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O’Donnell Wins

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 10:48 pm - September 14, 2010.
Filed under: 2010 Elections

While I believe Miss O’Donnell’s victory means certain defeat for the GOP in the First State, I also believe the Delaware GOP must, as a matter of principle, support the candidate chosen by the voters in their party’s primary.

Mike Castle lost this race far more than Christine O’Donnell won it.  Given the results across the country this year, he should have been better prepared to respond to some of the unfair attacks against him, including allegations he voted for Obamacare and supported impeachment of then-President Bush.

But, the guy also looks a lot like Harry Reid.

This time around, people just don’t like career politicians, particularly those who represent the establishment.  The energy is once again on the side of those who want to change Washington.  And while Delaware Senate seat may look a lot better for the Democrats tonight, the rest of the nation looks much worse. This 2010 energy doesn’t bode well for their party in other contests across the country, particularly in states which tend to swing more with the national mood.

UPDATE:  I pretty much share Jim Geraghty’s read on her victory.

UP-UPDATE:  Glenn Reynolds has a great roundup on the meaning of the election, particularly this piece, How O’Donnell Pulled It Off. Read this one too.

A Theory on the Florida Senate Race

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:47 pm - September 14, 2010.
Filed under: 2010 Elections,Marco Rubio

Charlie Crist’s gambit is not paying off.

The latest FoxNews poll shows Republican Marco Rubio opening up a “16-point lead over” the outgoing Florida governor.  Democrat Kendrick Meek trails Crist by a much smaller margin, only 6 points.

This continues a pattern begun in August, with Rubio surging, Crist tumbling and Meek languishing:

Via Pollster.

Last month, the Washington Examiner’s John McCormack charted Crist’s “Crist’s most plausible path to victory“:

The weekend before the the November 2 election, Crist is trailing Rubio by single digits, while Meek is trailing by double digits–say it’s Rubio 39 percent, Crist 34 percent, and Meek 25 percent. At that point, some Meek supporters logically start moving to Crist as the only one who can beat Rubio…

With Crist now trailing by double digits, that path seems less plausible.  Let me offer an alternative.  With some signs Florida Democrats are coming home to Meek, that Democrat should increase his share of the vote as Crist fades.  Crist, seeing his fortunes diminish, could (perhaps with a wink and a nod from national Democrats) drop out at the last minute and endorse Meek, hoping to secure a cabinet (or ambassadorial) appointment from the president.

Still, that may not be enough to propel Meek to victory as the former Republican’s name would still be on the ballot.

If Crist continues his current trajectory, this race will no longer be a contest between Rubio and Crist, but between Rubio and Meek.  And that does give the Democrats a slim chance of flipping the seat, but with a real Democrat and not an opportunistic ex-Republican.

Ignoring O’Donnell’s faults to make a point

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:28 pm - September 14, 2010.
Filed under: 2010 Elections

In a few hours, the dust will settle in the Delaware GOP primary, but the fracas has opened up a rift among conservatives, likely to be easily healed on a national level, but as Jim Geraghty fears, perhaps not in the First State.

While generally warming to conservative challengers to establishment Republicans, Rich Lowry contends that O’Donnell is the opposite of one such challenger, Pennsylvania’s next Senator, Pat Toomey:

He would have been–he still is–a walking advertisement for conservatism: reasonable, serious, upstanding, deeply grounded. You could imagine Toomey changing the political landscape because he has the ability to persuade. O’Donnell will be the anti-Toomey, a conservative standard-bearer who could have been selected by a group of hostile people out to create an unflattering impression of us. To compare O’Donnell to Sharron Angle is an insult to Angle, who has her rough edges as a candidate but whose personal integrity is beyond reproach. What many O’Donnell supporters are implicitly arguing is that there can be no standards in evaluating candidates beyond an ideological litmus test–a deeply unconservative sentiment.

Emphasis added.  Via James Taranto who reminds us:

Delaware is a much less conservative state than Alaska or Utah, or even Nevada or Pennsylvania. FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver rates Castle’s likelihood of defeating Democrat Chris Coons (who is running unopposed) at nearly 95%, O’Donnell’s at 17%. From a conservative standpoint, those odds favor Castle, whose unreliable vote would surely be preferable to a Coons’s reliably liberal one.

If you’re going to take out an establishment Republican, do so with a candidate who is at least a credible representative of the conservative cause.  It doesn’t advance our ideas to move forward with just anyone, merely for the sake of thumbing your nose at the establishment.  That’s what the 60s were all about, not the conservative movement.

UPDATE:  Over at the Weekly Standard, Jay Cost provides statistics showing just how Democratic Delaware has become and concludes: (more…)

Delaware is not Alaska: O’Donnell is not good for the GOP

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:57 am - September 14, 2010.
Filed under: 2010 Elections

The quality of a candidate matters.  Just because someone is running as the conservative insurgent against a moderate from the party’s establishment does not mean conservatives should rally ’round her banner.

And yet some conservative activists are backing Christine O’Donnell in today’s Delaware primary despite signs that her victory would all but ensure that a Democrat remains in the Senate seat Joe BIden once held.  It seems they have to “beat the establishment” at all costs.  Even by supporting a candidate with a record like this:

The list of… questionable behavior and decisions on O’Donnell is long and clear. She told blatant, easy-to-check lieson the campaign trail. Her associates recorded a video alleging, without proof, that Mike Castle had gay affairs. She left employees of former campaigns unpaid for their labors. She lapsed into paranoid conspiracy theories, with her campaign suggesting the Rasmussen poll results were influenced by the long tentacles of the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senate Committee. She may have committed a crime by offering false information on her Senate financial disclosure form, reporting $5,800 in income for 2009 but later saying she had more that she wasn’t required to disclose (the exceptions are few and limited to amounts less than $250).

Not to mention the $6.9 million mental anguish lawsuit she filed against a conservative group.  And her opponent, while certainly a moderate, “agrees with conservatives” on certain issues “such as repealing Obamacare and making the Bush tax cuts permanent.”

Not just that, Mike Castle stands a better chance of winning the Senate seat.  He may not vote our way all the time, but it’s hard to imagine the GOP flipping the Senate without winning Delaware.  Thus, his victory could make the difference between Jeff Sessions helming the Judiciary Committee or Patrick Leahy keeping the job, rubber-stamping Obama’s judicial appointments. (more…)

Why did NYT not solicit Boehner’s response to their allegations of his “tight” connections with lobbyists?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:18 am - September 14, 2010.
Filed under: 2010 Elections,Congress (111th),Media Bias

Powerline’s Scott Johnson succinctly sums up one thing that sticks in my craw about the New York Times’ front page hit piece on House Minority Leader John Boehner: “In [Boehner Spokesman Michael] Steel’s email exchange with [NYT reporter Eric] Lipton, Steel offered to explain the rationale for Boehner’s positions on the cited issues. Lipton did not take up the offer.

In writing a prominent article on one of the leading members of the opposition party in Congress, a reporter from the journal once deemed the paper of record, only contacts the Congressman to confirm his opposition to issues the anonymous lobbyist in question also opposed:

Steel says he received a fact-checking email from Times reporter Eric Lipton Friday evening asking if Boehner did in fact oppose the cap on greenhouse gases, the tax change for hedge fund executives, the debit card fee cap, and increased fees on oil and gas companies. “Yes, that is correct,” Steel responded to Lipton, adding “I can tell you why, if you care.” Steel says he received no further notes from Lipton.

Aren’t journalists trained to seek out both sides in a controversy?

This reporter wasn’t even interested in Boehner’s side of the story.  You think his purpose was not reporting the story, but making sure it had the spin he wanted.

If the Old Gray Lady were the woman she once was, she would have held this story until the reporter solicited Boehner’s input and would likely have chastised Lipton for failing to seek out that information when he did his initial research.

Senate to Vote on DADT Repeal

Senate Democrats are finally getting their act together:

The Washington Blade has learned that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) intends to schedule a vote next week on major defense budget legislation that contains “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal language, regardless of any objection from members of the U.S. Senate.

A senior Democratic leadership aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Reid met with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday to inform the Republican leader that the fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill will come to the Senate floor the week of Sept. 20.

It’s about time.