to derail the Republican's chances and stop the train wreck they see coming. I wouldn't put it past the Pravda Press, or the Dems – or the Repub elitist ruling class, for that matter.
If it turns out to be fact-based and unrefuted, then the Republicans will reduce themselves to an irrelevant third party. Wake up, RNC and NRSC! It's time to get on board that train, or get left behind, lonely and alone.
We conservatives have had to hold our noses for a long time. Now let's see if the establishment Republicans who have been demanding this of us are willing to hold their own noses "for the good of the party".
What we are seeing with the NRSC and the liberal media's new BFF Karl Rove, is that those of us who have been calling the GOP "the other Democratic Party" and "the Assistant Democrats" have been right all along. It sure looks to me like they intend to torpedo their own party's Tea Party candidates to help their Dem friends before the November elections. Many of us always new they were really Democrat enablers all along.
If we have only one party (my position), let's either take over the GOP right now or form a new party outright. If this two-party system is going to work, we need a second party.
This is exactly how the Whigs disappeared. They lost their spine and refused to confront the major issues of their day, like slavery. It only took one-third of the Whigs to follow Lincoln into the already existing Republican Party to doom the Whigs and the GOP soon became a dominant party. If we could get one-third of Republicans to swing over, we have a new GOP.
If we can't do that, we should test the canard that "3rd parties" are losers. Not when they are in fact the second party.
Delaware had a choice of a Republican whose votes were indistinguishable from most Dems and someone who professed to be a conservative. They chose the latter. The mainstream Repub's reaction, including the inexcusable reaction from Rove last night is abhorrent. These idiots did the same thing in New York a while back.
Didn't they get the message in '08 that when they put up the "other Democrat" for president, the electorate went for the real thing?
I've been saying for a while (in my own head, if nothing else) that what we need is for a true fiscal conservative party to arise on the right and have the Democrat party fade away into the mists of history.
DESEN highlights that this isn't realistic. Pasadenaphil, I'm with you – the establishment GOP is just as much a problem as the establishment (i.e., basically the entire) Dem party in terms of, as Doc J puts it, 'putting the brakes on'. I suspect we are observing the beginning stages of one of the most profound political realignments in our history.
If the Republican Party does not adapt to the new environment and become extremely serious about reducing government, they will go the way of the American Whigs and be replaced by a new party. It happened to the Federalists and the Whigs. The Republicans should know: they were the result of the Whigs failure to deal with slavery.
"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)"
But that WASN'T the choice. The choice was between nominating someone who may or may not pull the brake on some issues, or losing to a candidate who will fire the boiler and hold the accelerator down on our throats.
We have made best the enemy of better and needlessly thrown away a Senate seat in a childish tantrum. I cannot imagine what world these people are living in who seem to think that Delaware is a red state in waiting if only we'd nominate a real conservative!
If O'Donnell had run in Indiana, I'd have supported her. But she will lose Delaware, and we will all be the worse for it.
When the Tea Party rose, the "establishment" GOPers warned the Tea Partiers not to run as third party candidates because it would split the GOP vote and lead to Democratic victories. So the Tea Partiers took that advice, ran in GOP primaries, beat the establishment in many cases, and now the establishment act like whiny brats. That's a problem.
While a third party is intellectually appealing, the only time a (successful) third party has emerged was when the GOP split from the Whigs. The issue that divided them was the enormous social and economic consequences to the South that would result from the abolition of slavery. The result was a civil war. We are no where near that at this time.
I think our only hope is to work within the GOP and continue to try to purge it of "Rockefeller Republicans", just as the socialists/progressives highjacked the Democratic Party and have largely purged it of conservative Democrats. Make the distinctions between the two Parties even greater, and give voters a real choice.
It is my understanding that O'Donnell's past issues includes a bankruptcy…correct me if I am wrong…well in today's world, who couldn't identify with that? Even if we are working, our savings are gone, we are just getting by and are one paycheck away from not being able to pay our mortgage, and there is always the little prayer that everyone, including the pets, stay healthy because any health insurance still goes only so far. Bankruptcy, big deal. In fact I would say that someone who knows what it is like to look at a financial blackhole understands more about the American people than any fat-cat politico who has had everything paid for by the taxpayer for decades.
Personally I don't care if the RNC gets the message. They no more deserve the people's support anymore than the democrats.
Just a little thought too-would Castle, Rove and the RNC be so upset about O'Donnel say if she were a he? How dare those broads be so upity…especially the ones that are easy on the eyes.
Mitt Romney just endorsed O'Donnell.
And Karl Rove was just on Fox News continuing with his trashing of O'Donnell. The Republicans need to shut him down real fast, he is doing some serious damage. I've never heard him go after any Democrats with such vigor.
Professor, say what you will, O'Donnell's flaky and "flawed" past means she has no chance in November. Not a competitive shot like Angle. Not an outside chance like McMahon. No chance. That's why it's not just Democrats who are writing her off. Charlie Cook, Stu Rothenberg and RCP have already moved the race to Democratic in their prognostications. Winning a GOP primary with a narrow slice of the Delaware electorate where Democrats have huge advantage means little to nothing. And please, please don't use Scott Brown as an example. Brown had Tea Party support but he was also a strong candidate with substantial accomplishments and no particularly damaging negatives.
For my money, Karl Rove gets to say whatever he wants since he's been out there raising and spending millions of dollars to elect Republican candidates in November. His independent group channeled several million into races in August alone, including $800,000 for Sharron Angle.
Some commenters are claiming they will not donate to the RNC or the RSCC. That threat is almost irrelevant since the big money to help candidates that is not self-raised is coming from a dozen independent groups, conspicously the one organized by Rove.
quiznilo says "the Republicans need to shut [Rove] down real fast." Good luck with that, when Rove is providing huge amounts of moeny to back Toomey, Angle, Buck, Paul, Fiorina, and dozens of others.
The NRSC called me last night digging for dollars and I told them to put me down for $0 because they refused to provide financial support to Ms. O'Donnell if she won in the primary. I'm sure that last night thousands of folks made the same contribution and hope that my refusal to donate played a part in the NRSC's change in heart to send $42K to O'Donnell's campaign. Who would give them a dime now? The cow is out of the barn. How do I get off their mailing lists?
O'Donnell is just 'flawed?' Is that what we call it now? Tax 'issues', skipping on the mortgage and pulling a fiscal two-step with the boyfriend, siphoning off campaign funds for the townhouse rent, Democrat 'enemies' lurking in the bushes but hopefully not whacking off, not paying the employees, claiming 'gender bias' for her firing then dumping the suit when her on-company-time-business-ventures were exposed … is this the best the Tea Party/GOP can do? Well … given our GOP meltdown in Colorado, perhaps it is.
But she's very conservative, so it's OK that she has 'issues', because so do the Democrats. Talk about lowering the bar.
As for Maddow's fascination with O'Donnell's view on masturbation, c'mon (wink wink nudge nudge).
Simon, we get your point you know, we really do. But you don't get our point. We categorically reject your priorities. We don't care about this GOP and now you are seeing why. If you are a conservative, there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans and in the sense that the Republicans are pretending to be the conservative party, they are even worse than the Dems. That is why we Tea Party people openly believe that there is no point dealing with the Democrats until we have fixed what is wrong with the GOP.
So you see, the argument that we are wasting an opportunity for the GOP to take control of the Senate has no currency with us. We don't want THIS Republican party to take control of anything. We kicked them out in 2006 and 2008 and they are still unrepentant.
We don't vote for empty uniforms. The LA Clippers are still bad even if they wear Laker uniforms. The Democrats are still repugnant when they wear Republican uniforms. Personally, I don't vote for liberals or Democrats, especially when they run as Republicans.
This bears repeating:
That said, I would keep in mind that these comments and statements are coming from unnamed (i.e. anonymous) sources to the biased press. This could be a tactic to derail the Republicans' chances and stop the train wreck they see coming.
Remember, the Journolistas are still out there, whether or not there's still a JournoList.
I missed the part in the update about the SCPAC phones and website being jammed today. That. Is. Fantastic.
Phil, if your point is that "there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans," it's wrong. Michael Medved ripped the notion a new one in this clip, and I agree with everything he said: http://stubbornfacts.us/politics/medved_v_beck.
I would have thought that two years of Obama would have put that rhetorical point to bed by now, but evidently the left will have to inflict yet more irreversible damage before it sinks in that stopping their agenda is more important than intramural squabbles over how conservative policy ought to be. When we do things like this—conceding the Democrats a Senate seat because some of us don't like the electoral reality of Delaware—who benefits? It is the left. And who gets screwed? All of us.
Simon: Michael Medved is the poster child for clueless RINOs. I blogged at Townhall.com 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.
Simon, ahem, seriously.
"We have now reached a point where people are calling Karl Rove a RINO."
I have reservations myself about the term RINO but if the Republican party stands for conservative values, Karl Rove is not your man. Ever since Rove became a "genius", the agenda has turned to big government globalism. He was the very architect of the GOP demise. But in the spirit that was meant, if Rove isn't a Republican-In-Name-Only, who is?
As to Medved. That is a choice based on style only. You have bought into his liberal nonsense and bonded into his personality. I read his nonsense and he just doesn't have the chops to even be considered a serious pundit. He is nothing more than a shill for the GOP. He fought for amnesty and is an indefatigable Bush defender as you would expect being Bush's favorite shill.
And I will grant you that there are some differences between the Democrats and Republicans. Democrats are openly liberal and fight like hell for what they want. Republicans, on the other hand, are closeted liberals who can be counted on to deliver landmark liberal victories while gaming their ACU records which only takes a hit for the party overall when the "Gangs of McCain" cross over the aisle.
The "two" parties my tell us different lies but the Dems are out in the open, the Reps hide behind a conservative mask to deliver on the same globalist, post-constitutional agenda.
Simon — Well there you have from phil the incoherent, unserious craziness flat out: Rove must be a RINO — or something — because he was the architect of "big government globalism" and "the GOP demise." You have to wonder what the GOP revival will look like if it's not electing a two-term President who slashed tax rates, spent political capital trying to introduce some personal responsibility and liberty into the Social Security system and struck back against America's enemies with an aggressive vengeance not seen since Pearl Harbor.
Then comes the kicker: Democrats are "openly liberal" but those sneaky Republicans are "closeted liberals." Can something akin to "Eisenhower was an active agent of the Communist conspiracy be far behind?"
There is no possible way to deal with this sort of daft ignorance. No wonder O'Donnell attracted them all.
John Burke — You don't know what is going to happen in November any more than anyone else. But the bottom line for many conservatives is this, we've had too many fake conservatives and we're unwilling to put up with them any longer. Come what may, I'd rather lose with real conservatives than win with liberals in conservative clothing. The one that needs to consider his daft ignorance is you.
Phil, "[b]etter"? It's well-said, but utterly fictitious. Give us some examples of current convergence between Democratic and Republican policy.
David, you can slam John (and me, for that matter) all you like. But if you're determined about your date for November 2, you're going to be sore the morning after.
I suppose that Krauthammer is now a RINO, too: