I thought Castle was going to pull it off in Delaware, but I was wrong about it. If I lived in Delaware, I wouldn't care for either of my two choices (O'Donnell for non-ideological reasons like frivolous damages claims in a lawsuit) but would have done a one time only vote for liberal republican Castle for pragmatic reasons. Delaware is a social liberal state with heavy Philadelphia area influence.
I think the pundits are missing the point with the O'Donnell win and I think this still goes way beyond "tea party" and "moderate" and "liberal" and "conservative reasons." This stuff has been stewing since 2006, caught fire in 2008, and exploded with the stimulus and Obamacare. Spending and big government is one big issue, but the other one is simply attitude.
I was a family member's house last night and saw this headline on the TV. "NRSC won't spend money on this race." That's the problem that so many of the conservative base AND independents have, beyond any ideology. First off, even if the NRSC isn't going to donate money, they need to shut the hell up. Don't give away your game plan. Don't automatically write off competitive seats like a pussycat. Nobody respect that, from any ideology. Where a lot of the disconnect is though between the base, the tea party, Washington, and establishments is this attitude. Who works for who. The establishment and DC leadership thinks they are in charge, they pick their candidates, they appoint party leadership, and that they lead the way and that the base should follow their lead, no matter what. Grass roots vs professionalism, and they believe they are the professionals. That works when everyone is on the same page. When it isn't, then it doesn't work. Neither the base or the independents like being dictated to.
The difference today than in the past is this. Conservative independents (Where most tea party activists fall) and the base republicans no longer are accepting dictates from party leadership. In the minds of most, they FUBARed the situation. A lot of this is aimed at NRSC and to a lesser extent RNC (Steele's foot in mouth). NRSC tried to run off candidates in primaries in favor of RINO's. Castle isn't a RINO. He's a liberal. Charlie Crist and Arlen Specter were RINO's. Now they are democrats. Lisa Murkowski is showing RINO tendancies and may run as a write in. Lincoln Chafee is a RINO who endorsed Obama. Joe Schwarz was a RINO on the house side and backed Mark Schauer. Why the hell are these idiots getting support from leadership IN PRIMARIES. Leadership needs to stay out of primaries and let the state electorate make the decision in the primary. It's leadership's job to elect republicans, not the coronation of their candidates.
In this election season, the majority of time the leadership has dictated a candidate, that candidate was defeated in the primary. That ought to send a message to DC, but DC doesn't get it at all. Charlie Crist quit and ran as a so called independent. Arlen Specter switched primaries and lost anyway. Bob Bennett's bailout votes cost him his job. Bob Inglis lost. Parker Griffith lost. Castle lost. Their preferred primary candidates in Colorado, Nevada, and Kentucky lost too. In Wisconsin, California, and Washington, their preferred candidate won. In New Hampshire (close to call), their candidate is winning barring recount. In Wisconsin, Washington, and New Hampshire, the preferred candidate is acceptable to many of the base as well.
What needs to happen:
1. Leadership needs to stay out of primaries and stop running their mouths. Primaries are decided by state voters, not leadership. Save your money, time, and mouths for the general election.
2. The base that does not like the "coronation" candidate needs to pick someone better who can win. Pat Toomey and Marco Rubio were very good choices. Others aren't.
3. Losers in primaries need to suck it up and take it for the team. One BIG reason a lot of so called establishment "moderates" are almost despised more than democrats are due to people like Charlie Crist, Arlen Specter, Joe Schwarz, Wayne Gilchrist, Lincoln Chafee, and many so called conservative pundits, Bush administration people (Dowd, McKinnon) and columists in the 2008 election. These assholes (not all moderates, but those I named) got their candidate who they demanded elected (McCain) in the primary, and then go out and endorse a leftist like Obama in the general. Many have LONG memories on that.
4. Pick a better establishment. Marco Rubio said this in his primary against Crist. This is most important. In the end, the establishment is picked by apathy. Party leadership (outside of caucus - NRSC, NRCC, etc) is elected. It's elected by activists. We need to do our homework and make sure the right people are elected. For me it is those that have their ear to the ground and at the same time are strong competent individuals who are good administrators and want to win in the fall.
Did DC learn its lesson? I hope so, but I doubt it.