Behind closed doors Wednesday, Republican senators tried to assess the damage. Several senators at the lunch, including Scott Brown of Massachusetts, raised concerns that the party has sent a message that it had no room for moderates, even from left-leaning states, according to people familiar with the exchanges. And others expressed frustration that the GOP had essentially given away a pivotal seat that Castle could have won…
“This is a classic example of where defeating the most electable conservative candidate would be a bad move — in my view,” said the senior GOP senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham, discussing the Delaware race in which he backed Castle. “It’s one thing to purify the party. It’s another thing to build coalitions. Ideological purity has to have some boundaries because the country is fairly center-right, that’s my view.”…
Asked if he were concerned that O’Donnell’s nomination could cost his party a seat, DeMint said he wasn’t “interested in political ideology or party right now. We need people up here to understand we’ve got to get back to limited government, and we can’t afford to have other Republicans who don’t get the message.”
Funny, I don’t recall hearing similar talk from the likes of Mssrs. Rove and Cornyn after Scott Brown won in Massachusetts, Joe Miller won in Alaska, or Rand Paul won in Kentucky. In fact, despite similar sliming by the state party apparatus before Paul’s victory Rove was downright supportive of him, saying on Fox News that Rand Paul could win the general election, just as he could win the primary. And this was after the state party did its darnedest to tear Paul apart and to make him look like an incompetent kook, in many ways similar to what the Republican political class has been doing to O’Donnell.
The difference here is that once the primary was over, the political elites in Washington stood by their men. Why won’t they do it for the woman?
Now, most elite Republicans understand that the red meat fed to the base isn’t exactly right. It’s useful to scare the daylights out of the activists, but writers for the Standard and the Journal editorial page understand that “freedom,” as most people understand the term, is not really at risk. They understand as well that politics is a little more complicated than “if Republicans stay true to conservatism, they cannot lose.”
But the conservative base is not in on the joke. And so Republican elites found themselves with just a few frantic days to undo the toxic and intoxicating effects of 20 months of relentless propaganda. Vote for the man who compromised with evil! The true conservative can’t always win! They couldn’t do it.
I won’t say that the Republican base strategy has been a total failure. But it is nice to see it blow up in the face of the establishment from time to time.
[L]et me make a suggestion to the snarling combantants in the GOP’s looming civil war. Let’s settle the argument once and for all. I think the architects of the O’Donnell putsch, namely S.C. Senator Jim DeMint and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, should both temporarily move to Delaware full time and personally lead the O’Donnell campaign. Control it, direct it, and own it. Show that Georgetown cocktail party addicted and hapless GOP establishment how it’s really done. I’ve got my notebook out, and I’m ready to learn. Call me a peacemaker.
After O’Donnell’s victory, Sarah Palin issued a call for “unity” among Republicans. I fully support this and support candidate O’Donnell. She has deep flaws, but I’d rather see my flawed candidate in the Senate than the other side’s flawed candidate.
However, I can tell you that Palin’s “unity” directive is going to be hard to implement.