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November 04, 2010

Christine O'Donnell: Yeah, Republican Disunity Was To Blame For My Defeat

Come on, you knew this post was coming. It's been a decent interval but let us get it over with and move on.

I put the video below the fold because sometimes CNN vids are a pain to load and slow the site down. Take a look at it and then let's discuss.

The most glaringly stupid thing about her making the disunity excuse is that she ran as a write-in candidate two years ago after losing the primary. I really don't want to hear about a lack of unity from a person who demands it but never gets around to giving it.

Yes, according to exit polls she did come close to matching Coons in independents (she ran 3 points behind him) but close isn't good enough in a state where Democrats are an overwhelmingly large part of the electorate.

Look at how voters identified themselves by ideology...23% liberal, 66% moderate, 17% conservative. Coons cleaned up with liberals and moderates winning those groups 88 and 66 percent respectively. Do you really think those two groups were simply waiting for the ok from Karl Rove and John Cornyn to vote for O'Donnell?

If only there were some way to test the theory that liberal Democrats are popular in Delaware and that it hand nothing to do with Karl Rove giving a 'true' conservative the stink eye....Oh wait! There is.

Let's look at the House race which covers the same territory in Delaware.

The Democrat won that race 57-41. Now let's check the Coons/O'Donnell race margin..hey look! Coons won 56-40! The only logical question is, why does Karl Rove hate Glen Urquhart?

You can compare the Senate exit polls on party and ideological breakdowns with the House ones and they are essentially the same.

Karl Rove and the NRSC had nothing to do with O'Donnell's defeat. In fact, as bad of a candidate as I think O'Donnell is, she had little to do with her defeat. It's a deeply blue state that actually likes liberals. We had a chance to get a moderate-liberal Republican and passed on it. To me, that was tactically stupid. Yes, Castle would have been a pain in the ass but not as big a one when there were 47 or 48 Republicans in the Senate. The power of the moderates is when they are all the deciding vote, add a cushion and they are manageable. Personally, I would have liked to have had another no vote on HCR in the Senate but others didn't think that was important enough.

In a state like Delaware, the universe of voters for a candidate like O'Donnell is simply not enough to win. If you are looking for a candidate to make national conservatives feel good, she was awesome. Alas, only people in Delaware could vote. You either accept you are going to get a squish like Castle in a place like Delaware and take what benefit you can get from them or you consign the Republican to irrelevancy in a number of states.

Here's what really bothers me about this race and people's positions on it...every party and movement is going to nominate a stinker every now and then. It happens. Usually though you just politely turn away and ignore them. In this case a lot of folks not only didn't want to ignore O'Donnell (that was RINOism!) but embraced and promoted her.

That was a mistake, not because of what it meant in Delaware (a lost cause without Castle on the ballot) but what it means nationally. O'Donnell was a lousy candidate. She had a sketchy personal story, no record of achievement before coming to the race and no real ability to further the conservative message. We spent a lot of money and time on a candidate that had no shot. If you were a Democrat and wanted to hurt conservatives or the tea party by making someone the face of those groups, you'd pick Christine O'Donnell. The fact that a lot of conservatives willingly did that is simply an unforced error we should not repeat.

Added: Something I forgot but saw mentioned in the comments...the exit polls showed Coons beating Castle 44-43. I have to say that needs to be taken with a grain of salt. First, it's a hypothetical that ignores what happened for the last 6 weeks. The race obviously got a lot more attention with O'Donnell, how many Democrats came out to vote against her that might have stayed home otherwise? How many more conservatives came out for her that hated Castle? Obama, Biden and the DNC don't show up with Castle as the Republican (they didn't go because they were worried, they did it to raise O'Donnell's profile nationally and in PA to hurt Republicans). You can't assume the electorate that showed up and answered that question is the one that would have showed up had Castle won the primary.

Here's the O'Donnell interview on CNN:

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posted by DrewM. at 12:28 PM

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