There are three ways of looking at Christine O'Donnell's victory in the Republican primary in the Delaware Senate race.
The first is to chortle about the fix the GOP is in. It has encouraged this strange conjoining of Fox News and the Tea Party to fire up the base. But all the scary lies and meanness now return to haunt the Republicans. Dr. Frankenstein has lost control of the monster. The flying monkeys are running the castle. Delaware has followed Nevada and Kentucky as states that should elect Republican senators in November, but now may not, having ditched fine candidates for more extreme nominees.
Another way of looking at the Delaware results is to marvel, once again, at the influence of the economy on American politics. You can say all you want about ideology and celebrity and tactics. The truth is that throughout American history, it's the Panics and Depressions and great Recessions that reliably spur political revolutions. Why should our era be any different? Let's see. I've lost my job and I cannot find work. They are sending my kids to fight wars we cannot win. The government is borrowing zillions from China to bail out everyone but me. My 401k has lost a third of its value and the value of my home has tanked. Sure, I'll return an incumbent to Washington.
The third alternative is disturbing. I understand Massachusetts and Utah and Alaska and even Kentucky--I'm a bit of a libertarian myself. But the actions of Republican voters in Delaware and Nevada take one's breath away. Madams O'Donnell and Angle are loony ditzes. Angry or not, folks, voting is serious stuff. We are talking about our country, our children, and our patriotic obligations. Senators vote on nuclear arms treaties, and Supreme Court nominees. Hello?
The primaries are over. We've established that the worst are filled with passionate intensity. Let's hope that sound-minded independent Americans prove Yeats half wrong, and that the best begin to show conviction.