When to lose

Pat Toomey in 2004 is a great example. Specter clearly had a better chance in the general, but Toomey was worth the risk, not just because Specter was so awful, but because Toomey himself was such an exemplary conservative politician. He would have been–he still is–a walking advertisement for conservatism: reasonable, serious, upstanding, deeply grounded. You could imagine Toomey changing the political landscape because he has the ability to persuade. O’Donnell will be the anti-Toomey, a conservative standard-bearer who could have been selected by a group of hostile people out to create an unflattering impression of us.