Christine O'Donnell

Tea Party 2010: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Tea Party movement was, until yesterday, a relatively unknown and elusive electoral force, having never existed for a national federal general election. Clearly, it had a great deal of influence among conservatives and Republicans during the primaries, with well-known "establishment" candidates in states such as Delaware, Alaska, and Nevada being knocked out one after another in favor of "Tea Party" candidates. In the immediate aftermath of the 2010 election (and even with a handful of races still undecided), it is hard to argue that the Tea Party wasn't a notable force in the general election as well. However, that force was not always positive, and indeed, some of the Tea Party's influences were bad, while a few instances were downright ugly. As someone who is neither a card-carrying party loyalist nor a dedicated Tea Party member, here is my take on those forces:

The Good

It is impossible to deny that the Tea Party contributed in many positive ways to the massive change of course that was the 2010 election. The Tea Party fueled much of the outrage behind the outcome, driving conservatives around the country to come out and vote in opposition to the President's extreme agenda.  Accordingly, it seems unlikely that the magnitude of Republican gains in the House would have been possible without the Tea Party.  Indeed, early exit poll data suggested that 41% of those voting in House races supported the Tea Party, while 31% opposed it – and that 87% of Tea Party supporters voted for the Republican candidate.

The Tea Party also helped elect immaculate candidates like Marco Rubio. The energy behind the Tea Party movement helped fuel Marco Rubio's lead in the Republican primary, which resulted in Charlie Crist deciding to instead run as an Independent, and ultimately produced a huge victory for Republicans nationwide. I firmly believe that Rubio, an incredibly brilliant and passionate man who will also happen to be the only Hispanic Republican in the Senate, will quickly emerge as a leader for the Republican Party. He's someone who can help attract many people from demographics key to long-term GOP sustainability – including Latinos and potentially young voters. Senator-elect Rubio's victory is certainly one of the most exciting developments of yesterday's election results.

The Bad

On the other hand, the Tea Party seems to have been fairly damaging to the prospect of a GOP takeover of the Senate. At the time of writing, Republicans had gained 6 seats in the Senate for a total of 46, which is unquestionably a respectable outcome. It looks like the votes remaining to be counted in Washington and Colorado will push the Democratic candidates over the top in both states – and Alaska is still a question mark, though it seems likely that either candidate will caucus with Republicans.

It's distinctly possible (and in at least one of the cases, fairly likely) that at least two of the Democratic Senate victories could have been Republican victories if not for relatively poor Tea Party candidates.  These candidates are, of course, Sharron Angle in Nevada and Christine O'Donnell in Delaware (I'll come back to the latter shortly).

I actually expected Angle to squeak by, albeit very tightly.  The bottom line, however, is that Angle as a candidate left a lot to be desired – just Google "sharron angle gaffe" for a plethora of examples, but this one in particular comes to mind.  Her loss against a highly unpopular and vulnerable Harry Reid is an unambiguous testament to that fact.

Obviously, different results in the two races in Delaware and Nevada – even with the victor in Alaska caucusing with Republicans – would not alone have produced a majority (Republicans would then hold 49 seats in the Senate before CO and WA).  However, it seems hard to believe there won't be a battle in the Senate sometime over the next two years in which those two additional Republican Senators would be helpful.  Not to mention the possibility that Independent Senators Lieberman and Nelson may have chosen to caucus with Republicans.

The Ugly

There's Sharron Angle, and then there's Christine O'Donnell.  I have to make it clear up front that I think Ms. O'Donnell is a wonderful woman.  I had a meeting with her and her campaign manager shortly before she exploded onto the national scene, and I found her well-spoken, intelligent, and extremely personable.  But being a great person is not nearly enough in politics, particularly at the Senatorial level, and there's no way that a reasonable person can honestly say that she was remotely close to being even an acceptable candidate.  When you need to run an ad saying that you're "not a witch," your campaign is clearly in trouble.  Let alone the countless allegations of impropriety in handling campaign funds, which regardless of whether they are true make it unmistakenly clear that the Tea Party members who backed her candidacy and helped her defeat Mike Castle in the primary blatantly failed to properly vet her.

Karl Rove's thoughts on this are spot-on:

"It gave me no pleasure to say that she was unlikely to win," he said. "But this again provides a lesson. This is a candidate who was right on the issues, but who had mishandled a series of questions brought up by the press."

From start to finish, Christine O'Donnell's candidacy as the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Delaware was flat out ugly.

Bottom Line

Even with a handful of outcomes still up in the air, it is unmistakenly clear that the 2010 election was nothing less than a wave delivered by voters who resoundingly rejected the Democratic agenda.  A great deal of outrage came from members of the Tea Party movement, and that frustration played an important role in delivering substantial gains for Republicans – not only in the Congress, but also in governor's mansion and state legislatures around the nation.  However, with these positives came at least one significant negative – a larger than ideal Democratic margin in the Senate that resulted from a couple of poor Tea Party candidates.

Toeing The Line.

In an article I wrote for Skip’s column on September 18 (read here), I challenged Charles Krauthammer’s comments regarding the election of Christine O’Donnell, an act which he, along with many others, believed would give Delaware to the Democrats on a plate. It was one of the rare occasions that I found myself disagreeing with this writer, who I admire greatly.

In the same article, I covered the decision by Lisa Murkowski to run as a write-in candidate, following her primary defeat to Tea Party endorsed Joe Miller, and finished the column with the views of Jim DeMint, whose principles I strongly agree with.

The reason that I recap this particular article is that it seems so relevant to an event earlier this week, when a piece written by Skip was pulled from a very well-known Conservative website. One of the readers had taken umbrage that anyone could suggest the endorsement of a truly Conservative write-in candidate (not Murkowski, incidentally), an act which could endanger the chances of the far more liberal Republican nominee due to a split vote, and lead to the victory of the Democrat. The reader duly pointed this out to a site editor and the piece was removed.

The reason for this action was explained to Skip by the said editor, the logic of which is unassailable. I did find something amusing in his comments, which stated “When you’re the managing editor of this site you can get away with stuff like this. Not before.” I wondered whether this was a dig at the managing editor, and founder of the site, who recently declared his intention to vote for a Democrat whose policies are more conservative than the rival Republican.

Well, they are welcome to their in-house bickering. As for the job offer… neither of us would want to lose our freedom of speech in favor of marching in lockstep to a party. That’s Democrat tactics. It is ironic that a Conservative website should censor Conservative statements, for the benefit of a RINO. I guess the First Amendment, the Constitution and all honor goes south at election time.

This little, somewhat inconsequential, incident could underline a problem that we have to face. How many of our personal beliefs and values do we, or should we, have to sacrifice for the good of the Republican Party? The answer should be none, or very few. Ahh… in an ideal world!

It is all very well to blame the Tea Party, Conservative bloggers or the electorate for the prospect of lost Republican chances, but the reason has to be traced back to source. While the candidate appointment committees, including the NRSC, fail to promote real Conservatives this problem will not go away.

Conservatives and, I believe, the majority of Republican supporters have had enough of being fed liberals under the guise of the GOP. Is it not preferable to elect a Conservative Independent than a RINO? Remember, it’s voting on bills in Congress that matters most. The Republican Party must stop forcing conservative voters to confront and question their own beliefs… voting for the GOP candidate should be automatic, with no hesitation or feeling that ‘he/she is slightly better than the Democrat’.

I’ll end with the same line as my article of September 18, a quote from Jim DeMint: “Frankly, I’m at a point where I’d rather lose fighting for the right cause then win fighting for the wrong cause”.

(Editor Dee is in for Skip today)

Up The Establishment

Conservative Tea Partyby Lance Thompson

The media has focused on the growing rift between new conservative stars and their Tea Party backers versus the old guard establishment Republicans.  This difference has been highlighted in races in Florida (Marco Rubio over Charlie Crist), Alaska (Joe Miller over Lisa Murkowski), and most recently Delaware (Christine O’Donnell over Mike Castle).  In each case, a conservative outsider has overcome long odds to beat an experienced but more moderate candidate backed by the Republican establishment.  This trend shows every indication of continuing.
Christine O’Donnell, now the Republican candidate for Delaware’s open Senate seat, will face Democrat Chris Coons in November.  Polls show O’Donnell trailing in double digits.  This is a familiar situation to conservative candidates this year.  Marco Rubio trailed governor Charlie Crist by double digits in the Florida primary before winning the Republican Senate nomination.  Crist then declared himself an independent (refusing to return the millions in Republican campaign funding he had already received), and again took a double digit lead.  This race has reversed to Rubio’s advantage.  Joe Miller in Alaska was also behind in the polls before his win over Lisa Murkowski.
In all of these cases, old guard Republican strategists and pundits warned voters that the conservative Tea Party candidates were too extreme, and would not have the appeal to win.  Let’s examine both arguments individually.
First, in an era of rampant and unchecked socialism rammed through by an ultra-liberal President and Congress, there is no other possible cure than a conservative resurgence.  We didn’t get socialized medicine, skyrocketing debt, and a crippled economy by half measures and bipartisanship.  We arrived here thanks to a Democratic steamroller that paved the way for every item that’s appeared on the liberal wish list for the last two generations.  The only way to reverse this trend is to put strong, principled, undiluted conservatives in office and in power.  Moderates will not do.
Second, the fact that Tea Party candidates are prevailing all over the country, in states previously thought too blue to bother, demonstrates that the enthusiasm, power, and momentum this election year is with conservative candidates who connect with the people.  The pundits who now tell us that these candidates, once nominated, can’t win the general election are the same ones who told us earlier that these candidates would not win in their primaries. 
Have we not nominated moderate conservatives before?  Wasn’t John McCain known for reaching across the aisle?  Wasn’t he always tougher on conservative Republicans than he ever was on Democrats?  His even-handedness and bipartisan reputation was supposed to guarantee support from independent voters and the press.  Instead, his inept campaign was so ineffective that an opponent with no executive experience, less than one full term in the Senate, and no discernible aptitude for world leadership beat him handily in 2008.
And even when the Republicans place moderate, established, electable candidates on the ballot, and they do actually win, they are notable undependable when needed most.  Moderate Arlen Specter enjoyed the support of the GOP and President Bush over conservative challenger Pat Toomey for the 2004 Pennsylvania Senate primary.  Specter prevailed and paid back the GOP with liberal votes on the judiciary committee and by switching parties prior to his 2010 re-election bid.  He failed to win the Democrat nomination, and is now thankfully out of politics.  Moderate electable candidates do not serve conservative causes or interests.
If we believe in conservative principles, we must nominate and elect conservative candidates.  This year, more than ever, watered-down, moderate, half measures are not enough.
The American people are restive.  They are preparing to throw out a record number of Democrats from Congress and state governments across the country.  If the Republicans who replace them don’t put our nation back on the right course, they will be thrown out as well.  We won’t get a second chance to get it right.
Christine O’Donnell is a principled conservative.  She deserves our support.  The establishment may fight her tooth and nail.  But Christine O’Donnell has already defeated them.  They just don’t know it yet.  Burt Lancaster said it best in the film “Sweet Smell of Success,” when his character, powerful columnist J. J. Hunsecker, tells struggling publicity agent Sydney Falco that Falco’s influence is over.  “You’re dead, kid.  Go get yourself buried.”


That Was The Week That Was #6.

In this series of weekly articles I usually cover a few of the week’s main story lines. This week, however, a large amount of time has been given in the media to the last of the primary elections… and the fallout that has followed. With only forty five days until the general election, it seems only right that I devote this page to this one topic.

Miller and Murkowski - Just when you think it's over....

It was announced yesterday that Lisa Murkowski, beaten in the Alaska Senatorial primary by Joe Miller, will run in November as a write-in candidate. The bitter irony of this act is that the Republican establishment, of which the Murkowski dynasty could be considered a part, has spent the better part of the week condemning the Tea Party for its support of Christine O’Donnell.

While old guard Republicans are saying that it’s better to get a Party member into the Senate, regardless of how far left they lean, than to risk loss by running a Conservative candidate, one of their own is taking the risk of splitting the Republican vote.

I have always held Karl Rove in high esteem, and I regard Charles Krauthammer as, possibly, my favorite op-ed columnist. I can see where they are coming from with their opinions on risking the loss of elections, but my instincts and, dare I say, morals, tell me that they are off base on this one.

Charles Krauthammer

In Krauthammer’s article of September 17, he used the analogy of a baseball batting average, with Mike Castle at .667 on the voting history of health care (no), the stimulus (no) and cap-and-trade (yes). He questioned whether it would be more agreeable to have a Democrat elected with an average of .000.

That’s being a little too selective, in my opinion. If you look at the broader picture, Castle is pro-choice, voted against the Iraq troop surge, voted for TARP and the Fannie Mae – Freddie Mac bailout, voted to increase taxes on oil companies, voted against controls on eminent domain abuse, voted for the cash-for-clunkers program…. the list goes on. He may show an overall Republican voting agreement figure of 80% plus, but that covers every single vote, down to whether the House restaurant menu should be updated. As for gun control… need I say it?

With this sort of batting average on serious issues, it appears that a moderate Democrat could be a preferential alternative to Mike Castle. What is the difference between a Democrat and a RINO voting against the wishes of Conservatives? Why he ever joined the GOP is a mystery to me. Perhaps the Democrats had filled their membership quota for the year?

I have said on many occasions that if I was to run for political office, I would rather lose heavily while voicing my true beliefs than to win by giving the electorate what they want to hear. It is this ideal of being true to oneself that drives the Tea Party. If they pulled the plug on a Conservative candidate, to give a RINO, and the GOP, a better chance of success, it would undermine the very principles that the movement is founded on.

America is not some reality show, where the producers decide to keep someone popular in the House (or Senate) to beat the ratings of the another network. This is the reality – the Republican Party must give the full support that is deserved by Tea Party candidates. Christine O’Donnell and Joe Miller won their respective primary elections fair and square.

Everyone, please, do the honorable thing and give them all the help you possibly can in the run-up to November. Time is running short, we need to pull together now to create an unstoppable force that will halt the tide of socialism. Stay true to your beliefs and have faith – the rest will come naturally.

I would like to congratulate Ron Johnson on his primary success in Wisconsin. Regular readers probably know that Ron was endorsed on the website. He has a difficult battle now with Russ Feingold, but I’m sure that if anyone can pull it off, Ron can. Please support him in any way you can.

I’ll finish with a quote from Jim DeMint: “I’ve been in the majority with Republicans who didn’t have principles and we embarrassed ourselves and lost credibility in front of the country. Frankly, I’m at a point where I’d rather lose fighting for the right cause then win fighting for the wrong cause”.

(Editor Dee is in for Skip today)

Patriot Pushback Sends Establishment And Moderates Reeling.

…. And it didn’t take more than a couple of shakes of a lamb’s tail either. For loosely organized, totally independent entities the Patriot groups are far faster and far more efficient than the US government under Obama, Reid, Pelosi and the Cirque Du Marximus.

Some would argue that it wouldn’t take all that much, and while I’m willing to grant some truth to that, I think all of us would acknowledge that our own party has a lot to do and not much time in which to do it, without taking any resources away from the drive towards November.

They’re talking about as many as 100 seats which could fall to Conservative candidates in the House of Representatives. Our Republican leadership has got to learn something it never did figure out when it had power before… how to lead. Instead, it forgot who and what we are supposed to be… and stand for.

These ‘moderate’ establishment types may be arrogant and devious, but even they recognize that the much joked about and maligned Tea Party Movement has become a political juggernaut. It was surprising that some of those guys didn’t suffer whiplash, with the speed that they changed direction on the Christine O’Donnell issue.

The Republicans are going get their chance to lead, but they will be the most scrutinized Congress in history. This is what they don’t get… after what we’re experiencing with the Marxist regime of Barack Hussein Obama, after more than liberal doses of our own Republicans’ perfidy, we’re not taking our eyes off of you people for a split second. We will be constantly vigilant and remain that way for as many election cycles as it takes to purge the Republican ranks of those who have sold out the Conservative movement. Register and vote… register others and help them to vote… tell the story of freedom.

Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis

© Skip MacLure 2010

Establishment GOP Reverses – What’s With Karl Rove?

So, there must have been some beltway reality checks. Or the instantaneous nature of internet communication made the country’s mood glaringly important in helping them along with their ponderous decision rendering process. i.e. The RNC, the NRSC, and every Republican leader they could reach got goosed in the butt by a lot of very angry people. In any case, the Conservative Patriots went nuts when they heard that Christine O’Donnell wasn’t just being ignored by the self-appointed elites, she was being actively opposed and attacked by some of the establishment types.

Karl Rove and Christine O'Donnell

Ok, so we have our own party actively working to ensure that the elected candidate, the choice of the people, doesn’t win in November. What?!! They have the unmitigated temerity to foist off their venomous pronouncements as the will of the party membership.

Speaking of venom… hey Karl, what the heck did Christine ever do to you? Karl Rove went off on an establishment rant against Christine O’Donnell that had many wondering if he’d slipped a cranial gasket and was ready for the gingko biloba crowd. I’m still wondering what that was all about.

Let’s examine what’s happening. The ‘establishment’ has brought the party, and by extension us as Americans, along the disastrous path the party took under George Bush. They have the gall to pronounce to us? We hold the biggest winning formula the Republicans have had since Ronaldus Maximus.

We, as the Patriot Movement, have welded together a vast cross section of people who have but one identity, that of American. And only one goal, that of restoring the Constitutional Republic of the United States of America. One thing is for sure, the Republican establishment has put itself directly in the line of fire of a whole bunch of Tea Party types with no reason to hold hands and sing kumbaya.

The Conservative Patriot movement is changing the face of American politics. It is the tsunami which is sweeping all before it. Get used to it. We’re here and we’re not going away.

Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis

© Skip MacLure 2010

Tea Party Smackdown, Oh Yeah!

Permit me a brief smirk, folks. I really did see this coming… of course, a little prayer never hurts either. The Delaware Republican primary was about as much of an upset as you could ever want. The Patriot Movement flexed its muscles again and propelled Christine O’Donnell to victory over veteran politico Mike Castle. O’Donnell took an early lead and never looked back.

Since we were just talking about ‘the establishment’ yesterday, watching the contortions of the Delaware State Republican Party and the RNC in the aftermath of the O’Donnell victory was both instructive and entertaining. The party elites stayed in character, and one low-level apparatchik bleated that the national party would “send no money to O’Donnell”. This is unfortunate… it just tells us in the Patriot Movement that the Republican Party machinery is still stuck back somewhere in the inglorious past.

In the face of all the evidence in front of them that the Patriot Movement is indeed speaking with the voice of the American people, the Republican elites continue to look down their noses and make disparaging noises. The fact is that that Conservative American Patriots cleaned your clocks. Yeah… the Tea Party… those ignorant rubes you’ve been snickering about at your effete little watering holes in the beltway.

Christine O’Donnell had scarcely been declared as the winner when the establishment knives were out saying that she couldn’t possibly win a national contest. My syndicates won’t let me print the expletives running through my head right now. I think that Christine O’Donnell can win that contest in November. Not only that, but I think she stands a damned good chance at it.

The Conservative message is beginning to resonate with some disillusioned Democrats too. Want another example of the absolute disconnect between the Republican elites and the people who make up the Republican electorate? I just got word, at the time of writing this, that the NRSC (the National Republican Senatorial Committee) has stated they won’t support the choice of the people! Need I say more?

Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis

© Skip MacLure 2010

Delaware Republicans Back Liberal.

It’s not often that a writer gets a gift handed to him, but I got one today. My article yesterday focused on the necessity for the RNC and the so-called establishment Republicans to find common ground, and recognize that we (the Patriot movements) are not going to allow the Rockefeller establishment Republicans another shot at screwing up again.

Christine O'Donnell and Mike Castle

I was pointing out that party bosses in various states, who have an altogether inflated opinion of their own importance, can cram any candidate down our throats whether we like it or not.

We’ve seen it in Arizona, Nevada and Alaska… Tea Party/Patriot candidates have been kicking butt all over the place. It’s not surprising that the establishment types panicked and started undermining the work of the Patriots wherever they could, and that they were no more successful at it than the DeMarxists have been is not surprising.

The Republican Party of Delaware has endorsed a huge RINO, nine-term Representative Mike Castle, over the Conservative Patriot challenger Christine O’Donnell. In a shocking turn around she has come from near obscurity to within two points of Castle.

That’s where the rub is. Would somebody please tell me why the RNC and their various committees keep coming up with candidates nobody wants to vote for? Time after time. Then, when a totally spontaneous grass roots movement gets candidates elected all over the country, they go out of their way to suborn the efforts and the true will of the party as expressed by its grassroots members.

What this also means is that the party hierarchy isn’t listening to the country either. Well, it’s like this… you guys weren’t getting the job done and, in fact, many of you were prepared to lie down with the DeMarxists as long as they made nice with you.

It’s going to be a very tough year on incumbents… yes, indeed it is. You see, we know how you voted… we counted the votes… we counted who voted on what.

It’s going to be a very tough year for anyone who voted in favor of health care, or the stimulus, or the banking regulation bill or cap and trade… the whole gamut of Obama’s Marxist menagerie. Yes, we know how you voted… and we are going to vote you out of office.

Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis

© Skip MacLure 2010

Who Are The NRSC? Why Do They Back Liberal Republicans?

Yesterday, I wrote about establishment Republicans and their apparent opposition to all things Tea Party. Just who the heck are these people?

John Cornyn

We have just had a key election in Alaska. Incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski went down in defeat to Joe Miller in the Senate primary. Joe Miller was the Conservative ‘Tea Party’ candidate. The head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee flew to Alaska to aid Lisa Murkowski with the primary. John Cornyn (R), Junior Senator from Texas, had said that his committee will observe strict neutrality.

According to Miller’s campaign there are still national operatives in the state, and they suspected an effort to sway the election results in favor of Murkowski. There were still some 1,500 absentee votes yet to be counted.

According to Tea Party activists in Cornyn’s home state of Texas, protests were held at all of Cornyn’s offices to make it clear that they did not want the GOP or the NRSC interfering with Alaska’s primary race. There has been a pattern of interference, back-room deals and underhanded tactics where Conservative Patriots and their candidates have been concerned.

The people are speaking their choices. There is a Conservative tsunami just over the horizon. If the RNC and the NRSC think that we will stand still for more of what we got from them when they were last in power, they have another think a- comin’.

The National Republican Party has been an abject failure. We need only to look around us to see the result of that. It was the irresponsible actions of the (then) majority party under George Bush that are directly responsible for Barack Hussein Obama being in office.

There are more primaries coming up soon. Delaware’s Republican primary is on Sept 14. The Tea Party Express has endorsed strong Conservative Christine O’Donnell over US Representative Mike Castle, the choice of the RNC and NRSC. It’s like this folks… Mike Castle is one of the biggest RINOs in Washington. This dude has been in virtual lockstep with Barack Obama’s agenda from the beginning. He needs to be defeated and it looks very much like he will be.

Message to the RNC. Keep it up and you’ll see the destruction of your party. You’re under as much scrutiny as the DeMarxists are. You worked very hard to lose our trust. Now you’re going to have to work much harder to get it back. Backing RINOs isn’t a very good start.

Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis

© Skip MacLure 2010

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