I have to say, I’ve resisted weighing in on the Delaware Republican primary since resuming life in the blogosphere, both because I’ve been busy writing about other things about which I know a whole lot more, and because it’s become so divisive that it’s gone off the charts.
So the first thing I’d like to say about this particular primary is that I have no dog in the fight. Both the candidates have things in their records to recommend them, and both have things in their records that are sure to become problems for them. O’Donnell is evidently the more conservative of the two, but Castle at this point at least appears to be the more electable. Both are factors that are very much worth taking into account. Both. Seriously.
I will say, as a former state party hack though never one in Delaware, it’s more than a bit surprising to see the state GOP taking such a prominent role in trying to take out a candidate running in its own primary. That’s likely to do a whole lot more harm than good, and can damage the party’s own credibility in the long run — whether their preferred candidate wins or loses. Having been inside a state party hothouse and experienced its unique stresses first hand, I know all too well that there are things you want to do, but that ultimately you ought not do. I’d have inveighed against the DE GOP taking such a hard shot at O’Donnell if they’d asked me. To no one’s surprise, they didn’t.
Now, I’m a staunch conservative, and I’ll support the conservative over the moderate every time, all other things being equal. But on occasion I’ve supported a moderate or two for strategic reasons. I wasn’t blogging at the time but I supported Scott Brown in Massachusetts, because it was obvious that he was the best we could hope for. I supported Doug Hoffman over whatshername in NY-23 because he was a solid conservative, whatshername clearly wasn’t, and Hoffman carried no obvious baggage. Likewise Joe Miller in Alaska. In righty states, it’s worth putting more righty candidates up as nominees. But in the bluer states, the calculations change a bit. Electability is a serious factor, and even in the righty states, the candidate who casts themselves as the most solid conservative isn’t always that, and isn’t always the most electable. Most times they are, but sometimes they aren’t.
The Delaware primary strikes me as unique, in that both candidates are mixed bags. I’d take either one over the Democrat, though, because the prime directive right now is stopping Obama and repealing what he’s done, and we need to have GOP majorities in both houses to do that. Both O’Donnell and Castle are on the same side on stopping Obamacare, though Castle is off the ranch on cap n tax. That’s a big deal. But the thing is, in a Republican-led Congress, that may not matter much. Cap & tax won’t get a second look after November, if the Republicans take over the House and possibly the Senate.
So I guess what I’m saying is, folks need to chill out a bit about this race. Its outcome will not determine the direction of the soul of the Republican Party from here to eternity. Local dynamics and the candidates themselves are what’s going to determine who wins, and all the noise and vitriol coming from bloggers outside the state won’t do much to change that. They may do some lasting damage to the rightosphere, though, and it would be nice to avoid that. There are such things as pyrrhic victories.