And yes, it may cost the Republicans a chance to take the seat in November.
So what? Sometimes it is more important to get the attention of the party. If that costs a seat, then so be it. And that message is being sent. Miller, Paul, Angle, and now O’Donnell.
This is what the GOP should take from this race:
"This shows that conservative energy at the grassroots is at tidal wave levels," said Vin Weber, a former Minnesota congressman and GOP lobbyist. "It may well cost us the Delaware Senate seat, but the same phenomenon will help Republicans, particularly in House races in November."
That’s right. Key word: “conservative”. And that energy is only going to be maintained with candidates of which that “grassroots” group approves. Mike Castle wasn’t that candidate. The same story played out earlier in Utah where free spending and GOP establishment candidate Sen. Bob Bennett was defeated. Mike Lee, the eventual winner, ran on a rather simple platform that resonated:
"I’m a lifelong conservative and I’ve long stood for the idea we need to limit the power of government in order to make life better for Americans," said Lee, a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.
The Bob Bennett’s and Mike Castles (one of the only Republicans to vote for cap and trade in the House) of the world don’t fit in that scenario. And while it may cost a “probable” Republican seat or two in this election, that’s the usual short-term horserace view that continues to get Republicans in trouble. It’s not just about the number of seats, but who is sitting in that seat. Republicans will have plenty of seats – enough to block any further big government nonsense by Democrats. But they have to be seats filled with occupants that aren’t as likely to side with Dems as the GOP.
What the O’Donnell victory should prove to the Republican hierarchy is the “grassroots” isn’t going to support their candidates just because they’ve been approved by the NRSC or NRCC and the backroom boys. They’ve been trying to tell them that for years. Now they’re actually taking action. The insurgents are alive, well, active and making a statement. And Mike Castle wasn’t the answer to their desires.
What the O’Donnell race points out – as it did in the other insurgent victories – is the “base” is not going to stand idly by while the NRSC chooses candidates that don’t live up to their wants and expects them to support that candidate. Especially if the candidate is an old establishment moderate that shows up with the other side as much as he shows up with his own side.
Naturally this doesn’t sit well with the power brokers in the GOP. Watch the petulant Karl Rove all but denounce O’Donnell after it is affirmed she’s taken Mike Castle down (via Hot Air):
Again you hear the number count as the prime motivation for the GOP. “Well we coulda hada seat.”
Yeah, and you could of had the usual sort of person in that seat spending as much time caucusing with the big government Democrats as with Republicans. So what good is it, really?
Certainly O’Donnell has baggage. But apparently the conservative voters in DE decided her baggage was much more acceptable than Castle’s votes. And, as you heard Rove say, they surged at the end, turning out in much higher numbers than expected. The NRSC can ignore that or they can go with it. It appears the establishment GOP in the form of the NRSC will choose not to help fund O’Donnell’s race. And, naturally, Mike Castle, the sore loser, has said he won’t endorse O’Donnell. That way, I guess, if she loses the establishment GOP can say, “see, we told you so. Listen to us, we know what’s good for you and Delaware”. Sound familiar?
Then look around you and take a look what listening to the establishment on either side of the political spectrum has given us to this point.