Tea Baggers: More like carpet-baggers than grass-roots

A couple of takes on Mike Castle and Tea Party Handmaiden (heh) Christine O’Donnell. Let’s start with E.J. Dionne at the Wash Post (h/t Kay at Balloon Juice; click for her own good comments):

Want to know how angry the state’s Republican leaders are at the campaign of Christine O’Donnell, the perennial candidate who is threatening Rep. Mike Castle in the U.S. Senate race? Here’s what Delaware Republican Party chairman Tom Ross told me last night:

I could buy a parrot and train it to say, ‘tax cuts,’ but at the end of the day, it’s still a parrot, not a conservative.

That, so far, is my favorite line of this election season.

Ross is furious because O’Donnell had no credibility as a candidate until the Tea Party Express, a California-based group, decided to target Castle, a genuine moderate who represents the last vestiges of what was once a thriving and honorable wing of Republicanism. Oh yes, and she also got the endorsements of Sarah Palin and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.). DeMint is determined to purge his party of anyone with the nerve to be – well, even a moderate conservative.

Ross notes that the state Republican convention endorsed Castle. These are not some shadowy party bosses, but, as he put it, “the grass-roots delegates who knock on the doors and pass out the literature and pound the pavements.”

Carpet baggers for sure. Next time I want to see some plush and shag hanging from those hats.

But before we deify Mike Castle, let’s listen to Dave Weigel at Slate (h/t Annie Laurie):

I’m from Delaware, born in 1981, and can not remember a time when Mike Castle wasn’t being elected to something. … There are two parties here: the party that does what the banks and DuPont wants, and the party that loses. Castle was the undisputed leader of the first party. …

I see a lot of conservatives arguing tonight that Christine O’Donnell’s victory shows that she can upset the establishment and win this seat. These conservatives are not from Delaware. … Her victory was only possible because, for the first time, political donors and activists from outside our little state picked a target, froze it, and polarized it. But the message I am getting tonight is clear—neither the state GOP nor the NRSC will spend any resources on O’Donnell.

If Delaware catches your eye, there’s much more by Weigel on his main blog page.

And finally this, by Charles Pierce in Esquire, is well worth quoting (cause I’m a sucker for good prose). The appetizer:

Once O’Donnell’s victory was assured, the requisite thumbsucking over What It All Means got dialed up to 11 almost immediately. Matthews was the wildest, divining a secret hidden block of frustrated Hillary Clinton voters who had been marinating in frustration since the 2008 primaries and were bleeding from the teeth to vote for anyone with ovaries, even someone who spent the 1990’s inveighing against the evils of jacking off.

The main dish:

O’Donnell is a creature of an age in which politics have no meaning beyond performance art. She is the Creature From The Green Room, with no apparent public career beyond being available whenever some teenage booker from the cable shows needed someone to say something reliably stupid… Her resume is so thin as to be opaque [sic], and a lot of it seems to be a lie. She seems to be something of a deadbeat, and “U.S. Senator” seems to be her idea of an entry-level position. …

She is what politics produces when you turn them into a game show and the coverage of them over to a generation of high-technology racetrack touts. She is what you get when political journalism reduces politics to numbers on a scoreboard, divorcing them from the real world consequences of what are increasingly seen as cute little eccentric decisions.

She is what politics produces when we abandon self-government for self-gratification. And that’s the real obvious irony in her victory on Tuesday night, and the only thing about it that truly matters. Christine O’Donnell’s campaign is a successful exercise in angry, misfit masturbation[.]

If this country falls in the late rounds (it may not), the epitaph could read, “The rich gave them the noose, and they wore it like a necklace.”

If you care, click through for the Handmaiden’s OMG-face.


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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