Janice Shaw Crouse

Few political analysts thought Christine O’Donnell, political neophyte and perennial outsider candidate, would defeat heavyweight, nine-time U.S. Rep. Mike Castle in the Delaware Republican Senate primary for Vice President Joe Biden’s former Senate seat. Against what initially seemed like insurmountable odds, O’Donnell soundly beat Castle at 53-47 percent. This so-called “political impossibility” is a major victory for the Tea Party, adds luster to the king-making ability of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), and shows the vote-getting strength of conservative endorsements like South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint (R). Castle’s “unexpected” defeat (unexpected by the inside-the-beltway crowd), along with Joe Miller’s surprise primary defeat last month of Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), is evidence that the grassroots conservative political movement constitutes a rip tide capable of dragging down established politicos and sweeping them out of office with unnerving force.

Those who lament a likely Democrat win in Delaware in November — which increases the odds against the Republicans winning a majority in the Senate — don’t understand the ferocity of ordinary citizens’ anger at the way the “political class” has been destroying America. If O’Donnell, a candidate with no government experience who provides numerous angles of attack by her opponent, can pull off such a major upset, the political establishment’s stronghold in Washington is obviously eroded and is on the verge of crashing down. Declaring that she is “in this to win,” O’Donnell joined with Tea Party Express in asking the National Republican Senatorial Committee to reverse its decision not to fund her efforts in the general election. NRSC executive director, Rob Jesmer, issued a less-than-gracious statement with tepid congratulations for O’Donnell’s victory “after a hard-fought primary campaign.” Now — with Sharron Angle winning the GOP Senate nomination in Nevada earlier this year — the party faces a challenging decision: Will they continue what O’Donnell called “cannibalism,” by flaunting their disdain for the GOP’s base and platform, or will the last remnants of the party establishment hold onto the flotsam of its power as it gets swept out to sea?


Janice Shaw Crouse

Janice Shaw Crouse is a former speechwriter for George H. W. Bush and now political commentator for the Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee.
 
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