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September 02, 2010

Stay Classy, Christine O'Donnell

She didn't make the charge; a firm employed by her did. She's not commenting.

A conservative firm until recently employed by the Delaware primary campaign of conservative Christine O'Donnell against Rep. Mike Castle casually leveled an extraordinary — and unsupported — charge of a gay affair against Castle in a video posted to its website today, the ugliest salvo yet in an extremely bitter primary.


Walker said he had no compunction about repeating the rumor about Castle because "he's a threat to American sovereignty."

He didn't offer any evidence for the claim.

She cannot win in Delaware, which is usually among the ten most Democratic states in the union. Allow me to be a little elistist -- what in this odd biography says "serious candidate for Senator"?

I was already predisposed to endorsing Castle, feeling this was a bridge too far (or a RINO too far), and then I recalled who Christine O'Donnell was -- she's a fill-in guest on Hannity and other talk shows. She has always grated on me, because she always seems pretty unprepared (or just not really a strong thinker), and tends to just repeat the same three or four obvious bullet-points.

If I have turned the channel off almost every time she's been on, I do not see how she is going to wear well in Democrat-stronghold Delaware.

When we were trying to get Scott Brown elected, some objected that he was a RINO. I said at the time: This is a gift from God. It is unseemly to look down one's nose at a gift from God and ask, "Couldn't you have gotten something better?"

I do not know why it is that Mike Castle is running 12 points or so ahead of his Democratic rival. It could be partly due to his despised RINOism, of course. And it's also due to personal characteristics which he alone possesses and cannot be transferred to O'Donnell -- like, as the state's only at-large Representative (the state has only one Rep.), he knows everyone in the state, has campaigned statewide nine times before. For whatever reason, the voters trust him, seem to like him. (Well, "like" as much as one can like a politician.)

For whatever reason, they've decided he's okay by them. And preferable to a Democrat. And so he polls 10-12 points ahead.

Meanwhile the latest Rasmussen poll puts O'Donnell ten points behind Coons.

And on that point, I ask, where is the plausible pathway to candidate growth? What is the realistic plan for getting O'Donnell up from ten points down to at least even?

Here's the trouble:

1. Ideologically, she is strident and hardcore. This means she's out of sync with Delaware. In 2008, Joe Biden trounced her (no one really wanted to run against him, except O'Donnell) 65%-35%, his largest margin of victory ever... and voters also sort of knew he wasn't even going to be Senator, he was going to be Vice President.

2. Often a compelling biography can make up for some mismatch here (like, Joe Miller's West Point, Bronze Star Desert Storm, Yale Law super-bio), but O'Donnell's is not only not strong, it's noticeably weak. I look at her bio and I sort of see my own. She might as well just say "Sketchy Blogger/Drifter" at the top of the page.

3. A new candidate can often be expected to grow into a good speaker and media-player as she learns the craft, just as a rookie quarterback can grow into the roll. But to the extent Christine O'Donnell has a job at all, it's speaking on FoxNews and CNN when they need someone last-minute. So she does in fact have experience, much more experience than your average neophyte politician. And I'm sorry to say, five or six years at this and she's simply bad at that job, and I cannot for the life of me imagine how she suddenly gets better when we need her to be better.

So where is the plausible pathway for growth? I don't see it. There are three critical areas for candidate success, and she is a... I hate picking on an underdog, and she's a nice lady and all that, but in all three areas she fails. Rather badly.

Now I'm not in love with Mike Castle. He supported cap and tax in the last go-round. That is one my Rubicons... almost my abortion issue, or my 2nd Amendment issue, if you know what I mean. One of my Big Ones. One of the things that get me going emotionally.

I'm not going to tell you he's not a RINO. He is. Straight-up, no chaser. He's a RINO.

But I also know that if he's elected, he votes for a Republican for control of the Senate. (A silly rumor undoubtedly peddled by O'Donnell's supporters notwithstanding.)

That is to say: We cannot win full control of the Senate without a Republican in this seat. This seat has long been one of the seats we were just assuming we would win. Because Castle has been comfortably out front for a long, long time.

This is not some longshot pick-up where it really makes little difference because we have no realistic chance anyway, so might as well swing for the fences. We have been counting this as an easy pick-up. When you read "Republicans will pick up at least 7 seats" this is number two or three on that list, after the gimme Arkansas pick-up.

And we're going to toss this away? For what?

She can't win. Period. So it has to be kept in mind, in doing political calculations: When you vote for her, you are not just voting for someone with a slightly smaller chance of prevailing in the general election. You are voting against someone with a 90% chance of winning in favor of someone with a 0% chance of winning.

Okay, maybe not zero; one can never say zero. Fine. 1%.

The vote for her would not be strategic, or aimed at a plausible victory scenario. It would be pure RINO-punishing (and cutting off one's own nose to spite one's face). If RINO-punishing is the only thing that matters -- and I stress: Castle is a RINO, and I sure the hell can't claim he doesn't deserve to be punished -- then vote for her.

If something more tangible than protest and punishment is sought, vote for the guy who's way out ahead of the Democrat. RINO or not. (And just to be clear-- RINO.)

Mike Castle will vote against us on 30% of stuff. You will not like him. I will not like him.

But I will like him better than the Democrat Coons, voting against us on 88% of stuff. And yeah, in a blue state, with a strong Democratic majority, he can afford to be one of the solid liberal votes for Obama's socialist agenda. Because he is not going to have to worry about losing his seat for voting too liberal.

The pathway to success is to change Blue to Purple, and Purple to Red, and Red to Even Redder. We are doing that. We are trading in RINO Murkowski for a Senator more in sync with a true red state.

But as we trade in, we can't move by more than one color. We can get a purple guy elected to a blue state, a red guy (like Angle) elected to a purple state, and a hooker's-lipstick-red guy elected to a red state.

We cannot get a super-red person elected to a blue state. Period. The anti-Obama factor gives everyone about an 8% bump. Add that to Christine O'Donnell's 35% (from last time) and she gets to 43%.

That's what we call a loss.

Strategically, we go easy on this one, we bank the sure thing and call it progress, because it is progress. If we gamble, we lose. It's not even a gamble. It's just tossing a stack of chips back to the house for no reason.

Uggh: This may be excusable. I know I wouldn't excuse it if she were a Democrat.

I won't lie and say this would be a huge campaign issue. It wouldn't be. But combine this with the "That's the rumor" thuggishness and it begins to paint a rather shabby picture.

So: Bio is out. Ideology is out. Media savvy is out.

Character is.... well, questionable.

What exactly will we be running on, I'd like to know.

That thanks to Gabe.



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posted by Ace at 11:05 AM

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