The day is finally here.
The Castle vs O’Donnell flame war has gotten ugly, at a time when the Republican party needs to be unified.
Stacy McCain unearths the root cause of our dilemma:
Let’s be clear who is responsible for this vituperative environment: Mike Castle, his campaign consultants, Delaware GOP chairman Tom Ross and the national Republican Establishment.
Just as when they tried to fix the Florida primary for Charlie Crist — “Those treacherous bastards!” — the Establishment’s cliquish favoritism angered and alienated the grassroots. O’Donnell’s candidacy thus became a rallying point for those who have tired of the top-down control approach to politics that became standard operating procedure for Republicans during the Bush administration, when the Rove-Mehlman axis called the shots and expected everyone to fall in line.
Such centralization of political authority might have been tolerable if it had actually led to the promised “Permanent Republican Majority.” Instead, it gave us Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid in 2006, then gave us President Obama in 2008.
So this online fight in Delaware isn’t about who’s a “True Conservative.” It’s about whether we are going to let the GOP elite do our thinking for us.
The problem with the GOP elite is not that they’ve got all the money and prestige. The problem isn’t that their egos are swollen with the arrogance of entitled privilege. The problem is that they’re politically incompetent.
Yes, yes! A million times yes!
One of the reasons I started blogging in the first place was this pent-up frustration I had with the establishment GOP, the RNC and the rest of the DC cocktail party set that were setting the rules from Washington. All the while neglecting the average Republican (read: conservative) voter.
McCain is right–this primary encapsulates that entire dynamic in a nutshell.
Michelle Malkin runs a great post on what the Mike Castle choice means–more lethargic, political careerism.
She makes the case for O’Donnell:
…[S]he is certainly far from perfect (who is?). But I think nine terms are enough for duck-and-hide, cap-and-tax liberal Republican Mike Castle — and it looks like GOP primary voters in Delaware are coming to the same conclusion as the primary looms tomorrow. I repeat: Entrenched incumbency is not an argument for more entrenched incumbency.
As I thought in my earlier post, Malkin confirms that the winner of the general election, will be seated immediately, with huge implications:
[T]he stakes are raised — not just for Delaware, but for the nation — in this race because this is a special election for VP Joe Biden’s Senate seat. The next Senator from Delaware will serve the remaining four years of Biden’s term. Which means he or she will be seated immediately after election and will be in place to vote in any lame duck Senate session. Cap-and-tax is on the table for this session. From his record and from his radical enviro associations, we know what Castle would do in the name of “Republican Main Street” values to screw over not only Delawareans, but all taxpayers.
Click through the link and read the entire post. Also, Michelle has a list of Castle’s hideous voting record. Yeesh.
Meanwhile, Castle appears to be girding his loins for a potential defeat by playing the victim card:
Rep. Mike Castle is blaming the influence of outsiders for the closer-than-expected GOP Senate primary he’s locked in against tea party favorite Christine O’Donnell.
Castle, who last faced a primary election challenger in 1992, said the six-figure sums pumped into the state by the Tea Party Express, and the recent endorsements of O’Donnell by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, prove that his opposition is being powered by out-of-state forces.
“It’s clear they have spent several hundred thousand dollars to not only take me out but to take anybody who dares to vote with the other party at any time out,” he said.
What’s startling to me about this whole debate is the extent to which the establishment Republicans are willing to trash the grassroots activists. Pathetic.
Mark Hemingway is in the Castle camp, pointing to the Congressman’s “no” vote on healthcare reform:
Castle may be a liberal Republican, but that’s better than a liberal Democrat. True, Castle has in the past supported cap and trade and other legislation that makes conservatives wince. But he’s also a co-sponsor of the bill to repeal Obamacare. Good luck getting a Democratic senator from Delaware to sign on to that.
Jeffrey Lord, an O”Donnell supporter, (making some great arguments for her candidacy at the American Spectator over the past several weeks) on why Castle’s anti-healthcare reform stance is less than genuine:
[...] Castle defenders cite Castle’s signing on to a legislative repeal of ObamaCare. On the surface, this is laudable. Castle did in fact vote against the bill in the first place. But the date plays a role here. Castle is listed by the House of Representatives itself as having signed on for this on…July 30. Which is to say, the law was signed in March.
Where was Castle then? Out there demanding repeal the next day? Introducing his own version of total repeal? No.
What did happen is that on May 9, Utah GOP Senator Robert Bennett abruptly lost his Senate re-nomination to a Utah version of Christine O’Donnell. On June 8, Nevada Republicans threw over two establishment frontrunners to nominate Tea Party backed Sharron Angle to oppose Harry Reid.
[...]Mike Castle, liberal Republican, cautious Republican, Ruling Class Republican, Establishment Republican, seems to have had his finger up in the air, detected an oncoming political tornado in the form of O’Donnell — and by July 30 was a co-sponsor of repealing ObamaCare.
Which, one suspects, is why he’s trailing by three points in the latest poll.
So Mike Castle is a crass, political opportunist, on top of being one of the most liberal Republicans in Congress. At the least, both candidates have dubious histories. But one is more conservative than the other, with the potential for a shift in Senate control hanging in the balance.
I’d hate to be a Delaware Republican right about now.
Last night’s stunning PPP poll, which puts Christine O’Donnell in a statistical tie with Republican veteran and Delaware political fixture, Mike Castle, adds some sizzle to tomorrow’s already contentious primary.
Ed Morrissey sums up the situation:
It still comes down to the question of electability, though, although perhaps at this point neither candidate could survive this primary.
If control of the Senate comes down to this race, and it very well might, would it be better to have a Republican squish holding the seat and give the GOP control of the Senate floor and all the committees, or to hand it to either Harry Reid or Chuck Schumer for the next two-year period in which we’ll see at least one Supreme Court retirement and Obama still attempting to push through his radical agenda?
It’s a tough decision for Delaware Republicans, and not an easy choice at all.
Morrissey brings up an excellent point–if the Senate is in play, and the Republicans are within striking distance of winning the majority in that chamber, then they will set the agenda. Which is to say, they can
stop slow down the President’s agenda.
And, unless I’m mistaken, being that the Delaware senate seat is an open one, then November’s winner is seated immediately. A Republican in that seat who’s voting with Republicans 50%-60% of the time would be better than a Democrat who votes with their party 100% of the time, no?
Look, I’m all for voting in the most conservative candidates. But those candidates who win their primaries, whether it be because of the Tea Party or conservative activists in general, need to win their general elections as well. Moral victories will not help to repeal government-run healthcare, or stop incessant government spending.
If O’Donnell wins tomorrow, and goes on to win the general, then I will be more than happy to eat crow and withstand the barrage of “I told you so’s”. Hell, I would look forward to that, if that were the case. That would be the upsets of all political upsets–a la Scott Brown. And thanks to Scott Brown, we know anything is possible.
I’m still undecided on this. I just hope that whoever wins the primary will have the support of a unified Republican electorate.