Just days after both Sarah Palin and Senator Jim DeMint endorsed Christine O’Donnell for United States senator from Delaware, O’Donnell surged ahead in a PPP poll of Mike Castle, the sole congressman from that state.
The angst and consternation can be cut with a sword. Mike Castle would be expected to win the general contest against the Democrat Chris Coons, whereas Christine O’Donnell is expected to lose. That pair of facts is further complicated by Castle’s dubious lobbying deals and an even more dubious lawsuit O’Donnell was a party to.
But even so, the real question that is causing the angst and consternation is who is the truest conservative, Mike Castle or Christine O’Donnell? The answer to that question depends on whether one thinks Castle is Arlen Specter, the classic RHINO Republican who can be counted to poke conservatives in the eye, or Scott Brown, the 80 percent Republican who occasionally has to tack to port to satisfy constituents.
Michelle Malkin makes the case for the former in a piece with an exhaustive look at Castle’s voting record as a member of Congress. The idea is that if Castle is the second coming of Arlen Specter, then except for the fact that he would be one more vote for a GOP Senate majority, he will be a reliable vote for the Democrats.
On the other hand, electability is hardly a frivolous consideration. Democrats are already attacking O’Donnell as being slightly nutty, a view that some Republican establishment-types agree with. Oddly, no one has yet attacked O’Donnell on the issues, her view of which tend to be mainstream conservative, albeit on the edge by Delaware standards.
Also, while electability may be a legitimate consideration, that factor is hard to measure this year. Quite a few conservative candidates have won nominations over their more moderate opponents, riding a wave of popular indignation against Washington and the Democrats. People who may have been unelectable any other year may be imminently electable in 2010. They are, in effect, redefining what is moderate and what is extremist.
Can Christine O’Donnell win in the general election? The conventional wisdom suggests not, but the conventional wisdom has been wrong so many times in 2010 that it has turned out to be neither conventional nor wise. In a year in which a Republican has taken Teddy Kennedy’s Senate seat with the old monster’s corpse barely cold, and when a mere word of approval from Sarah Palin can catapult a hitherto obscure candidate to fame and victory, who is to say what is possible and what is impossible?
Sources: O’Donnell takes lead in PPP poll, Ed Morrissey, Hot Air, September 13th, 2010
The DE Senate GOP primary: Castle, Soros & a health advisory, Michelle Malkin, Michelle Malkin.Com, September 13th, 2010
How the Tea Party Senators Will Redefine ‘Moderation’, Mark R. Whittignton, Associated Content, September 9th, 2010