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.


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 reporter for Bloomberg Politics



The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?


Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 11:40 AM The U.S. Has Spent $7 Billion Fighting the War on Drugs in Afghanistan. It Hasn’t Worked. 
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Right of Free Speech
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
Oct. 21 2014 12:05 PM Same-Sex Couples at Home With Themselves in 1980s America
Future Tense
Oct. 21 2014 4:14 PM Planet Money Uncovers One Surprising Reason the Internet Is Sexist
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.