Well, Christine O’Donnell has lost in Delaware, sad to say. And so, as my friend John Tabin has observed here @AmSpec, I owe him a lunch at the Palm. Well, what is there to say other than: Congratulations, John!
Several things, actually, warrant a mention, I think:
(1) I always acknowledged that an O’Donnell victory would be a difficult, uphill climb. It depended upon a GOP tsunami which never really materialized. Yes, the GOP did well in this election, but not nearly as well as I had expected they would do when, back in September, I made my wager with Tabin.
Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman, for example, both lost in California. Ditto John Raese in West Virginia. And, as I write, Pat Toomey is in the midst of a true cliffhanger in Pennsylvania.
(2) GOP primary voters in Delaware were right to repudiate Mike Castle and to opt for a more conservative candidate who better represents their values and beliefs. Castle was too liberal and too selfish. He had a sense of entitlement, which is all too typical of many lifelong pols.
(3) The GOP and conservative establishment — led by ringleader Karl Rove — were wrong to savage Christine O’Donnell. Their vicious attacks on her served to undermine her candidacy and made it very difficult for her to win this race. Shame on them.
(4) Christine O’Donnell deserves praise and recognition for entering the political arena. She demonstrated real grit, courage and grace under fire. She had the courage of her convictions, which is more than can be said for many Republicans.
Why, for instance, didn’t Rep. Peter King run for the Senate in New York? He would have been the GOP’s most formidable candidate, but declined to run. Ditto Rudy Giuliani for governor. You have to be in it to win it. Yet in all too many instances, the GOP’s heavyweight candidates refused to run.
(5) Republican candidates especially must demonstrate gravitas and a serious-minded sense of purpose. O’Donnell was never able to do this. She was portrayed and viewed as a public-policy lightweight, and this cost her the race.
True, there’s a double standard here. Lefty candidates can be bona fide lightweights (incumbent Democratic Senator Patty Murray ((D-WA)) is a prime example), and the media give them a pass. This isn’t fair or right, but it’s reality. Republican candidates have to pass a gravitas test that the Dems don’t have to pass. Deal with it, GOP — or lose.
(6) Generally speaking, if you’re the issue in a campaign you will lose. To win, you have to make your opponent the issue. O’Donnell was the issue in this campaign; and so she lost.
And it didn’t help matters when, inexplicably and foolishly, O’Donnell decided to tell voters that she is not a witch. You don’t tell voters what you’re not; you talk about what you are. You talk about your opponent. You define him and put him on trial. Therein lies victory.