Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Can Christine O'Donnell save the Republican Party?

odonnellvictory.JPG

Ross Douthat has some interesting thoughts on the opportunity Christine O'Donnell presents for Republicans:

In the long run, though, O’Donnell’s victory — and the defeat that will almost certainly follow in November — might provide a salutary reality check for the party heading into 2012. Yes, it’s possible that the G.O.P. will fall one seat short of retaking the Senate because Delaware primary voters didn’t care about electability (or experience, or competence, or bizarre lawsuits …). But chances are that the fate of the First State’s Senate seat over the next six years will prove much, much less important, both for the Republican Party and for the country as a whole, than the tone and temper of the G.O.P. primary season, and the kind of candidate it produces. And if O’Donnell’s likely general-election fate becomes a cautionary tale about the limits of caring only about ideological purism, then the lessons of Delaware in 2010 might serve the party in good stead come Iowa and New Hampshire in 2012.

But of course, it’s equally possible that O’Donnell’s defeat will be blamed on her abandonment by the party leadership, rather than her own failings as a standard-bearer (I’m sure that will be Mark Levin’s line!), in which case rather than taking the edge off the base’s anti-establishment mood it could just end up getting spun into an ever-more-powerful narrative of populist grievance.

I'd also recommend Dave Weigel's "Requiem for Mike Castle," which explains why Castle was probably going to win Delaware, and why O'Donnell probably won't.

Photo credit: Tim Shaffer/Reuters.

By Ezra Klein  |  September 15, 2010; 2:44 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Midterms , 2012 Presidential  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: What I'd like to hear Obama say about the tax cuts
Next: Industrial farms, cont'd

Comments

They didn't learn anything from Hoffman in NY-23, so why from O'Donnell?

Posted by: mschol17 | September 15, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

"In the long run, though, O’Donnell’s victory — and the defeat that will almost certainly follow in November — might provide a salutary reality check for the party heading into 2012."

For a reality check to work, the party involved must recognize that there is such a thing as reality.

Posted by: tomcammarata | September 15, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

"then the lessons of Delaware in 2010 might serve the party in good stead come Iowa and New Hampshire in 2012" But that could only happen if the party made decisions based on evidence. They've moved so far away from that model that they don't seem to learn lessons at all any more. They make decisions based on emotion -- if O'Donnell pulls out a win, it will be because God is on their side and if she loses, it will be because the forces of evil are arrayed against them. Both fit neatly into their overall narrative; neither requires any lesson learning.

Posted by: qalice1 | September 15, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Dave Weigel. That would be the guy you led to losing his job.

Posted by: truck1 | September 15, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

It's either extremely lazy or extremely dumb for Douhat to refer to these tea party victories as examples of "ideological purism" prevailing over pragmatism. What is ideologically pure about any of these candidates? They speak with confidence about Obama being a Kenyan-born Muslim? They have a more firm conviction that health care reform is the beginning of a secular-socialist takeover of America? They believe more sincerely that tax cuts for the rich reduce the deficit, and that the government is incapable of creating jobs? What is the ideology that unites these people?

Posted by: randrewm | September 16, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company