My choice for the Republican nomination for president in 2012 will probably not be a candidate for the position.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has shown the kind of tough leadership in an unfriendly political environment that should be emulated by Republican officials across the country.
Christie has upset the applecart so much with Garden State special interests that a leaked memo from the Bergen County Education Association (AKA a teachers union) mockingly prayed for his demise.
Christie is a rare breed of a high-profile conservative who actually holds a position of responsibility and has had to live with the consequences, political and otherwise, of his decisions.
The New Jersey governor supported moderate Republican US Representative Mike Castle for the GOP nomination for the US Senate in Delaware.
Does that make Christie a RINO? Let me answer that question with another: are Pat Roberston and US Senator David Vitter RINOs for supporting ex-New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani for president in 2008?
Republican political strategist Karl Rove, architect of George W. Bush’s political career, has been blasted as a RINO for not embracing Christine O’Donnell and for making jabbing critiques about her electability.
Rove and columnist Charles Krauthammer were correct in their assessments that the moderate Castle had a better chance of winning the seat in November. Polls taken before and after the O’Donnell-Castle primary have shown the GOP nominee trailing Democrat Chris Coons by a substantial margin.
And it would be reasonable to assume O’Donnell’s political philosophy is to the right of general political mindset of Delaware voters, who haven’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since George H.W. Bush in 1988.
In 2008, with their senior senator on the Democratic ticket, the First State went to Obama with almost 62%. The highwater mark for a Republican presidential candidate in Delaware since the Bush-Dukakis race was in 2004 when W scored just under 46%, seven points behind Massachusetts US Senator and Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.
The logic of the Castle backers, many of whom are more conservative than the candidate they championed, was that because he was more electable in a state that’s not known for voting for conservatives, Castle was a heavy favorite to win in the general election and thus would be in a position to provide more conservative than the Democratic alternative.
The position of the TEA Party crowd was half a loaf (give or take a bad vote now and then on a court nominee or Cap and Trade) wasn’t enough and that they would rather get behind a candidate who would be a good vote 100% of the time even if she had a 20% change of winning.
O’Donnell's underdog bid has become an intra-party red herring and a distraction for the conservative movement and the Republican Party at a time when the Democrats are on the ropes.
Like the Koran burning that wasn’t (or maybe was in the hands of less media savvy preachers), the O’Donnell controversy diverted attention from the Democrats' mismanagement of the economy, the problems with their national health care plan, out of control spending on the federal level, President Obama’s “own private Katrina” in the Gulf of Mexico and the other absurd policies Democrats have in-store for the country if they get another two years of full control of the national government.
Rather than behaving like Madame Defarge to anyone suspected of being a RINO, conservatives should focus their energy, resources and time on electing political insurgents in Alaska and Nevada. And if O'Donnell is their cup of "TEA", cut a check to her as well.
Instead of beating up on Rove and Krauthammer, neither of whom hold elected or party offices, the Right should channel their angst towards Harry Reid and the rest of the Democrats who rubber-stamped the Obama agenda.
That said, establishment types need to be cognizant that though the results of the Delaware GOP primary might not be smart politics, it’s the bitter harvest the Republican Party’s higher-ups had coming to them for the contemptible manner they have treated the base over the years. To paraphrase a certain retired Chicago pastor, the TEA Party has come home, to roooooooooooost. And they're a more powerful force within the GOP than the country club wing.
The “if you don’t have a check, you don’t matter” mentality was going to catch up with the GOPezzonovantes eventually. And it did in Delaware.
Just as Move On "bought and paid for" the Democratic Party, the TEA Party folks are gaining influence in the Republican Party.
As O’Donnell has received a tremendous amount of publicity, party leaders need to step up and support her candidacy. She has become the mascot of the TEA Party and snubbing her will be inferred as personally snubbing the legions of donors around the country who have filled O’Donnell’s campaign coffers to the tune of $1,500,000 since her nomination.
After all, the national Democrats have stood by far more discredited candidates than O'Donnell in the past.
If you’re really upset about the way the Republican establishment has handled O’Donnell, send a check for real money to O’Donnell and an envelope stuffed with monopoly money attached to a note to the RNC and a host of other Republican campaign entities that have wasted millions and millions of dollars on candidates who later switched parties.