Christine O’Donnell’s Delaware Win Ensures Dem Control of Senate

The Tea Party won the battle last night, but the war for control of the Senate is lost.


It’s clear no party has the monopoly on stupid.

Sen. Robert Menendez, the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, is probably the happiest person in America right now. Wonder if he sends Christine O’Donnell a thank you note, or just a bouquet of flowers?

While the odds of the Senate flipping back to the Republicans on his watch were slim, slim just walked out the door with the defeat of Rep. Mike Castle in the Republican Senate primary in Delaware.

[See who donated the most to Castle's campaign.]

Slim then headed down the street, crossed the state line to Menendez’s neighboring New Jersey, and is now drinking a martini on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. It’s over.

The Republican Party used to pride itself on being the Big Tent Party. It was the party that could elect people like Reps. Connie Morella in Maryland and Bob Michel in Illinois. Both are sadly long gone. Instead, we now have a party that seems long on division, disagreement, and delusion and short on ideas and collaboration.

Was Mike Castle the ideal Republican? No. But there is no such thing. A Republican in Delaware is entirely different than a Republican in North Carolina, California, and dare I say it, Alaska.

The Republican Party was founded on liberty. It was the party of inclusion. Growing up in Maryland, where Republicans are sometimes considered an endangered species, I learned what it meant to be a Republican, or so I thought. My old mentor, Rep. Helen D. Bentley, served for 10 years from 1985-1995. She is the person responsible for defeating “Doc” Long in Charlie Wilson’s War. She taught me when I was in high school that good people come in all political stripes, and not everyone who is Republican should automatically be trusted.

Later as a reporter, I learned from watching some very skilled (and some not so much so) politicians work crowds and give speeches. Some knew their audiences, others didn’t.

The Tea Party and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin came out swinging for O’Donnell. Clearly they don’t know their audience. Has Palin ever been to Delaware? If she had, or any of the Tea Party bigwigs who funneled money had, they would have realized a perennial losing candidate doesn’t have a prayer in the general election compared to a perennial winning candidate who has been in office statewide since O’Donnell was in grade school.

[Check out our editorial cartoons on Sarah Palin.]

For years Republicans chided Democrats and vice versa, for imposing a litmus test on Supreme Court nominees. Now that Republicans in Delaware have bypassed a proven leader, a consensus builder and statesman as their nominee, they have also ensured they will not see a Supreme Court nominee they like because why should they? With Democrats in control, they just cut off their nose to spite themselves.

They won the battle last night, but the war for control of the Senate is lost. So much for the Big Tent—it has apparently gone the way of the Dodo Bird.

  • Check out our editorial cartoons on the 2010 campaigns.
  • Follow the money in Congress.
  • See a slide show of 5 key issues in the 2010 elections.