Friday, September 17, 2010

Pat Buchanan asks, "Is the Republican establishment losing it?"

Is the Republican establishment losing it?

Is the party leadership capable of uniting a governing coalition as Richard Nixon did before Watergate and Ronald Reagan resurrected in the 1980s?

Observing the hysteria and nastiness of Karl Rove and the GOP establishment at the stunning triumph of Tea Party Princess Christine O'Donnell, the answer is no.

This party is not ready to rule.

Consider. In its grand strategy to recapture a Senate that George W. Bush and Rove lost in 2006, the GOP Senate leadership endorsed all its own caucus members for re-election, if they chose to run, then picked out all its favorite candidates for the open and Democratic seats.

Conservatives and tea party activists, however, had other ideas. They began to pick their own candidates. And, again and again, the Senate's chosen were rejected in favor of tea party challengers who had the endorsement of Sarah Palin or South Carolina's Jim DeMint.

Arlen Specter was rejected by the Pennsylvania GOP and left the party. Rand Paul routed Sen. Mitch McConnell's man in Kentucky. Charlie Crist was challenged by Marco Rubio in Florida. Crist, too, departed. Sen. Bob Bennett was denied renomination in Utah. Sen. Lisa Murkowski lost her primary in Alaska to a little-known fellow named Joe Miller.

But Delaware was the stunner. Rep. Mike Castle, a former two-term governor who had been winning elections for 40 years, was a certain victor in November.

Challenger O'Donnell, however, ended all that.

Yet, though her conservative credentials are far superior to those of Castle, O'Donnell was made the object of a wilding attack by National Review and The Weekly Standard, Charles Krauthammer, who lashed out at Palin and DeMint for "irresponsbility," and Rove, who on Sean Hannity's show went postal as soon as the returns came in.

Now, on paper, O'Donnell is a far tougher sell in Delaware than is Castle. But her defeat is not certain. Not in this volatile year.

And what is the justification for the savagery of the attacks on her, from her own?

My take:

To answer Pat's question, it isn't just the ruling class Republicans who are unnerved by Christine O'Donnell's capture of the Senate nomination in Delaware. The ruling class political alchemists, such as Karl Rove, are in the same predicament.

What's the predicament? Furious that the federal government grows bigger, more powerful and more voracious through one presidency after another, grass roots voters rallied to the insurgent Tea Party and challenged party-anointed candidates, as Buchanan notes.

If this continues, political passion will replace the slicing and dicing that the well-paid Rove types practice for a living.

Journalists in Washington, especially, rely on the slicers and dicers for leaks, tips and advance word on new polls and findings of interest to news consumers who follow politics closely. In other words, other livelihoods also are at risk if the slicers and dicers lose their central place in the candidate selection and election process. 

The result is an all-out assault against Christine O'Donnell, whose smiling face represents a significant new threat to the slicers and dicers and their media allies.

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