Yesterday, Christine O'Donnell won the republican primary against incumbent Mike Castle. This was a come from behind victory, in a hotly contested race. She was heavily endorsed by the Tea Party Express and Sarah Palin, but had a much smaller war chest and some personal baggage, and yet still she won. Establishment republicans are bemoaning her win, saying the seat is all but gone. Democrats are cheering for their good fortune. The National Republican Senate Committe, chaired by Sen. Cornyn, came out last night after the race was called for O'Donnell and flatly stated that they would not be funding her race in the general election.
Talk about sour grapes. They feel O'Donnell doesn't have a snowball's chance, so they want to cut their losses and reroute the money to a race with better prospects. Mike Castle refused to throw his support in with O'Donnell - a petty bit of churlishness - and the Delaware GOP still haven't taken down their attack website.
Fortunately for Ms. O'Donnell, the NRSC
As wonderfully unifying as it is that the NRSC is making nice-nice with O'Donnell and ponying up some cash, she doesn't seem to really need them right now. Her website has been so inundated that it has been crashing all day. There are reports that her money bomb bagged a whopping $750,000 today.
It will be an interesting race to follow. It is understandable that the RNC would support their own incumbent during the primary, but their petulant reaction to the loss is not. They should take their cues from Bill Clinton. Never thought I'd say that. Speaking of Mr. Clinton, he had a moment of insight that the republicans should also take to heart. He was referring to Bush when he said:
"A lot of their candidates today, they make him look like a liberal,"
Actually, a progressive, but why split hairs?
It is true that O'Donnell's chances are slim, but the desire for fiscal restraint is a powerful force these days, and should not be discounted. As Ms. O'Donnell herself said, the experts said she didn't have a chance of winning the primary against the oh-so-popular and much loved Mike Castle, either. And perhaps, if he hadn't voted for cap and trade, she might not have won. But the cap and trade vote was what did him in. It branded him a RINO and, with a few exceptions like John McCain (amazing how his pre-primary "no amnesty whatsoever" has phased into post-primary "resolving their issues..."), RINO's are becoming an endangered species politically speaking.
The republicans should take note and learn from this. Are they being "held hostage" by the "right-wing radicals" that allegedly are the tea parties? Well, if demanding a return to their fiscally conservative roots is being held hostage, then yes, they are. Does it mean a return to ultra-conservative policies across the board, as democrats keep warning? Not so much. Most tea partiers are only concerned with fiscal policies. Since the the early 1990's, the republican party has tacked to the center-left, buying into the theory that bringing home pork and expanding government was the way to keep getting elected. The needs of the country were secondary to the party and the individual politician, and the Constitution was an inconvenient piece of paper that restricted their plans. Establishment pols are being tossed because they are the problem, and the problem is on both sides of the aisle.
Never underestimate an electorate scorned and taxed to within an inch of their lives. Establishment politicians have forgotten that they are public servants. The tea party is simply reminding them. They would be wise to take heed. Even Chris Matthews has gotten the memo: