Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ms. O'Donnell (Attempts to) Go(es) to Washington

So Christine O'Donnell wins the Delaware primary over Mike Castle. Everybody wonders: What Does It All Mean? Beats me.

What I do know is this: we are at a point where sincerity trumps political standing. The Tea Party isn't a vehicle that the old bulls of the GOP can co-opt. In fact, it looks increasingly like a hostile takeover of the party is going on. Emphasis on hostile, given the emotions that have been spilling out of this race.

What's been most troubling to me is that Castle, like Lisa Murkowski, has apparently decided that they are personally more important than the party they have ostensibly served. Incumbency is not tenure and if there's a perception out there that the establishment is rotten, it shouldn't be surprising that establishment candidates are going to fare poorly. And in many respects, I think the GOP establishment has been pretty rotten.

When Barack Obama took office, many people hoped that he would change things in Washington, but that was never the game. What he did was unleash the old bulls of his party, who had been waiting for 40 years for their moment. My sense is that a lot of people who pulled the lever for Obama had little or no idea that Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, David Obey and John Dingell would start ramming through policies that few wanted. It's hardly surprising that many people who supported Obama and, by extension his party, now reject what they've done.

But the thing has always been this: the unpopularity of the Democrats doesn't mean establishment Republicans are now all the rage once again. There was a very good reason for the butt-kicking that the GOP took in 2006 and 2008. The point of the Tea Party has always been to get new people and new thinking into the Beltway. Its goal was never to reward John Boehner or Mitch McConnell. The Tea Party folks have, in the main, always understood that John Boehner is just as much of an impediment to real change as David Obey.

As for the elections themselves, I wouldn't worry too much about the individual results. While it's quite possible that Christine O'Donnell is unelectable in Delaware, there are still a number of weeks before the voters go to the polls. She'll have the opportunity to make her argument to the people of Delaware.

Meanwhile, we have a number of important elections in Minnesota and we have a chance to make some needed changes to the way the state has done business. It's time for us to get to work.

1 comment:

W.B. Picklesworth said...

The old bulls are themselves getting gored. Which is good because this needs to be about more than GOP control. Even if this all comes off wonderfully and the newly elected Congress confronts spending, entitlements, government growth, etc... Even if they do that, they will still be politicians. I'd like to keep it very much at the front of my mind, that they won't be solving problems so much as re-introducing some modesty in government so that such problems might be solved be citizens.