Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Delaware Disaster

If there is one thing Republicans excel at, it’s losing elections they should win. In fact, they’ve made it into an art form. Last night’s selection of Christine O’Donnell in Delaware’s Republican primary is virtually a case study in this. They did everything wrong in this primary, and there’s plenty of blame to go around.

Let’s start with the obvious. Many of you won’t want to admit this, but O’Donnell has no chance of winning. Every election tracking specialist from Michael Barone to Karl Rove agrees with this, and the polls confirm it. Most polls (including Rasmussen) show her around 11% behind the Democratic nominee and falling as moderate Republicans abandon her.

And in her loss, we are all but guaranteed that we will not retake the Senate. More importantly, we are going to lose an historic opportunity to take a seat that hasn’t swung Republican since 1972 and which could have easily gone Republican this time. This will haunt us in 2012 and beyond.

So who is to blame? Everyone involved.

The Conservatives. Too many conservatives underestimate the importance of winning. Indeed, the importance of having a Republican in a seat cannot be over-stated, and it goes way beyond how they will vote on individual pieces of legislation. The House and Senate are set up to give disproportionate power to the party in the majority. The majority party controls the schedule, controls what can and will be debated, and under what terms these bills will be debated. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have single-handedly decided the fate of this country through this power; nothing they did not like ever made it to the floor.

Yet, many Republican favor pointless stands on purity that achieve nothing except defeat. They don't understand that it is better to get half of what you want (or more in this case because control of the leadership is worth much more than half) than nothing except smug satisfaction. That is how the Democrats have pushed this country to the left and how Ronald Reagan pushed us back to the right. . . a little at a time, taking what they could get from any allies they could get it from. They understood that politics is about convincing people to come around to your way of thinking and is ill-suited for the all or nothing approach. . . the public always selects nothing. They also understood that not every state was going to cooperate and that it was better to take what you could get in some states than spite yourself to hold out for the perfect.

Now, this is not to say that conservatives should always vote for the most electable candidate. I don’t believe that. But there must be a blending of the issues of how electable a candidate is in a particular state with how they are likely to perform in Washington. Thus, tossing out Lisa Murkowski in Alaska makes sense, as does the selection of Paul Rand in Kentucky and Ken Buck in Colorado. But in a state like Delaware, where conservatives are a rare breed, and where one candidate would be a clear winner in the general election (and has a proven track record of being elected repeatedly), while the other is so far behind in the polls as to be a sure loser (and has a record of repeatedly losing elections), it is simply stupid to go with the loser.

But I'm not saying that I think Castle should be the nominee in Delaware. What I'm really saying is that the voters never should have been put in a position where voting for Mike Castle was the smart choice. Indeed, the real problem with conservatives in this instance was not in thinking that someone more conservative than Castle could win in Delaware, it was in accepting O’Donnell as that someone. Consider this. O’Donnell ran in the Republican primary in 2006. When she lost, she tried to run independently as a write-in candidate (disloyalty). She ran again and lost in 2008, this time by 30% (unelectability). In 2008, her mortgage went into foreclosure and her house was scheduled to be sold off at a sheriff’s auction until her campaign counsel stepped in to buy the house (corruption). In 2009, she began paying her rent with campaign contributions. She never paid her staff from the 2008 campaign. In 2010, the IRS put a lien on her property for taxes she owed from 2005. In 2004, she sued the Inter-Collegiate Studies Institute for gender discrimination (seeking $7 million, mostly in pain and suffering and punitive damages). And she made a series of false statements about her college degrees and on her FEC financial disclosures. None of this is consistent with her conservative rhetoric.

Conservatives bear the blame for not fielding a better candidate, i.e. one who was both conservative and electable. To have selected O’Donnell and chosen her over Castle was an act of political suicide that basically ensured the Democrats could keep a seat they would have lost. We are likely to pay for this for years to come as we try to repeal what the Democrats have done.

The Establishment. An even greater share of the blame for this debacle falls on the Republican establishment. Mike Castle is a RINO. He has held elective office since 1966 and is considered one of the most liberal Republicans in Congress. He voted for the TARP, cap and trade, and the DISCLOSE Act which limits freedom of speech. He also favors gun control and earned a 100% score from pro-abortion groups like NARAL. This is not a man who should ever have been fielded as a Republican candidate, and he should never have received any support from the establishment in a primary.

Since it’s naive to argue that the establishment should sit out primaries (and I don’t believe this anyway), I say very firmly that the establishment should have scoured the countryside for someone more electable. By failing to do that, the establishment surrendered the chance of fielding a candidate who was both conservative and capable of winning election, and left the voters with a choice of the lesser of two evil lesser. This is where most of the blame lies, and it’s the same blame they earned in allowing Dede Scozzafava to be the nominee in New York. It’s time that the establishment stopped looking for cozy insiders and careerists and began looking for talented conservatives.

All of Them. Finally, it is time that Republicans and conservatives learned to stop spitting venom at each other in the primaries. Ronald Reagan said the Eleventh Commandment was to never speak ill of another Republican, and he was right. This election cycle in particular has seen Republican after Republican savage each other in some of the sleaziest, nastiest campaigning I’ve ever seen in my life. What good does that do for the party? Primaries should not be bloodbaths, they should be about ideas and goals.

Once again, Delaware provides the perfect example of this. Castle and his allies in the establishment have spent the last week calling O’Donnell everything but a crazed child molester. They have made it virtually impossible to work with her following her win, and (more importantly) have raised the level of hate so much among moderate Republicans that she can expect none of them to vote for her, i.e. they guaranteed that she would lose. This was called scorched earth when Hitler did it, and it was no more successful then than it will be now. But the establishment wasn’t alone in this. O’Donnell accused Castle supporters of breaking into her home (though oddly, she filed no police report). Her supporters also put out an ad suggesting that Castle (who is married) engaged in a homosexual affair.

This sh~t must stop.


LL said...

The nation is fragmented politically and this race underscores deep divisions among the Republican Party. -- however they don't want to split the party into two because they want conservative votes.

The Republican Party hasn't been conservative for a long time. Barry Goldwater and Ronald Regan were the last gasp of what has become a moderately pro-welfare state party that tries to please everyone more or less, throwing sops both to the left and right within its ranks.

The Democratic party gets a high percentage of its votes by buying them with taxpayer's money, promising the 'mob' to loot one segment of society and provide a portion of that treasure (after generous contributions to patrons in the form of porkbarrel spending) to the voters who essentially pay no taxes. They find much of their strength from the Mainstream Media who sold their soul and increasingly, voters know it.

Enter Independent Voters, who are so disgusted with both parties that the don't want to affiliate themselves with either one.

In the case of the "Delaware Disaster" a lot of people say that the wrong Republican won, as Democrats burned candles in church and found their prayers answered.

Third Parties have never gotten off the ground in America. They simply leech votes from one mainstream party or another. I'm not so sure that you won't see a viable third party emerge after 2012.

AndrewPrice said...

LL, The way our system is set up, third parties simply aren't possible. The two main parties are too good at taking enough of their ideas to keep all but a small percentage of people from drifting to them. Moreover, there is enough difference between the two parties that it becomes "dangerous" to let the other side win. For example, while you may not like the Republicans, you must admit that things have been much worse for your beliefs under the Democrats. It's the same in the other direction. Thus, voters are presented with two choices -- throw their votes away or face an Obama/Bush scale disaster.

Moreover, when the activists who don't like third parties separate themselves off into those third parties, they surrender any chance they had of fixing the situation. They have basically made themselves irrelevant and made it easier for the system they hate to continue.

DUQ said...

Interesting thoughts, Andrew.

I think the issue here is that the Republican establishment seems out of touch with the people in the party. It's not a cohesive unit right now, and that's going to lead to bloodbaths. It's really a battle over the direction of the party that is playing out.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, I think that's right. I think the establishment types have been living in a bubble too long and they've lost touch with real America -- they live in the world of taxpayer funded privileged America and they think America is represented by single-issue activists. They don't understand our broader concerns or our views in general. (And they choose their friends over our principles.)

But it's not just them. On the "public"/conservative side of the ledger, we are putting up people who are often horrible choices, and that (1) doesn't help us win the election (and thus leaves the establishment in place), (2) makes it impossible for the establishment to see that there is a better way, and (3) makes it impossible for the establishment to see what we want them to be.

There is much blame to go around here.

DUQ said...

Perhaps I am naive, but on "our" side I don't see people swarming to be the candidate. Perhaps that is part of the problem. I'm glad to see an increasing number of conservative standing up, but we hardly have our pick of tens of candidates.

And who can blame them, really? Considering what it takes to run for office in this day and age. Conservatives tend to be folks who have businesses and families and lives. Who wants to disrupt all that? No one but the people who want to be career-politicians, that's who.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, But that's part of "the game," finding good candidates. That's what people need to do. You need to scour the country-side for good representatives. Look for local lawyers, doctors, police, business people, mayors, teachers, etc. There are 800,000 people in Delaware and probably tens of thousands who've appeared at Tea Party events, and tens of thousands more who are active in the conservative movement. Yet, this was the best they could come up with? A woman who has all of the hallmarks of a scam artist?

If you want to win, you need to find good people. If you don't do that, then you get the establishment you deserve.

DUQ said...

True, Andrew, true. I just know that I feel very strongly about what's going on, but I would never put myself up for the scrutiny and harassment of being a candidate.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, And therein lies the problem. When the good people who run, it leaves a huge glaring void that the scammers, the crooks, and the nutty will happily fill. And that's why we have the government (and party) that we have.

Writer X said...

Looking at Castle's voting record, does it really matter if a Democratic gets elected in Delaware? Castle could be the bigger person and rally support behind O'Donnell. I know, when hell freezes over. But that's part of the problem, epecially when ego gets in the way. Interesting post, Andrew.

Joel Farnham said...


I don't know. From what I have read, and seen Delavare has never been offered a conservative. They have been offered a liberal or liberal lite.

And it is less than sixty days.

Oh, and O'Donnell was polled as losing by 8 %. She won by 9.

Are you saying that Delaware is too stupid, or that the "ruling elite" won't back her or that she is a bad candidate?

I don't know. I do know that when people thought she was out. She won. Handily.

So, it could just be that if she wins, and that is an if, what would that say about Delaware Politics? What would that say about Karl Rove? Michael Barone?

I say, let her run her campaign. So far, she has beaten the establishment, and the establishment has EGG and CRAP all over it's face.

If she loses, we are no worse off, and we DON'T have another Arlen Spector on our hands. If she wins, the conventional wisdom has been stood on it's head and EVERYONE will have to rethink things, and THAT is a GOOD thing.

Notawonk said...

republicans think they "get us" (conservatives) when in reality they are lost in their own illusions of grandeur. i'm sick of this sh-t too, as are most americans.

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, I think it does matter because of that leadership vote. Having a Democrat in that seat is a vote for helping Reid maintain the leadership, which lets him dictate what will and will not be addressed by the Senate and on what terms. And this will matter a lot when you Reid keeps the Senate 50/50 or 51/49.

If it weren't for that, I would agree. But my bigger point is that it never should have gotten to this point. Instead the conservatives or the establishment presenting a decent, viable candidate, both offered these two, which left the voters with a choice of two horrible candidates. That's the real problem here.

I also suspect that's why this turned so ugly, because it was too horrible flawed candidates clawing each other because they had nothing else to offer.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I disagree on all points.

First, she was polling about even with Castle in most of the recent polls that dealt with likely Republican voters rather than the public at large. In the general election where independent and liberals vote, she will get blown away -- not because she's a conservative, but because of all of her other flaws and because her opponent isn't as unattractive to the electorate as Castle was to Republicans. She lost her last run for Senate by 30%, I would expect something similar, even accounting for the rightward shift this year.

Secondly, let me point out that the things many conservatives are dismissing because they like her rhetoric are things that they would be screaming about if she was the moderate or Democratic candidate. Just because someone appears to be the conservative candidate does not make them a good candidate.

Third, it is flawed logic to say that we aren't worse off. You can't compare who currently holds the seat against who will hold it in the future, you have to compare what we could have had with different alternatives. Because we did have a great chance to get this seat, we are worse off by fielding a candidate who can't win it.

Finally, it's not just the establishment with egg on their faces. Picking someone like this who is horrible flawed and will go down in flames does no credit to conservatism. If I were a moderate, I would be asking, "is this what conservatives see as a good conservative?"

AndrewPrice said...

Patti, Until the Republican establishment gets back in touch with real (i.e. outside the beltway, nonprofessional politicians) they won't get it.

But conservatives need to get better at picking their representatives too.

JG said...

Amen and amen, not just for you article but also your subsequent comments. People who get fed up with the "establishment" (which seems to be a pretty fluid term nowadays, I hear people use it equally for the NRSC and the local chapter of their College Republicans) and then choose to run as/vote for long shots or third-party candidates because they think "a vote based on conscience is never wasted," and then blame other people when liberal Democrats are elected, are a big part of what the problem is, but we aren't supposed to say so.

And as far as the Eleventh Amendment being thrown out the window, I say, thank the Tea Party movement. At least, I've seen on the local level, they have interjected themselves against almost any and all currently elected Republican candidates, because - surprise - there will always be at least 1 vote in a person's record you disagree with, and that's not good enough for purists. That's my biggest beef with Tea Partiers. Collectively there's an aura of a big tent, but individually, when it comes to votes, notsomuch. Anyway, that was a tangent. Sorry.

JG said...

Not to mention, with the third-party issue, it would take quite a bit to replace the infrastructure of the current Republican Party, and that's why Conservatives need to be more concerned with interjecting themselves into current "establishment" positions - party offices at various levels, for example - rather than trying to rewrite the book, so to speak.

CrispyRice said...

Always good stuff to think about, Andrew.

I know I find myself constantly torn between voting with my ideals and voting for what I know is realistically better.

I've asked myself - given a McCain to vote for again, would I do it? A large part of me screams NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! But then, what good does it to do let another Obama in? UGH!!

Same situation - I understand the need to win the leadership. I understand the need to have the majority with the redistricting coming up. BUT, it's such an opportunity to redefine the party and remind the "establishment" of what the party should be.

So, I continue to be torn by ambivalence.

Joel Farnham said...


Then let her go down in FLAMES. Don't help her, don't back her.

She polled a few days ago as losing to Coons by 25%. She polled recently as losing by 16% and you say she is going to lose by 11%.

Hmmm. At this rate, she will poll next week as losing by 6%. What about the week after that?

Hmmm. NRSC just gave her $42,000. She, overnight, gained at least $25,000 at last count.

Her name recognition is NOW statewide in Delaware. Hmmm.

You stated the "CONVENTIONAL WISDOM", and stated if very well. The "CONVENTIONAL WISDOM" also stated that Ronald Reagan couldn't win.

CONVENTIONAL WISDOM also states that we couldn't fly, couldn't split the atom, couldn't create the United States. That flyover country rubes only cling to guns and religion and are too stupid to understand the finer things in life. This has been recorded in history time and again.

What are you going to say if she wins?

Coons, a committed marxist (don't believe me, check him out), has yet to put forward the reasons people should vote for him. She has. Let's just see if the Delaware rubes will buy Coons or O'Donnell?

Elections are about getting your people to vote. Not about convincing the other side to vote for your side. I think she has a lot of people in Delaware. She might get more. Who knows?

Do Delaware people consider themselves conservative or liberal?


Yesterday, a RINO was removed. That is a good thing. A year ago, I didn't think that was possible. Now, I have hope. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks JG! Excellent points!

On the voting records, you're absolutely right. Congress makes thousands of votes in a year and few votes offer ideologically pure choices. For example, there is so much rammed into omnibus budgets that you are guaranteed to vote for something unpleasant unless you reject every budget. And if you do that, then you're accused of voting against good things. It's a cheapshot to single out these kinds of votes rather than looking at whole careers.

Now in terms of Castle, I do find his whole career to be objectionable as a conservative. BUT too many conservatives are focusing on a handful of votes in otherwise distinguished careers to scream "RINO" at people who are not RINOs.

I also agree that the anti-establishment mood is taking on the form of a temper tantrum. First, it's being applied blindly. Right now, too many are falling for every nutcase or scammer who claims to be anti-establishment.

That does nothing but discredit the conservative cause. The left, center and center-right judge conservatives on who they support. Supporting losers and lunatics because they say the right things at the moment does nothing but make us look flaky to the very people we need to convince that we have a credible plan for governing.

AND, when those people go on to defeat in elections that should have been won, that will further weaken our hand by strengthening the argument that conservatives are unelectable.

Further, this whole purity test idea is idiotic. Ronald Reagan would never have passed the test of the modern purists. Neither would Barry Goldwater or any other real conservative. I doubt there is a single politician out there with whom I agree 100%. And if that were my voting requirements, then I would never vote for anyone, and in so doing I would basically be supporting the left because I would be rejecting perfectly fine candidates on the right because they didn't share my precise views.

In other words, people who whine about "I would rather lose the election than vote for someone who isn't pure enough" are the very people who enabled Obama/Pelosi's recent disaster.

I do have a much more favorable view of the Tea Party than you do, but I also see them more as a representation of an intellectual shift in the country -- a demand that DC begin following common sense instead of Washington-DC-insider-common-sense. And for the most part, I think their target list has been well chosen. But I don't like the opportunists who have been trying to claim the mantle of Tea Party leader or kingmaker.

AndrewPrice said...

JG, On the third party issue, it's a fantasy. It's said by people who have no understanding of how politics actually works. It's like high school kids sitting around saying, "man, what if we just all got together and agreed on what to do, wouldn't that be better?"

The idea of forming third parties (1) glosses over ideological difference because they never reach the discussion of what policies they will support or how they will handle difficult issues, (2) ignores the need for an infrastructure, and (3) wrongly assumes that the public thinks like they do but for some strange reason simply hasn't acted on it.

And frankly, while I'm being somewhat insulting: If third-partiers honestly believe what they say, then get into the main parties and CHANGE THEM... don't go whining about forming your own club. Seriously, if you don't have the courage and conviction and ability to convince relatively like-minded people (i.e. Republicans) that they should be more whatever you are, what in the world makes you think that you'll be better at convincing the public at large? And why should anyone trust you?

*** end rant ***

BevfromNYC said...

This has been my gripe with the Tea Party movement from the beginning even though I am a staunch member - the candidates who have been chosen as "the anointed ones" are not savvy politicians. I love the spirit, but the candidates are weak. It is the danger of the politically naive. They can be led astray so easily. I don't see it any differently than what Obama did to rouse the naive of his party.

In my humble opinion, we have overshot our goal. The intention (for me anyway), was/is to vet candidates and to hold current elected officials and potential candidates responsible for their actions, not to field candidates.

Of course the really hard part in traditionally "blue" states like Delaware and New York is to find real Conservative candidates with any clout. Now NY Republicans are stuck with Carl Paladino whom I personally do not like and will be no challenge for Andrew Cuomo (but then I am not sure ANY Republican candidate could challenge Cuomo).

AndrewPrice said...

Crispy, Let me toss this out there. I agree with you to a large degree about having the ability to redefine the party.

For example, in conservative leaning states, we should NEVER send a RINO. But in liberal leaning states, there are limits on how conservative a candidate can be and still be competitive. In those states, it's better to accept a moderate than to lose the seat.

That said, however, the key here is for conservatives to find the best conservative candidate, i.e. the one who will be the most competitive. It only hurts us to choose someone who has all kinds of baggage and is easily lampooned.

It simply does not help the conservative movement to choose flaky candidates who will get blown out. All that does is make our ideology look shaky and unacceptable and it strengthens the idea that "conservatives can't win in those states." Just because someone claims to follow your ideology does not make them a good standard bearer for your cause.

LL said...

Andrew, I'm your biggest fan (maybe just one of the biggest, but why quibble). However what I see is "party elites" in both major parties who are somewhat disconnected with the growing number of people who don't have any political party identity. The numbers are unclear, but it's something close to 30% nationally and I have no idea how it breaks out by state/region.

In the perspective of political races that's a big number and the number is growing. The 30% don't represent a particular block, but they don't much like either of the established party people. And they vote without that "loyalty" to one party or another because those parties are not particularly loyal to THEM.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I do support her because I want a Republican to hold that seat and I hope the people of Delaware do pick her and I would encourage them to do so because she's better than the Democrat.

That said, I deal in reality not wishful thinking, and everything points to a huge, huge loss.

And you are very wrong if you think we can win elections without appealing to the center. There simply are not enough people out there who will always vote for the conservative for conservatives to win without attracting people from the middle. And the only way to do that is with good candidates.

The "conventional wisdom" argument is a canard and bad reasoning. You are cherry picking opinions and attributing them to the population at large and then dispelling arguments that didn't really exist. Reagan was seen as unelectable to the liberal MSM. He was never seen as unelectable to the majority of Americans or Republicans -- in fact, he was governor of California twice.

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. Joel, Also, note that my problem with the whole thing in Delaware is the lack of good choices presented by the establishment AND the conservatives, not the removal of Castle (who I do not like). This has turned Delaware into a wasted opportunity.

Joel Farnham said...


I am going to go out on a limb here. I think she will win against a marxist. Coons calls himself a marxist.

People are going to back her. She is a conservative, despite her flaws.

You can't get onto her website to give her money now because it is overloaded with backers willing to give her money.

She will win. And then we will have another conservative Republican in office.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Good points. I think this is largely about political naivety, and the problem is that there are many opportunists who are willing to exploit that.

I love what the Tea Party has achieved in terms of lighting a fire under the Republican establishment and I am happy with many of the people who have unseated bad establishment candidates.

But the whole movement has a serious temper tantrum aspect to it that (1) limits its ability to vet good candidates carefully -- this is a common problem with "populist movements", they fall for the guy with the most fiery rhetoric, and (2) that makes it prone to an all-or-nothing approach that never works in politics.

I also think you're right about the analogy to Obama, and that will be a problem starting next year when the "purists" sent to DC don't act as pure as people are expecting. Right now there is a sense that they are picking "real people" who will go to DC and will never do what the "establishment" did, and suddenly the government will run with perfect common sense. The first time one of these people votes for a budget that contains a bridge to nowhere, people will see this as a betrayal and that could well sap the energy from the conservative movement. That does worry me.

AndrewPrice said...

LL, Thanks! I'm happy to have fans, I always enjoy your comments -- they're very insightful.

I really do agree with you on that point. I think even the good guys in DC are out of touch. I think they live in a world where real day to day concerns no longer intrude. They are pampered, they are treated like royalty, and they are surrounded by courtiers who shower them with money and praise. And the only contact they have with "the public" are lobbyists and fanatical activists.

As a result, they no longer understand how the rest of us live or what we care about, i.e. they are incredibly out of touch.

And I agree that this has turned people off -- more and more. Add in the disillusionment factor, where the people who seem to be different all turn out to be incapable of changing the place (see Obama, Barack), and you have a real recipe for a disenfranchised electorate.

But that said, there just is no possibility of a serious third party. First, that 30% is not like minded. Some are far left or center left, some are far right or center right. Some are anarchists, some are communists, some just don't know what they are. Some are social conservatives, but economic liberals, others are social liberals but economic conservatives, and many are actually strongly aligned with a party but just like to claim they're independent.

This is too varied a group to present a unified front against the other 60%.

Moreover, the two parties are simply too good at coopting just enough ideas to keep a big enough portion of the 30% on the reservation at voting time and they're really good at scaring the 30% about the other party.

The only way to change our political world is by changing one or the other parties from the inside. . . something the left has been working on for the last decade with significant success.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I hope you're right, I really do.

StanH said...

I agree Castle made sense in Delaware, however he lost, it’s time to get behind O’Donnell and drive the chosen candidate to a potential victory on 11/2/10. She already beat an establishment politician, why not two. I for one am sending money today, let the democrats do the hand wringing,

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I do hope she wins. This is a seat that we should be holding and (if history is any indication) we should be able to hold a long time once we get it.

Unknown said...

Andrew: Compared to the Brown "Massachusetts Miracle," an O'Donnell win would be downright apocalyptic. I hope she can pull it off, because as I've mentioned before, right now the number of "R"s in the caucus totals makes all the difference between a merely good Republican showing and Republican control of the Senate. That was the only reason I was willing to prefer Castle over O'Donnell (well, at least the major reason).

I agree wholeheartedly with your conclusion. The problem was not that Castle was so bad (which he definitely was) but that Delaware specifically and the GOP generally have failed utterly to put forth candidates who are both conservative and viable. The Democrats are already doing victory dances, and who can blame them?

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, That's the real problem in my book, and it's not just a Delaware problem. We're running into it Colorado too, where the conservative candidate turned out to have lied about his work history and apparently there is some issue with his finances.

If conservatives want to take over the Republican Party, they need to start putting forward better options for people to vote for -- and I don't mean "more liberal," I mean all around better: better speakers, better thinkers, less baggage and less flaky.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Excellemt post, Andrew!

I comcur. A much better conservative candidate should've been chosen. I wasn't aware of all those things about O'Donnel, having only read about the alleged break in but no formal compla8nt which is odd enough.
I expected more from Palin and DeMint (and the Tea party) as far as vetting and endorsing her which is probably the only reason she defeated the RINO.

However, she did win and now we should, as you say, support her as much as possible. I hope she wins.

That being said, I have noticed this election cycle, more than any other cycle I can recall, a major problem that the GOP leaders should address (yeah right. We really need better leaders).

And that's this: when the conservative candidates lose (with the exception of my home state of WA) they bow out gracefully and support the winning candidate who may be a fellow conservative or a moderate and/or RINO.

But...when a moderate and/or RINO loses they throw a hissy fit. Some even try to run as independedents (Crist, possibly Murkowski), one has backed the democrat, and few rarely support the GOP conservative that won and actively try to hurt them.

This sh*t has to stop! If moderates are really fiscal conservatives and really care about stopping the damage the neo marxists are doing to our economy and our Constitution, then they should do what conservatives have done for decades: bite their tongues, grit their teeth and support and vote for the GOP candidate that won.

That alone has caused more of a schism between conservatives and moderates than pretty much anything else.
And by conservatives I'm nt just talking about the religious right, but those who want fiscal sanity, a strong military, smaller govt., lower taxes, and stopping the erosion of our rights and liberties.

So this is not simply a moderate vs religious right issue.

Those of us who support the Tea part principles, and who generally like DeMint and Palin (although, obviously they aren't perfect) and hold the same truth's our Founding Fathers did to be self evident need to do our research to prevent this kind of thing (in DE) from happening.

And the moderates need to quit throwing tantrums and stop trying to sabotage the winning GOP candidates.
I'm no fan of moderates but I can work with moderates that have good character.

I cannot stand a moderate (or a conservative) that has deep character flaws and no sense of good sportsmanship, let alone those that actually try to defeat the GOP candidates by any means possible.

Those kind of politicians care more about their malignant narcissist self than they do about the GOP, the economy, their fellow patriots and America. They should be ashamed of their behavior.
Good riddance I say!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I'm also angry at the conservative incumbants (and prior incumbants) of the GOP who are also throwing tantrums this election cycle, lest the mnoderates think I'm singling them out.

They better get it in their heads that their constituants are fed up with the status quo and start doing what we elected them for or they will be next on the proverbial chopping block.

Did I mention we really need better leaders?

AndrewPrice said...

USS Ben, Thanks! And I couldn't agree more.

For our part, it is important that we pick better conservative candidates. I've been a real fan of Jim DeMint in this because he is truly changing the party and the Senate by backing people who will change the clubby culture of that institution. He is doing more to reshape the party as a conservative party and bring some ideological fire to the Senate than anyone I can think of, and I hope he never stops. In fact, if it wasn't for his early support of each of these "insurgent" candidates, they never would have made it as far as they did so that others would take notice.

But in Delaware, he dropped the ball. I have to believe there were better conservatives out there.

That said, I do firmly support her now that she's won (just as I would have supported Castle despite my misgivings). I just don't like the two choices given here.

And I couldn't agree with you more on the other problem you mention. Part of being in a party is loyalty. To say "it's my way or I'll quit" is the height of selfishness and is incredibly totalitarian. Once the party has spoken in the primary, you suck it up and you support the nominee. You don't break off and run as an independent, you don't refuse to endorse the nominee, and you never endorse the Democrat.

I think this is an instance where a performance bond might be in order. Consider Crist for example. To run for the nomination, he should have been made to post a bond contingent on his supporting the eventual nominee and not running as an independent. Maybe the prospect of losing a million dollars would have stopped him. At the very least, his name should be mud as should anyone who does this.

And you're right that this is a specialty of the moderates. They hide behind faked fears that the nominee is "too extreme" as a way to play out their vindictive, ego stroking natures. Something needs to be done to stop this, and this one is on the establishment.

AndrewPrice said...

"Did I mention we really need better leaders?"

-- I agree 100%. The Republicans have done a lot of things right, as I've pointed out, and much of the criticism of them has been unfair.... BUT I still see the same bad impulses in the leadership. They don't seem to have grasped that the public has changed, it no longer supports politicians buying us off with our own money, it no longer wants people who go to DC to be chummy, it no longer supports cowardice in its leadership (i.e. we want parties that stand for something, not that are too afraid to tell us what they want to do), and we no longer accept business as usual.

And I see a lot of business as usual in their unwillingness to put forward a statement of principles, in their form over substance plans to holding hearings to get Obama rather than undoing what he's done to the country, in their support of RINOs like Crist and Castle and Scozzafava and in rushing to support Murkowski until the backlash became too extreme.

These are signs of a leadership that doesn't get it.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"I think this is an instance where a performance bond might be in order. Consider Crist for example. To run for the nomination, he should have been made to post a bond contingent on his supporting the eventual nominee and not running as an independent. Maybe the prospect of losing a million dollars would have stopped him. At the very least, his name should be mud as should anyone who does this."

That's an outstanding idea, Andrew!
Add all the donations they receive up to the point they decide to quit being a republican.
That would definitely put a damper on their lust for power at any cost. :^)

Ponderosa said...

Andrew - most years I would agree with you.
But 2010 is different.

What is “too far”? Who is too extreme? Where is the line? At this stage we do not yet know.
Let’s push it. Let’s find out.

Perhaps it is the loony Marxist that should be worried and not the eccentric – even in Delaware.

And hey, if O’Donnell does lose well, better to find out in an off-year than in 2012.
[Please give the TP/conservatives a chance to learn.]

But if she does win…
then we have a new normal (heh), don’t we?
Either way there will be a stronger crop in 2012.

On a related issue.
Are Maes and O’Donnell a bridge too far?
Most likely.

But why must the GOP candidates be “perfect”?
MSM/Dems make crap up anyway. Then we do the heavy lifting for them.

Keep in mind even with a thoroughly vetted, establishment candidate like McGinnis (and likely November winner) the media dug until they found something and then they just banged away.

This time it was some plagiarism BS (see our current VP). He should have been allowed apologize and then move on. But we in the GOP fall for the higher standard trap nearly every time.

The Dems on the other hand, stonewall until the bitter end. Neither Blumenthal nor Rangle (who just got re-nominated) have paid a price. Their party did nothing. We spend all of our time defending and they spend their time on offense.

I’m all for standards – just not double standards (not trying to be cute).

The primogenitor GOP has given us Castle, Specter, Jeffords, Dole, Bush, McCain, etc.

We’ve tried it their way.

Mistakes will be made but let’s see what happens.

BTW – did you notice that Castle won’t endorse O’Donnell?

AndrewPrice said...

Ponderosa, I haven't had a chance to check out the news today, so I didn't see that he won't endorse her, but I'm not surprised. As Ben said above, this is the problem with these ego-moderates. They think they're entitled and if they don't win the game, then they're going to do their best to ruin it for everyone. It's shameful.

On the "how far do you push," question, my problem is not that she's too conservative, my problem is that she has a ton of baggage (none of which seems consistent with her being a conservative). We conservatives should have found a better conservative to test the limits with -- assuming she even is a conservative, which her personal history makes me wonder (particularly the lawsuit).

It's the same thing with Maes. I voted for him (because I thought he was a better conservative than McGinnis -- though I didn't object to either), but I'm really pissed that he lied about his background. This shows a total lack of judgment and fits right in with the "it's all about me at all costs" attitude that guys like Crist and Castle give off. These are the guys who should not be put in charge of anything (though I will continue to support him over Hickenlooper and Tancredo (who really pissed me off by jumping in to split the vote.)

On the topic of corruption, I agree that there is a double standard, but I don't think it would help us for our side to lower ourselves to their level. That's how we got the Republicans who disgraced us in 2006 and 2008 and who happily play the backscratch game in DC. I think we're better off hammering the Democrats for their lack of ethics, and purging our party of these guys. I truly believe that the public wants clean government and if the Democrats choose to ignore their own corruption, then I think the public at large will hold it against them (even if they don't act that way in these protected districts). . . but we need to be more effective in making this a campaign issue.

That said, I think there is a problem that GOP people tend to blow any issue out of proportion and accept anything they hear about their candidates at face value. I think this comes from a lack of faith in our leadership, which seems incapable of separating good people from bad, so our voters freak out when they see a red flag, no matter how small, because these things have usually been just the tip of the iceberg in the past.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, Thanks, I'm glad you liked the idea! I think it would be quite a deterrent to keep these guys from running as Republicans and then trying to break off. And it should be easy to put in place and quite legal.

(Sorry I didn't respond earlier, somehow I missed your comment.)

Ed said...

Excellent analysis and comments. I'm not sure i have much to add to this. I can't stand Castle, but I don't see O'Donnell as a good choice either. It does seem like an all around failure.

What does Jim DeMint have to do with this?

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, Jim DeMint has been going around the country funding and endorsing unknowns who've been challenging the RINOs. He's been the guy primarily responsible for all of the "insurgents" you've heard about, starting with Rubio, because he's picked these people before anyone heard of them and he got them started with money and endorsements long before the more high profile conservative endorsements have come along (Gingrich, Palin, Club for Growth, etc.). Basically, he's been getting the ball rolling.

And because he's been doing this, the clubby Republicans HATE him.

If the tone in the Senate changes, he will be the one man most responsible for that -- there's not even a close second.

Joel Farnham said...


O'Donnell now has a better chance to win in Delaware. She received over a million dollars since the election.

I think she can now buy ads to plaster all over Delaware her views, her opponents views, just what you get when you vote for her, just what you get when you vote against her, what is in store should you buy into Karl Rove's political rantings etc, etc, etc.

In short, she now can concentrate on her campaign and not worry about liberal ruling elite Republicans.

About Karl Rove?

This article is short and eviscerates Karl Rove's abilities and prognostications, especially since it has been revealed he had traveled to Delaware to help his guy Castle.

Michael Barone just backs up someone called Nate Silver from the New York Times.

On tacking towards the center, I guess you don't see that Delaware is a center right state. In other words, the center is the right.

O'Donnell doesn't have to appeal to the center. She is from the center. :-)

Check out the election turnout for Delaware.

32% Republicans versus 12%Democrats. To be fair this won't hold because there was no statewide primary interest on the Democrat side, but it is interesting isn't it?

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, As for Delaware being center-right, nothing above Virginia is center-right on the East Coast -- they're just varying degrees of left.

I trust Michael Barone's analysis because he has shown repeatedly that he truly understand the electoral numbers even on a district by district basis and I've never seen him shade his analysis to help or hurt anyone.

Rove I don't trust that much.

But it's not just the two of them either, I can line up a dozen conservatives that I trust who say the same thing and who are relying on evidence. The people on the other side are relying on emotion and cherry-picked facts. In that kind of situation, I go with the first group.

Plus, while you are willing to ignore her problems because you support her, people who are not emotionally invested will not. Can you honestly say that if someone on the left or center had the same personal problems, that you wouldn't hold that against them? And if you can't say that, what makes you think that the people on the left and the center in Delaware will overlook those issues here?

We'll just have to wait and see what happens. I hope she wins, but I wouldn't bet a penny on it.

Joel Farnham said...


I don't think you understand Andrew.

This year, stranger things have happened. In one day, she goes from -16 to -11. Second, she has amassed over one million dollars.

I just got contacted by Karl Rove and he has a laundry list of complaints on O'Donnell. Articles as well. Strange thing though it does include her tax lien stuff, but doesn't include her on-air response that it has been concluded and the conclusion is that IRS (gasp) was in the wrong. So I am suspect of his information and I will try to research it. I will get back to you about it, unless you want the e-mail which I can send to you.

People do have foreclsures from time to time and to get out of them, they sell their houses. She did. Does it matter who it was?

I am not having an emotional response except for exasperation with your PURITY concerns. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, Go ahead and post it here. I'll check back periodically. I don't mean to blow you off, but I've got some sort of flu or something and I'm not feeling very lucid at the moment.

Joel Farnham said...


I have read the articles published on March 10, 2010, Sept 3 and 12, 2010.

These four articles look like political hit pieces designed to make a candidate look as bad as possible.

I might remind you, Karl Rove visited Delaware last December 2009.
He requested a meeting with the members of the various Tea Parties. They met. During that meeting he requested that they back off of challenging Castle. They ignored him.

Tuesday, he dissed O'Donnell on air. He redoubled and tripled his efforts the next day.

He said on air that his misgivings with O'Donnell were from meeting her last year yet these articles were written this year after he was dissed by Tea Partiers in Delaware.

In her lawsuit, she claims she was demoted because of her sex. ISI claims she was fired because she ran a PR firm from her office. The article does not try to reconcile the difference between demotion and firing. Maybe the author didn't understand the subtle nuances of the words.

Might I also remind you, Weekly Standard has Fred Barnes and William Kristol. They are friends with Charles Krauthammer. All three have come out against O'Donnell. Collusion? Nah, never happen. One of the articles is from the Weekly Standard.

Two articles are from the News Journal. Which I am sure you realize is a fine upstanding Christian far right newspaper read all over the world. Why it even talked about Castle and his fine upstanding career as the RINO.

This never mentions he was one of the eight Republicans who voted FOR Cap and Trade.

The last one was from the Politico. You know, the Website dedicated to electing Conservatives EVERY WHERE. It concerns the fact that she didn't earn her bachelors until two months before her latest run for office. Her degree was withheld for many years until 2003 when she paid off her student loan. But wait, this article says she just completed her degree. Hmmm. No explaination from her why she just completed it now.

Something stinks. Something stinks to high heaven. I don't think it is her at all.

Here is another thing. Rove gave me four articles two from News Journal, one from the Weekly Standard and one from the Politico. Only one is from a conservative site and it is mostly about Republican Blue Bloods and their collective views of Fly-over Country.

Question, Where are all the conservative articles which deal with conservative issues and vetting a congressman? I shall have to ask Karl Rove that.

Can you send me a list of your conservatives and bloggers?

CrisD said...

I am late to this party...but I want to respond to this post.

I think America is furious over the way Washington as a group bankrupted our country. When the sh~t hit the fan in the Fall of 2008--the Emperor had no clothes! Obama was elected in a haze of incomprehension by voters who didn't know what to think. But after 2 years things have jelled and there is an awfully strong feeling of "throw the bums out."

There will be much chaos but right now we are dealing with public anger with both sides. Washington has kicked the can down the road-- growing debt and instituting much bad management along the way.

I think people may just vote for the gal. (The opponent is self-described marxist, I hear--do ya think Delaware will go for that?) Who knows...what a flippin mess.

Individualist said...

"Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have single-handedly decided the fate of this country through this power; nothing they did not like ever made it to the floor."

And herein lies the problem. Why should two people have that kind of power in the congress. This tells me we have a severe problem with the Senate rules. One which given the right circumstance could lead to a loss of the Republic. It may be unlikely but it happened in Rome. If we elect a Senator Cassius and Brutus I guess we should get concerned.

But I disagree with you that getting rid of Caslte is a not good thing. The guy is a classless #$%^%% who did not have the courtesy to call O'Donnell. You say he would vote with Republicans when he never votes for them in any truly conservative positon.

I think if this guy got in and we got 51 Senators, he would be Jeffords. The problem I have is that the media calls every Tea party candidate "crazy". Angle, Palin, the women in California, now Rick Scott an Rubio in Florida are being so labelled. This is not isolated.

What the Rockefeller establishment does not understand is that people are coming forward because the policies of the Rinos and the democrats are destroying the countty. They have never allowed a congress to implement conservative ideas. Even in 1994 they stopped the ending of farm subsidies. People in the Tea Party are tired of this. We simply are no longer going to give any comfort to the other side because they have taken to much.

A republican controlled senate with a Castle in it will never repeal Obamacare. They will apply some lukewarm cuts and call it such but by and large it and the drive to single payer will remain.

We are at a cliff's edge and unfortunately for the compassionate conservatives there is no slowly going over the edge. It is time to put the car into reverse.

I don't know much about O'Donnell all I know is that if she really is in this kind of peril in the general the Rover argument won't help.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, We're just going to have to agree to disagree. I see no evidence that she has a chance, and I do not so lightly dismiss the concerns of dozens of prominent conservative political observers, nor do I accept the idea that they're somehow pimping for the establishment, nor do I accept that the public will dismiss the allegations against her as you do just because you can find reasons to split hairs about them -- politics doesn't work that way.

As I've said, I will support her because she will be better than the Democrat, but she is a horrible candidate to choose as a standard bearer for conservatism.

AndrewPrice said...

Cris, I agree with you, though I truly doubt they will elect her. My point is that I think we conservatives have blown this one by not picking a candidate with a better background. This seat was there for the taking by a confirmed, attractive conservative candidate -- yet we were left with a choice of someone who raises a lot of suspicions or the RINO.

That's the real crime here. I fault the establishment for the RINO (and they way they've behaved) and conservatives for not finding a better standard bearer.

AndrewPrice said...

Individualist, I'm not saying that getting rid of Castle is a bad thing -- not at all, I think it's a good thing. What I'm saying is that we should have picked a better candidate. How is someone who has all the hallmarks of a con-artist a good choice as a standard bearer for conservatives?

And in that regard, I don't care what the MSM says about calling these people crazy, BUT I do take note when a large number of prominent conservatives start saying the same thing. And I do become concerned when the evidence I've seen tells me that her personal life is not consistent with her rhetoric. . . just like everyone in the establishment.

That's my point.

Joel Farnham said...


I still need the list of people who you listened to about O'Donnell.

I would appreciate it. Thanks.

Individualist said...


I guess I have to bow to your knowledge of O'Donnell to her qualifications as a candidate.

My problem with Rove is not what he said but when he said it. OK Carl you don't like this women and you think it is a mistake. To what end does the Republican Party benefit to your denouncing this women on the eve of having won the election. Could it not have waited at least a week?

This criticism to the extent it is valid is supposed to be left for after the general. Carl you don't have to support the woman or campaign for her but could you at least be silent and let the Tea Party that won her the nomination go forward with attempting to help her win the seat. Your criticism might even be listened to if she loses.

Politics is about Perception. Twelve "prominent" Republicans going on like this will make whatever is said true even if it is not. That is my problem with this.

Joel Farnham said...


I am still reading about O'Donnell and her story. I am right now reading her Lawsuit against ISI aka Intercollegiate Studies Institute. Dry and boring but if any of her complaint is true, damning.

Individualist said...


By that do you mean damning to here or ISI.

Sorry my confusion as to the point as you say if here complaint is true, damning.

At this point will it matter, seems to me in the public arena either way the damage is already done.

Individualist said...

her not here

both time - sorry typos

Joel Farnham said...


I mean to ISI. Just them. The lawsuit was dropped because she didn't have enough money to pursue it.

It is 55 pages long. I just finished it.

Why she didn't or couldn't get a lawyer to represent her with a third of the winnings I don't know.

The other complaints about her are about her inability to pay off students loans.

I dismiss the paranoia complaints because they are given by third parties.

The tax lien was on a house she sold two years prior. The tax lien was attributed by the IRS to be a computer mistake.

Karl Rove sought out the Tea Party activists in December. The activists claim he tried to influence them into dropping O'Donnell. It makes Karl Rove a little suspect after O'Donnell wins the primary.

Fred Barnes runs the Weekly Standard and meets with Krauthammer every day on Bret Baier reports. Charles Krauthammer has come out with similar talking points and admonishes the Delaware voters for daring to think a conservative could win there. He also called on Demint and Palin to prove that she can win by going and help her run her campaign.

The Weekly Standard also has talked about O'Donnell all with not giving any extra info like she paid student bills off, or that the tax lien was a mistake on the IRS's part.

Little things that mitigate or explain the problems she had are missing. Makes me wonder. That's all.

AndrewPrice said...

Individualist, I agree. I think it was irresponsible of Rove to go on the offensive after this was over.

I raised the point here because (1) we don't reach the number of people Fox News does and (2) we aren't a cheerleading site, we're an analysis site -- and I think the lessons here were important to discuss. Also, let me repeat, that I support her as the nominee, though I think it is important to learn the lesson that we need to get better at picking people who represent us.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, Two points on the lawsuit. First, it's a lie that she didn't have enough money to continue. Lawsuits like that are taken on contingency basis, meaning the client pays no money.

Secondly, seeking $7 million for a job that paid $60,000 a year is a clear sign of a shakedown.

In terms of it being damning, complaints are always damning, especially when there isn't much to the allegations.

As for the conservatives, I've seen this from Karl Rove, the Weekly Standard Crew, Charles Krauthammer, the Washington Examiner staff, Jim Geraghty at National Review, and some guy at who worked for her. Other sources include former aids, as well as interviews she did. For polling I rely on Michael Barone and Rassmussen.

Individualist said...


I agree that you should raise the point if only to allow us all an opportunity to vent our frutration.

At this point all we are doing is cataloguing the casualties.

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