In primary elections, voters should also give full weight to issues of personal biography and ability. A scandal-plagued contender will represent the party poorly and a candidate with troubled character or no communication skills stands little chance of advancing his or her agenda. In the Delaware Republican primary, for instance, questions about O'Donnell's eccentricities and shabby record of personal failures should have drawn more attention than they did, but those shortcomings shouldn't determine the outcome of her race in November. Delaware voters now face a stark choice: another voice for Democrats to continue their domination of the Senate, or a reliable vote for a new direction. If the GOP manages to gain the 10 Senate seats it needs to take control, it's absurd to suggest that each of the winning candidates must be a paragon of virtue -- just as Democrats should recognize that the 233 winning House candidates who gave them their majority in 2006 didn't all count as noble, honorable and capable public servants.
In this election, those Americans who seek representatives who'll vote to shrink deficits, block tax hikes, roll back Obamacare and stop relentless growth in government should vote Republican, regardless of the imperfections of specific candidates.
Meanwhile, citizens who want immediate action on climate change or more rigorous regulation of the private sector should back Democratic legislative candidates, in spite of their quirks or dubious qualifications.
When the choice before the nation is a new congressional majority and a new direction for America, or continued support for President Barack Obama's sweeping "change" agenda, personal peccadilloes rightly begin to fade toward irrelevance.
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