Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Politics Is Thicker Than Water: Stuff Floats

So. Last night the much-bashed Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell won the Republican primary election in Delaware.

Michelle Malkin has a round-up of reactions. As she says,
Expect more Washington Republicans to start sounding like Tea Party-bashing libs as their entrenched incumbent friends go down. (Hot Air has the Rove/Hannity video.) [get the link at her site]
That’s it in a nutshell. Grassroots conservatives are wisely sending the Republican machine a message: we’ll vote for an Independent, no matter how shaky he is, if all you’re going to offer us is liberal Republicans who are no better than their Democrat counterparts. And if that means the machine shrinks further, then the blame is on your head, RNC.

A little background:
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Delaware is a very small, staunchly Democrat state. But the fact that the incumbent Congressman (who lost this Senate bid) is a Republican made no difference to the primary voters, because Castle is a machine hack. He’s pro-abortion, pro-gun control and he doesn’t listen. That’s not a winning combination for conservative voters. And in the Republican primaries, conservative voters show up.

Here’s a view from the other side on this race, trying (and failing) to explain it all:
O’Donnell’s win solidifies the hold that the tea party movement has on the GOP. O’Donnell’s defeat of former Gov. and current Rep. Mike Castle in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate is just the latest in a long line of triumphs of the very conservative tea party over the moderately conservative GOP establishment. [my emphasis here — D]
This is simplistic and wrong. To begin with, the GOP is running away from the tea party folks. Also, this pundit conveniently overlooks incumbent John McCain’s thumping of the tea party candidate in Arizona. McCain listened and he moved right, particularly on immigration and border issues, which are literal life-and-death matters in Arizona. McCain was smart: he got the message, then repeated it back to the electorate loud and clear.

Thus conservatives in Arizona voted for McCain. That phenomenon was an important communication to the Republican establishment but the message doesn’t appear to have made it to their door. Could it be the poor mail service in Washington? Does mail from the hinterlands not get delivered inside the Beltway?

This Politico commentator goes on:

But the victories of very conservative candidates like O’Donnell and Sharron Angle in Nevada has made it more difficult for the GOP to wrest control of the U.S. Senate from Democrats.
Correct as far as it goes. But he’s mistaking the intent of the voters — the machine wants to “wrest control” of the U.S. Senate. But for voters, what’s the point in GOP control if it doesn’t differ in kind from Democrat control? What, we need more Olympia Snowes on the Republican side so they can march in lockstep with the Dems?

The voters are telling the GOP to get its own house in order and to begin backing real conservative candidates. Unfortunately, the Republican National Committee doesn’t understand the situation any better than this writer at Politico. Perhaps they drink the same municipal water?

The longer the GOP hacks deafen themselves against what the majority of the electorate is saying — loud and clear — then the longer will they lose. People are demanding change; they are not demanding more professional pols. If the failure to offer them a choice means losses in 2010, so be it. If this means damage to the national party, so be it. After all, what has the national party done for the voters exactly?

Why is it so hard for the RNC to grasp that people have simply quit listening to their the top-down commands? but the former, being deaf and pseudo-Democrat, don’t even know they’re being ignored. Will these primaries teach them anything? One doubts it. People who refuse to listen can’t change.

Fred Barnes succinctly presents the Delaware equation for failure.

First proposition:
Mike Castle might have been a wonderful general election candidate in the Delaware Senate race. But he ran a terrible campaign in the Republican primary.
Second proposition:
He acted like a candidate who hasn’t paid an iota of attention to what’s been going in the primaries across the country this year.
I’ll bet this inattention wasn’t an “act”. Like many professional politicians, he didn’t take the tea parties seriously. Given their staying power so far, that was a strategic error.

Corollaries are four:
  • One, he didn’t run as a conservative or at least as someone who’d taken a conservative stand on important issues.

    Even though he had voted against some of the godzilla legislation, he didn’t bother emphasizing this. Besides, being for gun control is a deal-killer for conservatives.
  • Two, he urged people to vote for him because he could win the general election and McDonnell couldn’t. Primary voters in particular are committed to issues, not to strategy.
  • Three, like all too many of his peers, he was “insulted” that he had to be seen running against a tea party opponent. How embarrassing for him. As Barnes put it:
    Hadn’t he noticed what has happened in other states earlier in the primary season -- in Alaska, Utah, Colorado, among others -- when candidates like himself were knocked off? The Tea Party candidates haven’t always won, but they’ve proved to be a formidable threat to more credentialed and establishment-oriented candidates.
  • And four, personal attacks are lame when Big Problems like the deficit, unemployment and taxes, etc., are looming so large they block the sun. Barnes says O’Donnell’s flaws are “too numerous to count”…but no one cared because she is committed to conservative issues.
There is no question about it: O’Donnell is not going to win the general election; she has way too much baggage. However, the national Republicans are not covering themselves with glory, or even acting rationally, when they go around shooting the tea party contenders in the foot.

Machine Republicans don’t understand basic anatomy here: that’s a Republican foot. In other words, aiming for the appendages of your own body (politic) does harm to the larger organism. And such behavior is a manifestation of a much more serious dissociative disorder among these pols.

But the tea parties embarrass them. How gauche these flyover folks are! Sarah Palin embarrasses them. Does she have to be so totally outside-the-Beltway, so… so redneck?

Poor RNC. They’re hiding under the bed, afraid to face all the leftist intelligentsia. Is there not a man among them who isn’t afraid to stand for principle?

As the Baron says, since they’re so determined to play it this way, we may as well enjoy watching them self-destruct. Then we wait for 2012, hoping they’ll have learned something by the time things get real.

7 comments:

Zenster said...

After all, what has the national party done for the voters exactly?

KILL US. That's what.

Be it toxic and counterfeited cheap Chinese crap, hopelessly ineffectual anti-terrorist security measures, untrammeled immigration from Third World countries or simply exporting all of our jobs so that we gradually starve to death, machine politicians are proving themselves to be nothing but street corner whores that will prostitute their offices for campaign donations regardless of who writes the check.

Three, like all too many of his peers, he was “insulted” that he had to be seen running against a tea party opponent.

When a politician is "insulted" to run against someone the people have thrust forward from their own ranks, such a contemptuous attitude towards the electorate deserves to be rewarded in one way only. Namely, being denied office, preferrably on a permanent basis.

McCain should consider himself fortunate that he was returned to office after so many routine betrayals of his electoral base.

And such behavior [self-inflicted injury] is a manifestation of a much more serious dissociative disorder among these pols.

We've been seeing this for decades as the notion of "public service" has faded from view in the political arena. It seems as if "win at any cost" is now accompanied by an equally destructive sense of self-importance and outright elitism.

Pretending that one is above the law in a land that is based on the rule of law is, and should be, a recipe for political suicide.

But the tea parties embarrass them.

Not half as much as being drummed out of office, I'll wager. Either the RNC begins to embrace tea party values or it can look forward to dying on the vine as it so richly deserves.

1389 said...

McCain made a big show of embracing the conservative message in order to win the Republican primary. But no sooner does he win than he starts talking about being "open-minded" regarding the stealth-amnesty "Dream Act".

I don't trust him, and that's that.

1389 said...

McCain made a big show of embracing the conservative message in order to win the Republican primary. But no sooner does he win than he starts talking about being "open-minded" regarding the stealth-amnesty "Dream Act".

I don't trust him, and that's that.

rickl said...

I kicked in a small contribution to O'Donnell tonight.

As for her "unelectability": Wouldn't it be ironic if all the vitriol directed at her by the Republican leadership ends up making her more attractive to moderate Democrat voters?

If that happens, she will win.

Dymphna said...

@rickl--

You reminded me of something I read recently-- some analyst or other observed that negative ads and campaigning are not helping the candidacy of those running. So if the opposition is going to make points on a candidates questionable behavior, it will have to be done carefully.

I wonder if they'll start behaving with courtesy. No name-calling. Have we started a trend?

Heh. Anyway, it's not politics as usual this season.

The Poster Formerly Known as Gordon said...

The problem with the Republicans being hijacked by the ideological tea party movement is related to two facts:

1. A majority of Americans (we'll see how big a majority when Sarah Palin gets thumped by Obama in 2012) are not going to vote for a pure tea partier. I know some of you may think otherwise, but I would assert that you are delusional, as delusional as Barry Goldwater's supporters were in 1964 and George McGovern's supporters were in 1972.

2. Our national and state legislatures are elected by "winner-take-all" single-district constituencies. Thus, except in VERY rare circumstances, there can be only two parties with significant numbers of legislative seats. And thus, parties must of necessity be coalitions of voters and candidates with somewhat disparate views. When parties, like Delaware's Republican primary voters, decide that they must have a whole pie (O'Donnell), rather 3/4 or 1/2 of a pie (Castle), they defeat this basic aspect of the electoral system we live under.

And actually there's nothing in the U.S. Constitution that prevents the U.S. House of Representatives and every state in the nation to choose another form of government. I would suggest that, once teapartiers realize (perhaps through bitter experience) that a majority of their fellow citizens don't agree with them, they should consider supporting some sort of proportional representation system, whereby a Party of teapartiers can divorce themselves from all those RINO's, run their own candidates, get perhaps 30% of the votes, and then get 30% of the legislative seats.

And then the compromising and dealmaking will occur in the legislature itself. The new Tea Party can coalesce with other parties on issues of common agreement to get things that they want done, done.

rickl said...

And actually there's nothing in the U.S. Constitution that prevents the U.S. House of Representatives and every state in the nation to choose another form of government.

Article IV, Section 4:
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.