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.
I’m with Dick Armey who, when asked if it were
. . . better to lose with a Tea Party candidate than win with a mainstream Republican [replied,] “No, and I don’t think the Tea Party activists would give you a different answer,” he said. “Massachusetts and New Jersey proves that.”
Charles Krauthammer was a little more direct, taking issue with prominent conservatives who back the conservative insurgent:
The Palin endorsement, I think, is disruptive and capricious. Bill Buckley had a rule that he always supported the most conservative candidate who was electable, otherwise the vote is simply self-indulgence.
Krauthammer, as usual, nails it. Delaware isn’t Alaska. And scoring a victory against the GOP establishment may provide a sort of solace to some, it will do little to forger a governing majority.