Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Republican Party Plants Ice, Harvests Wind As The Tea Party's Candidates Roll

Perhaps, this autumn, [Christine O'Donnell] will tell swing voters that she can see God from her condo window.
I have watched the ongoing immolation of the Republican Party establishment with a combination of awe, schadenfreude and dread.

Awe because rather than heed the wake-up call the 2008 elections provided, the establishment tacked to the right as it wandered deeper into the wilderness, further diminishing its shrinking base. Schadenfreude because these establishmentarians got their just deserts. And dread because the Rightward Ho! tack did not fool a bevy of Tea Party-backed candidates with extremist views who have bumped off one GOP establishment candidate after another in primaries and have a fighting chance to actually win a Senate seat or three in November.

The conventional wisdom is that wingnuts like tax deadbeat and serial liar Christine O'Donnell can upset longtime incumbent and Delaware fave Mike Castle, who had won 12 elections over four decades, because Americans are angry over big government and big taxes.

That is true, but there is another explanation that is getting lost in the cable news noise machine:

The Republican establishment has sewed the seeds of a disaster that could result in, yes, a few Tea Partiers being elected but more Democrats being elected to once-safe Republican seats because these GOP candidates populate the lunatic fringe.

Little Delaware is a big case in point.

This is because O'Donnell has enormous unfavorables. Okay, not as large as Sarah Palin, who endorsed her. She couldn't carry the most populous of the state's three counties, winning only in the more conservative lower counties, and is almost sure to lose in November to Chris Coons, a Democrat who actually has government experience and already is being backed by 25 percent of Republicans in a very blue state with a 70-30 Democratic registered voter edge.

The bottom line is that O'Donnell's victory, coming on the heels of victories by Tea Party stalwarts Sharron Angel in Nevada, Rand Paul in Kentucky, Marco Rubio in Florida and Joe Miller in Alaska, actually further reduces the chances of Republicans recapturing the Senate, while they will have a barely functional majority at best if they take back the House.

* * * * *
The first eight years of the decade past were a golden age for Republican establishmentarians, but they blew an opportunity to shore up the party's base because they . . . well, acted like Democrats.

They passed lavish spending bills, supported tax cuts for the rich, further bloated an already ginormous federal bureaucracy, said they'd never let their states take federal stimulus money and then showed up at every groundbreaking and ribbon cutting for stimulus-funded projects, paid lip service to Family Values issues and repeatedly got caught with their hands in the cookie jar, wearing diapers while consorting with hookers or doing toe-tapping dances in airport men's room toilet stalls.

These self-inflicted wounds will take at least a couple more election cycles to heal, if then, but in all likelihood not until Palin, Beck and Limbaugh are no longer calling the shots. In the meantime, Karl Rove is so yesterday, isn't he?

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