Entitlement reform has become a leading issue in this year's Republican primaries. I don't mean the kind of entitlement reform associated with Medicare or Social Security. I'm referring to the Republican Party's establishment figures and their exaggerated sense of political entitlement.
The most recent example is in Delaware, where despite being outspent 32 to 1, insurgent candidate Christine O'Donnell trumped nine-term GOP Congressman Michael Castle by 65 percent to 35 percent for the GOP Senate nomination.
Castle, who has spent a lifetime as a political incumbent, responded to this humiliating loss with conduct unbecoming a gentleman. Instead of graciously acknowledging defeat and closing ranks with his party's nominee, Castle trashed her. Sniping from his website, Castle attacked O'Donnell as untrustworthy and unfit for office.
By trying to ensure that O'Donnell loses the election, Castle undermines his own party's prospects for a Senate takeover in November. So strong is his sense of entitlement to the Senate nomination that Castle feels justified in being disloyal to the very party he has spent his adult life serving.
If it were only a personal matter, it would be sad to see this once respected politician end his political legacy embittered because the voters foiled his Senate ambitions. But Castle is not the only Delaware GOP establishment figure trying to torpedo the party's nominee. State Party Chairman Tom Ross has lodged a complaint against the O'Donnell campaign and the Tea Party Express for improper coordination. It is as though the insiders see the Republican Party as their private fiefdom.
Nor is the Delaware GOP an aberration. Embattled Republican moderates around the country seem to feel justified in taking actions that could keep Democrats in office rather than lose GOP sinecures to which they feel personally entitled.
In Florida, Republican primary voters jettisoned Governor Charles Crist in favor of conservative challenger Marco Rubio. Jilted, Crist opted to run as an independent, even though splitting the Republican vote could produce a win for Democrats. In Alaska, incumbent GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski has decided to run a hopeless write-in campaign after losing her primary re-election bid to challenger Joe Miller. In Colorado, where tea party-backed outsider Ken Buck beat GOP insider Scott McInnis for the GOP Senate nomination, embittered Republican leaders have been slow to coalesce around the newcomer. Similar dynamics apply in Nevada, where Sharron Angle is running neck and neck against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid according to the latest polls, despite having to contend with a hostile GOP establishment.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.