The Spectacle Blog

O’Donnell Again

By on 9.13.10 | 6:13PM

My friend Quin Hillyer -- and he is indeed my friend, we just disagree on this one -- has this line in his latest post:

Sometimes it is a matter of avoiding the choice of somebody who has no class, in the sense of no classiness.

To which I can only say…bingo! With respect, George McGovern was one of the classiest people on the planet. Nancy Pelosi has class. Barack Obama has class. This is never, to me, never ever a reason to vote for anybody. For anything. The old Buckley quote saying he'd rather be governed by the first X number of names in the Boston phone book than the Harvard faculty made this point succinctly. This line of reasoning goes straight to the heart of the Ruling Class v. Country Class argument. Indeed, Rush quoted at length from a post by a William Jacobsen that the severely negative reaction by some is really about status, not issues. And that opposition to a Palin or O'Donnell or Angle and others is really about a perception of status or the lack thereof in supporting these people. Again, this is Jacobsen's argument, and alas I can't at the moment find a link. But Rush thought the point worth considering, and I agree.

Quin also says:

And not EVERY battle between a conservative and a moderate is a choice between the country class and the ruling class.

We disagree on this. Moderation in the sense we are meaning it here is the very essence of saying in some fashion, as Rush was saying just this afternoon: "I'm reasonable. I'm not a bad person. I'm not crazy. I'm not a racist-homophobe-Islamophobe. Etc. etc. etc."

It is, to me at least, code for saying "those conservatives are just idiots and really, truly, I'm not one of them. I'm a nice guy." Rush was dead on in making this point, and I've seen this approach up close and personal countless times. It is defensive, unnecessarily so. And can show, again to me, anything from ideological bewilderment (Castle?) to a degree of sly calculation (Specter?) that is utterly bereft of principle. In either case, its not good. As Ronald Reagan used to say, this is not a social club, it's a political movement. And Mike Castle has a record that self-evidently is not about furthering the conservative movement. Rush again: this is not about making somebody a Senate committee chair.

My point on the Weekly Standard piece is simple: if this is just straight reporting, then where has all the straight reporting been on Mike Castle? There are complaints out there that he was not a man of great wealth, spent his entire career as a politician, and is now a millionaire. True? Untrue? No idea. But if the Weekly Standard has this devotion to straight reporting on the Delaware Senate race, this would have been a huge story to investigate if in fact Castle, à la say, LBJ, morphed into a millionaire on the public payroll. A decided question of character gone un-investigated. I just think it is amazing that this zinger on O'Donnell surfaces two days before the primary. It cannot possibly be an accident. I'm certainly not attacking ISI. I have nothing but the greatest respect for Ken Cribb. But the fact is that I have no idea what went on between ISI and O'Donnell, and the time to sort this out was long ago, not 48 hours before the votes are cast. If character matters -- and yes, it does -- then what about the look at Castle's character? There was none. Zero. Zip. Which is what gives the article every appearance of a hit piece.

This, as I said, is to me not even about Castle and O'Donnell. This is about the future of the conservative movement. These arguments are not new. They are, in fact, ancient. No one, least of all me, is suggesting anyone is a "traitor" to the conservative movement. This is just a straightforward disagreement on how to move the ball forward. I'm not alone in believing this, either.

Rush has pointed out, and I agree, that it is amazing O'Donnell is not being attacked on her positions but on personal things. The moment I see that kind of approach, in general, I confess to a bit of alarm. This is the approach some have used with Sarah Palin. It was used with Sharron Angle. It was used with Rand Paul. The list of people attacked this way -- conservatives one and all (Dan Quayle, Reagan, Goldwater, WFB etc.) is stunningly long.

Nobody is suggesting my friend Quin is not a conservative. That is lunacy. Nobody is suggesting O'Donnell is the second coming, that she can win hands down. As mentioned, could she lose the general? Sure. But is the objective to hand out Senate chairmanships or promote the conservative cause? Clearly, Castle has no intention whatsoever to do the latter.

This discussion is simply a good-faith conservative family disagreement about how to move the ball forward. There's nothing to take offense to here. It is a plain and simple difference on how to move. That's it, that's all.

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