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O’Donnell: in the right place, at the right time, with the right message

I will not rehash the case I made against Christine O’Donnell here, suffice it to say that while I don’t think she’s the best candidate Delaware Republicans could have nominated for Senate seat once held by Joe Biden, I do think she is the better of the two candidates currently vying to serve out the Vice President’s term.

She didn’t run a stellar campaign (but her opponent ran an inept one).  She isn’t a charismatic figure like Scott Brown, nor an insightful conservative thinker like Pat Toomey, but she was in the right place, at the right time, with the right message.

She wasn’t just running on the “Tea Party” themes of small government and individual freedom, she was also running against the Republican establishment that doesn’t get the popular mood.  (One could argue that those themes and that opposition are one and the same.) “O’Donnell’s victory was,” James Taranto contends, “a rebuke to an out-of-touch Republican establishment in both Delaware and the District of Columbia“.

Voters, Mattie Fein, Republican nominee in California’s 36th Congressional District (you can support her campaign here), writes

. . . in 2010 are not being swayed by the anointment of the Good Ol’ Boys in the GOP’s picks to run for office. They are rejecting the career politicians and the system; the O’Donnell win is representative of this. And, while I do not agree with many of O’Donnell’s social issues or statements, her win is indicative of the rejection of politics as usual in the GOP.

Exactly.  A rejection of politics as usual. (Mattie, by the way, is a heckuva nice gal (I met her).  She opposed Prop 8 and supports repeal of DADT.)

Mattie’s not alone.  And this anger, as Mark Tapscot notes, is rooted in principle:

First, the anger among Republican voters is not limited to the far right reaches of its “base.” Castle was one of the most popular political figures in the state, yet his support in Congress for TARP bailouts, the radical House version of Cap-and-Trade, and the DISCLOSE Act marked him back home among his fellow Republicans as more a representative of the Washington Establishment to Delaware than Delaware’s representative to Washington.

Lesson: The days of “moderate” Republicans in Congress being able to talk the talk of reform in Washington without actually walking it are rapidly coming to an end everywhere except perhaps in the deepest, darkest reaches of the Northeast.

That a candidate with a lot of baggage could defeat one of the most popular figures in the state, a man who had already won twelve previous statewide races says a lot about the mood this year.  People weren’t voting for her so much as what she represented, the ideas of Ronald Reagan (favoring more freedom) and the concerns of the rank-and-file Republican voter (upset at a party’s leadership that has lost sight of the Gipper’s vision).

Instead of getting that message, many in the GOP establishment have been pouting.  Sure, Castle had a better shot of winning the general, but he lost the primary, so there’s no way now he can win in November.  Let’s move on and learn from his loss.

Christine O’Donnell’s victory shows that the energy this fall is on the side of the Tea Party, citizens fed up with politics as usual and concerned about the growing size of government.  Given what we saw in Delaware on Tuesday, representatives of other establishments should expect to see a fate similar to Mike Castle’s come November 2.

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26 Comments

  1. Rove was on Greta last night and he is still full of disdain for O’Donnell. Well, you know what? If the Dems can elect damaged goods and prop them up for the sake of their agenda, maybe the Republicans can do the same. I can handle someone who lied like Biden or bobbled her finances like lots of plain Americans if she will fight the conservative fight.

    I am not sure what thoughts you have to think to be an insightful conservative thinker, but a rock solid conservative without twinkling charisma, stellar campaign organization or cutting edge philosophy will be just fine with me.

    O’Donnell has been the vessel that has delivered the country club Republicans a rude wake-up call. Let’s see if they can lick their bruises and rise to the occasion.

    Comment by heliotrope — September 16, 2010 @ 8:28 am - September 16, 2010

  2. If the Dems can elect damaged goods and prop them up for the sake of their agenda, maybe the Republicans can do the same.

    But the Dems are sort of “supposed to” be the liars in any given situation. Plus, they have the practical advantage of the MFM covering for them.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — September 16, 2010 @ 8:51 am - September 16, 2010

  3. “A rejection of politics as usual”. I think that’s exactly what is going on, and whether one like the candidates or not, I think it’s a good thing. We need this kind of serious shake up of both parties to maybe get something useful accomplished in Washington.

    Comment by Neptune — September 16, 2010 @ 9:18 am - September 16, 2010

  4. Shouldn’t the fact that Karl Rove hates her make her more attractive to liberals and independents?

    Or, am I just once again foolishly expecting sense from the insensible?

    Comment by V the K — September 16, 2010 @ 9:38 am - September 16, 2010

  5. O’Donnell is an anti-gay right wing fundie MORON!

    Comment by steve — September 16, 2010 @ 10:14 am - September 16, 2010

  6. Steve:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dey5yy-aHM8

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — September 16, 2010 @ 10:43 am - September 16, 2010

  7. She doesn’t want to make laws re her beliefs like they’re saying. She is for small gov, less taxes, freedom for all. Who is though?

    Comment by jann — September 16, 2010 @ 11:32 am - September 16, 2010

  8. Tokyo Rove sold amnesty tickets during the Bush presidency. Fox is fairly loaded with Republicans who put practicality before principle. Barnes, Kristol, Perino, Rove, and even Krauthammer are more comfortable in the salon than sitting on the front porch and mingling with the commoners.

    There is a serious infection that goes along with Potomac Fever. While some serve in government and go home afterwards, others cleave to influencing government and continue the power games.

    The loosely coagulated blood of the TEA Party is not looking for wizards of smart in the strategy department. Standing on the bedrock of Constitutional principles is more than enough direction to get the job done. Since power abhors a vacuum, consider a vacuum of principled power to be enough draw good people. It is true that bad money chases good money out of circulation, but it is also true that good money makes bad scrip useless. Power does not corrupt. Bad men corrupt power. I could go on and on ……. but the TEA Party movement is teaching the corruptocracy the rules. It is delicious.

    Comment by Heliotrope — September 16, 2010 @ 11:44 am - September 16, 2010

  9. As of 10:14am this morning Christine had raised over $900,000 …… not Corporations, not unions, not PACs or fake non profit money laundering groups.

    Take that, GOP establishment!

    Comment by V the K — September 16, 2010 @ 12:11 pm - September 16, 2010

  10. “O’Donnell is an anti-gay right wing fundie MORON!”

    I wasn’t aware that twelve-year olds were allowed to post comments on this site. Leave it to small-case steve to elevate personality over principle.

    Her personal views on gays, while probably repugnant, are irrelevant. It is her view of how government should function, what its limits should be, and how it ought to deal with the people overall that should be the issue. If her mother wears army boots, that’s her problem.

    A society that obsesses over personality is one that has forgotten principle.

    Comment by Lori Heine — September 16, 2010 @ 12:17 pm - September 16, 2010

  11. How are O’Donnell views on gays repugnant especially since she is opposed to Prop 8? If she is religious at all, her views would be rather mainstream. It is hardly worse than average, and in practice, it is much more tolerant than any of the gay baiting in Liberal circles.

    Comment by anon23532 — September 16, 2010 @ 2:10 pm - September 16, 2010

  12. It doesn’t work to hide behind religion anymore. My denomination is one of the largest in the country, and it fully accepts us. But leaving that aside, if O’Donnell is willing to view religious freedom as something that should be protected as much for me as it should be for her, I don’t care what she thinks about gays.

    There does seem to have been a sea-change in the GOP in general on that issue. People like lower-case steve still want to make it all about personality and opinion (which was my point in my last post), and this is erroneous. It’s how a candidate views government’s role that matters, because if they understand and respect the Constitution, they will govern in the way that best serves even those they may not personally like.

    We can expect liberals to keep on harping on personality because they very clearly dare not debate principles.

    Comment by Lori Heine — September 16, 2010 @ 3:20 pm - September 16, 2010

  13. I don’t think Saul Alinsky had any guidance on arguing principles.

    Comment by Polly — September 16, 2010 @ 3:37 pm - September 16, 2010

  14. O’Donnell mentioned something on Fox News this morning that makes her election all the more important. Since she’s running for Biden’s seat, she will be seated immediately after the election. Sounds a little like a Scott Brown situation, since she will help to stop the Dems from quickly passing the economy-busting bills many think they’ll try to pass once they’ve lost their power–and many, many, many have nothing to lose, electorally speaking.

    I don’t think I would have be so reassured by the election of Castle.

    Comment by Polly — September 16, 2010 @ 3:45 pm - September 16, 2010

  15. Lorie: I don’t quite get the accept the gays in some religious denominations. Everyone is accepted as Christians. Those who are not are asked to accept Jesus. The thing is if we openly accept gays as behavior as opposed to the mere orientation or identification, Christians will run into problems. I’m not sure how your church does it. My church is rather large, and thus a bit more impersonal. It doesn’t discuss gay issues overtly, and thus not embrace openly gays. No one has made a stink about it, but it certainly can come up and if it did, I wasn’t there to see it. I can say more, but it is pointless. Anytime a Church or Denomination becomes more liberal, the church is split. The more conservative members (and much more active and spirited members) will leave, leaving a dead church.

    As for your second point, I think Liberals in general are afraid Conservatives will foist their religious opinion and morals on others. Thus they attack them as extreme. This will never change.

    Comment by anon23532 — September 16, 2010 @ 5:09 pm - September 16, 2010

  16. Anon, you are commenting on the way things were perhaps 20 years ago. With all due respect, there are many moderate Christians who are now rethinking whether the Bible genuinely condemns “homosexuality,” or whether it does not. I know many fairly conservative, heterosexual Christians who are doing likewise.

    I am a member of a big, broad and very old denomination, with hundreds of thousands of members. We don’t all agree on everything, and some conservatives have left it because they can’t get their own way about every issue. I hope they don’t let the door hit them on the way out, and whether they leave it, ultimately, a “dead” church is a matter to be decided by neither you nor them, but by God.

    It is high time Christian gays stopped cowering to this nonsense. I am one of the growing number who refuse to. When you are willing to give me a full accounting of your morality, then — and only then — do you have any right to condescend to me about mine.

    “Take the log out of your own eye first.” Gee, I wonder what part of that so many people fail to understand.

    Comment by Lori Heine — September 16, 2010 @ 5:18 pm - September 16, 2010

  17. Liberals may or may not be afraid that “conservatives will foist their religious opinions and morals on others,” but they MUST pretend that this is even possible in the U.S., else how can they frighten the base that can’t be frightened by “The Republicans are going to take away your Social Security and your Medicare”? The Left’s only tactic is fear, fear combined with demonization. Alinski prescribes it, the Left happily embraces it.

    Comment by Polly — September 16, 2010 @ 5:24 pm - September 16, 2010

  18. Lori: No, not 20 years ago. I guess you really need to get out. And I live in a blue state, California. There are many Conservative Christians who believe in tradition. I strongly disagree with what you regard as a dead Church. There are many dead Churches, some of whom have lost many members and are barely functioning. Gay friendly churches are a minority and I never been to one.

    Comment by anon23532 — September 16, 2010 @ 5:36 pm - September 16, 2010

  19. >>“Take the log out of your own eye first.” Gee, I wonder what part of that so many people fail to understand.<<

    Yeah right. Go ahead.

    Comment by anon23532 — September 16, 2010 @ 5:37 pm - September 16, 2010

  20. Anon, you are defining “tradition” very narrowly, and according to a single issue. Those who accept gays in the church view it as an interpretation of one teaching long accepted one way and now seen another. We did the same thing with regard to lending at interest, with regard to remarriage after divorce (and divorce in the first place), and with regard to a whole host of other moral issues.

    I doubt I’m the one who needs to “get out more.”

    Those who think of everyone in cardboard-cutout, simon-simple, cartoon-character terms will be left in the dust of history. And that is very sad. What’s really going on — in the Christian church overall, on the political Right and in the country in general — is much more interesting than any kiddie cartoon.

    There are about as many on the Right dwelling in an outdated fantasy-land as there are on the Left.

    Comment by Lori Heine — September 16, 2010 @ 5:49 pm - September 16, 2010

  21. Gay churches, in my experience, tend to be about the gay and not the church.

    Comment by V the K — September 16, 2010 @ 6:39 pm - September 16, 2010

  22. “…tend to be about the gay and not the church.”

    Some of them are. There are also some, however, that are more conservative — usually very Evangelical — and they must operate on their own because they exist in an area where other Evangelical churches still do not accept gays.

    Comment by Lori Heine — September 16, 2010 @ 6:46 pm - September 16, 2010

  23. O’Donnell has reported earnings of only $5,800 for most of the past two years. Not that Christine hasn’t found ways around her lack of income. She admitted that her prior campaign had paid half the rent on her townhouse because it doubled as her headquarters. At least she seems to have a plan to solve the housing crisis—her housing crisis. Nonetheless, yesterday the National Republican Senatorial Committee committed $42,000 to her campaign. That should come in handy when her next rent is due.

    Responding to Karl Rove’s criticism of Christine O’Donnell, Sarah Palin said that Karl should “buck up.” Did anyone else notice that Palin mocked Karl Rove for being a “politico”… in her capacity as a political pundit for Fox News? Karl Rove and you have the exact same job description, Sarah. It’s just that his resume doesn’t have as many misspellings. Then last night on O’Reilly, Sarah Palin advised Christine O’Donnell to “speak through Fox News.” It makes it sound like Fox News is some sort of fake psychic who channels voices from the great beyond—in other words, exactly what it is.

    Comment by Chris H — September 17, 2010 @ 2:00 am - September 17, 2010

  24. are you freaking serious endorsing O’Donnell? WTF kinda gay are you? How can you endorse people that would wish us not to exist? How can you support people that Focus on the family and Family research council endorse? I cannot even fathom that gay people like you exist! Are you from the Larry Criag wing of the gay?(If that even is realistic!)

    Comment by Chris H — September 17, 2010 @ 2:50 am - September 17, 2010

  25. Chris H, if you actually read my post, you would know that it’s not an endorsement. I have not endorsed her and indeed backed Castle in the primary. You’d know this if you reviewed our archives before hurling accusations and insults.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — September 17, 2010 @ 3:42 am - September 17, 2010

  26. She admitted that her prior campaign had paid half the rent on her townhouse because it doubled as her headquarters.

    So? Most home-based businesses have an identical arrangement — you pay a portion of your rent or mortgage and write it off as a business expense.

    Furthermore, if you are an Obama Party member, you can use campaign and PAC funds to pay the full amount of the rent for your luxury rent-controlled apartment without anyone in the Obama Party or gay and lesbian community saying a word.

    Here’s a bit of advice, Chris H; start thinking for yourself and doing a little research, instead of obediently spouting the talking points provided you by Gay, Inc. and its Obama Party massas.

    For now, all you’re confirming is that gays and lesbians are hypocritical lying leftists who attack others for doing what they fully support and endorse their Obama Party massas doing.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — September 17, 2010 @ 3:09 pm - September 17, 2010

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