The Spectacle Blog

Poll: O’Donnell Beating Castle

By on 9.13.10 | 7:45AM

The Castle-O'Donnell Delaware Senate battle concludes tomorrow, perhaps not a moment too soon.

In a new poll by the folks at Public Policy Polling Conservative activist Christine O'Donnell is now leading liberal Republican Congressman Mike Castle 47-44, within the margin of error.

Conservatives are having a royal shoot'em up over this. The latest being a hit piece in the Weekly Standard by John McCormack smacking Christine O'Donnell over a lawsuit she filed against the conservative Intercollegiate Studies Institute.   

Here's my problem with this. 

I've met Christine O'Donnell over the years a handful of times. Never met Mike Castle.  I'm sure he's a fine guy. I know zero about the lawsuit. Indeed a wonderful ex-colleague runs the ISI and it simply isn't my place to opine on disagreements between political like-mindeds over a private situation of which I know not. As a teen-ager I once attempted to step into a dispute between two beloved uncles. I think I'm still dead.

But we're not talking lawsuits here, we're talking a seat in the United States Senate. A conservative vs. a liberal Republican. My encounters with Christine never once betrayed the kind of wild stuff that is being thrown at her politically now on almost an hourly basis. The Weekly Standard story takes the cake. Again, I don't know Congressman Castle and I'm sure he's one of God's finest. If, however, I or any one else with a keyboard in hand -- say, someone like John McCormack of the Weekly Standard -- had spent serious time delving into Castle's humdrum as a Ruling Class congressman (relationships with lobbyists, donors etc. etc. etc., yada yada yada) -- one doesn't have to be a wizbang to cook up a "scandal."

If you sign on to the idea of the Leviathan, scandal cometh. Indeed, just yesterday the New York Times is suddenly scandalized that the expansion of the enormous statist apparatus they have favored has produced lobbyists with whom John Boehner dallies.  Shocker. How hard would it be to scrape against the underside of Mike Castle's barnacles -- or those of any sitting legislator? Not very. Unless, apparently, you are John McCormack of the Weekly Standard.

I confess that this Castle-O'Donnell fight appears to me not just in the context of the two contenders but in the cumulative experience of the conservative movement to date.  Maybe one has to be old enough to remember when Barry Goldwater was said to be unfit for the White House because he was mentally unstable, a genuine crazy whose supporters were "radical nuts" (in the words of NBC anchorman Chet Huntley).

This election in Delaware -- like earlier primaries or conventions in Kentucky, Utah, Nevada, and Alaska -- repeatedly gives the appearance of an attempt to substitute a Ruling Class/Establishment Party of Dewey and Rockefeller and McCain for the Party of Reagan.

Aside from this latest attack, Castle defenders cite Castle's signing on to a legislative repeal of ObamaCare. On the surface, this is laudable. Castle did in fact vote against the bill in the first place.  But the date plays a role here.  Castle is listed by the House of Representatives itself as having signed on for this on…July 30.  Which is to say, the law was signed in March. The openly voiced brief of Democrats was, in short, once the American people get used to it they'll love it. 

Where was Castle then?  Out there demanding repeal the next day? Introducing his own version of total repeal?  No. What did happen is that on May 9, Utah GOP Senator Robert Bennett abruptly lost his Senate re-nomination to a Utah version of Christine O'Donnell. On June 8, Nevada Republicans threw over two establishment frontrunners to nominate Tea Party backed Sharron Angle to oppose Harry Reid.

All of which is to say: Mike Castle, liberal Republican, cautious Republican, Ruling Class Republican, Establishment Republican, seems to have had his finger up in the air, detected an oncoming political tornado in the form of O'Donnell -- and by July 30 was a co-sponsor of repealing ObamaCare.

Which, one suspects, is why he's trailing by three points in the latest poll.

Regardless of the outcome, there's much, much more to come in this battle between the Ruling and Country Classes.

Count on it.

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