The Conservative Establishment Versus Christine O'Donnell

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 8 2010 12:02 PM

The Conservative Establishment Versus Christine O'Donnell

The Wall Street Journal continues the white-shoe assault on Delaware U.S. Senate hopeful Christine O'Donnell, telling her supporters to wise up and back Mike Castle.

A two-time loser statewide, Ms. O'Donnell has a history offinancial troubles and recently told the Weekly Standard her home andoffice were vandalized, though she hadn't reported it to police. Sherecently accused a conservative local talk radio host that he had been"paid off" by Mr. Castle's supporters after he asked her toughquestions.

So GOP primary voters must decide if they want tovote for Mr. Castle, a moderate who would help Republicans organize theSenate and who opposed ObamaCare but who will give them heartburn onsome issue in the future. Or they can vote their heart even if it meansgiving up a Senate seat.

Advertisement

What's interesting here is the reliance on The Weekly Standard* to make the case that O'Donnell is a nut. (Also, fun fact: Pete DuPont, under whom Castle served as lieutenant governor, is a monthly columnist for the WSJ, although he doesn't weigh in on editorials.) As I noted in my profile of this race , the Standard's brutal interview with O'Donnell was literally front page news in Delaware. It was key to a 72-hour campaign to get influential conservatives not to support O'Donnell the way they supported Joe Miller. With some exceptions (like Tammy Bruce and Mark Levin) it worked. And I think the WSJ editorial explains why. The partisan stakes in Alaska seemed low, because as far as anyone knew any Republican could hold the Senate seat. The partisan stakes in other races with candidates or campaigns who bungle their interviews are clear -- back the Republican or the Democrat wins. In Delaware, the choice is between an electable moderate who can get the party closer to control of the Senate and a Tea Party candidate who possibly can't.

This is the big difference between Delaware and, say, New Hampshire, where the local Union Leader has endorsed a rival of NRSC favorite Kelly Ayotte (who, it should be said, has nothing in her record suggesting she's as moderate as Castle) and opened up a real debate about who conservatives should support. The key there is that most polls show Democrat Paul Hodes losing to everyone.

*I originally misidentified the WS as a NewsCorp property, but it was sold to Clarity Media in 2009.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 15 2014 4:38 PM What Is Straight Ice Cream?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 15 2014 4:49 PM Cheetah Robot Is Now Wireless and Gallivanting on MIT’s Campus
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 15 2014 11:00 AM The Comet and the Cosmic Beehive
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.