Signs and portents continue to pile up indicating that the battle of 2010 shall come to be known as The Tea Party Election. Highly excitable groups of newly engaged activists have taken not only to the streets but to their local boards of elections, carrying petitions door to door and crashing the careers of traditional, party machine politicians, replacing them with a new breed of outsiders. Sometimes this has proven highly effective, shocking the establishment and introducing the world to fresh faces which have been largely lacking in Washington for a generation. Can you feel the fever?
But in the rush to pluck new candidates from among the hoi polloi, inexperienced organizers have, on occasion, failed to perform due diligence in the vetting process. This has produced notable figures such as Sharron Angle in Nevada. Ms. Angle may yet carry the day in November, but thus far her most remarkable feat seems to have been breathing fresh if temporary life into the corpse of Harry Reid’s career, previously left for dead on the side of the electoral superhighway.
The latest chapter in this story now seems to be unfolding in Delaware, where the Tea Party Express has resurrected the political aspirations of Christine O’Donnell in hopes of derailing Congressman Mike Castle’s bid as the presumed Republican nominee for the Senate seat previously held by Vice President Joe Effing Biden. In years past, while working on a couple of races in New Jersey, I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Castle. I have also spoken to some of his supporters in the First State. And I’m here to tell you that Castle has two overwhelming flaws which would obviously make him unsuitable during the season of Tea Party Fever.
- He’s completely electable
- He’s sane.
Who in their right mind would want such a boring choice on the ballot? This race won’t have very long to play out, but the usual suspects in the chattering classes are moving in quickly and circling like vultures. As Dave Weigel recently pointed out in Slate, rank and file Republicans are already bringing up issues of Ms. O’Donnell’s previous financial woes, saddling her with the label of “troubled perennial candidate.” (Which, as Weigel points out, is just a marginally nicer way of saying “crazy person.”)