The response by the Republican political establishment to the Christine O’Donnell victory over liberal Republican Mike Castle in Delaware has been an embarrassment. A strong, vocal woman upturned the political tables in Delaware, a state where both political parties have been run like blue-blooded patriarchies for the better part of half a century, and all the boys that compose “the establishment” can muster is omniscient edicts about her absolute un-electability in a general election.
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?
It’s ancient history by Washington standards, but when Sarah Palin ran against the political establishment in Alaska and did to that state what O’Donnell may be poised to do in Delaware, she faced similar political whining and whispers from the party elders, even after she won the governor’s race and even after she was accepting the offer of Sen. John McCain to serve as his running mate on a national ticket.
While they may not be intending to be sexist, the message, the attitude and whining sure make many in the GOP look eerily like the elites we are trying so hard to usurp. The sexism issues aside, it’s time for the Washington GOP establishment to man up and stop sulking over losing — no, getting walloped — by a woman they continue to insist is unqualified despite the fact that she has a pretty big win under her belt under pretty difficult circumstances.
I might point out that being trounced by an unqualified (they think) opponent is more a reason, not less, to humbly buck up, congratulate her and move forward. Frankly, it seems an emotional response. Strange, huh? This behavior does not play well with the very grassroots voters they are counting on to put them over the top in November. It’s time they understood these are different grassroots from anything the D.C. crowd has dealt with before.
The fact is, despite all of the Beltway Boys’ attempts to co-opt the Tea Party movement — which to my way of thinking is really a revitalized conservative movement under a much bigger tent — the movement has refused to play the Washington game.
When self-anointed “tea party leaders” have attempted to direct the movement, the citizens themselves have been savvy enough to sniff out many of the charlatans and keep their grassroots organizations focused on achieving their goals of throwing the bums out of office where necessary and appropriate.
Perhaps the reaction to O’Donnell is the result of the Beltway Boys’ understanding that the movement that has been taking hold across the country really is out of their control. Or perhaps they really are intimidated by a woman who has already proven that she can do it without them.
Regardless, Christine O’Donnell is our party’s nominee for a STILL highly winnable seat in Delaware. Lest we forget, this was the seat held by a plagiarizing career politician incapable of keeping his foot out of his mouth, Joe Biden. The people in Delaware believed they could do better. They voted for the conservative in the race. Now we need to support her and help get her over the finish line.