2010 was a come-back for the GOP, erasing the Democrats’ wins over the previous four years, and a massive rebuke to the Obama tax and spend, regulate and frustrate juggernaut. What happened in 2012? Republicans had not properly integrated the purposeful passion of the Tea Party with the savvy pragmatism of Washington experts. A disparate disdain created out-of-mainstream candidates who said too much, did too little, had no ground game. The mixed results remind one of the popular high school class presidential candidate who has a lot of passion, but a string of C’s and D’s on his report card.
2010, and Washington Post Columnist George Will commented that the lone house Rep (and Republican) of Delaware, Mike Castle, a direct descendant Biden, then held in transition by candleholder Ed Kaufman, who had no interest in keeping the seat.
2010, the Senate seat was all but assured for Mike Castle, Delaware’s former Lieutenant Governor, then Governor, then at-large House Rep for eighteen years.
Was he the conservatives’ favorite? No. Was he a hit with every radio personality? Who cares? He represented the First State with first rate pride and purpose. He voted against ObamaCare, he voted against the stimulus. He also voted for Cap and Trade. So what? The Democratic supermajority in the US Senate killed Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade before it left committee.
Then came Christine O’Donnell to challenge Castle. Something about that woman rubbed Republicans the wrong way, and bothered a lot of Delaware voters, too. Grassroots, Middle Class, and even elite Republicans, including Tea Party activists, were spot on with their uproar about spending gone berserk in the Beltway. Their frustration with Washington was both candid as well as credible, yet the same movement began endorsing incredible candidates while disdaining the established contenders merely because they were Establishment types. Sharron Angle of Nevada had the ground, but not the ground game. Sarah Palin’s personal problems interrupted former attorney Joe Miller’s upswing in Alaska, where Establishment GOP Lisa Mur-Kow-Ski’s write-in initiative trumped the Tea Partier and the Democrat. South Carolina US Senator Jim DeMint made some bold and wise endorsements, but they were hit and miss in Delaware, where his last-minute endorsement stole the election from right-for-Delaware Castle. Instead, DeMint was hoping to build a castle in the air with “Mamma Grizzly” Christine O’Donnell, who was grizzled with problems.
Was Christine O’Donnell too conservative for Delaware? Yes, but that is not the real problem. She was not consistent, she was not competent, and she was not connected.
How can anyone claim consistent conservative credibility when they launch a gender discrimination lawsuit against a conservative think-tank? True conservatism respects the fundamentals of the national charter and individual liberty, not telling people what to do, in public or in private, because of religious affiliations. A true conservative does not mismanage campaign funds, only to endure an indictment from the federal government.
Was it her frequent gaffe-prone, daffy appearances on Bill Maher’s “Politically Incorrect”, in which she claimed that she dabbled in witchcraft, or that she would still tell the truth about family members hiding from the Nazis if she had lived during the Holocaust? Was it her gross insistence on lecturing young people how to treat their bodies in private? When it comes to “competence”, O’Donnell does not come to mind.
Was it New York native O’Donnell’s loose interpretation of her previous “campaign accomplishments”, when she claimed that she had won two out of three counties in Delaware? No matter how anyone spun the numbers, O’Donnell had a track record of running losing races: unconnected.
Mike Castle deserved, no deserves, to be Delaware’s Senator. He is competent, consistent, and connected. Tea Party Republicans have been lacking the connected part for the past two cycles. It’s not enough to be fired up, but other people have to be fired up with you. It’s not enough to feel oppressed by a repressive government; other people have to see the oppression that you feel. Castle understood this, and so did the voters in the First State, who just named a bike trail in his honor.
2010 was great: The Chicago Stock Exchange spokesman yelled on the floor, demanding that it was high-time for a “Tea Party”. The Tea Party movement stormed the National Mall. Sarah Palin decried ObamaCare’s Death Panels. 2014 can be a greater, without the GOP infighting between the raging populists and sage establishment. Mike Castle represents this pathway for Tea Party populists and Establishment pragmatists to work together and cut the spending, lower taxes, and decentralize federal power back to the states.
With all due respect, the only “RINO” in Delaware 2010 was O’Donnell, not Castle. Her “ideological” perfection was the enemy of Castle’s pragmatic “good enough”. Castle was good enough in 2010. He would be good enough in 2014. The Delaware GOP catch a break, catch a win, and help the GOP catch fire with a new Fifty-State Strategy with Castle in 2014. As for O’Donnell, let her run for dogcatcher.