According to a Democratic congressman in the NY Times, the O'Donnell win over long-serving, less-filling Mike Castle in the Republican Senate primary is a sign that the GOP is going extreme:
"When Mike Castle loses in Delaware, that's a sign that moderates are no longer welcome," said Representative Chris Van Hollen, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "They've now become the narrowest of ideological parties, and I do think that's going to alarm centrist moderate voters. It's those centrist moderate voters that determine the outcome in these swing districts."
How "moderate" was Mike Castle? Well, among other things, he supported TARP, various bailouts, and financial-reg reform. So maybe Republican Delaweenians were tired of a guy whose defenders point out defined the establishment.
And while we're at it, in the same Times story, generally useless Sen. John Cornyn of Texas has what may be a come-to-Jesus moment:
"As I've traveled," he said, "I've talked to a lot of folks who are basically independents who say: I'm fine with the Republicans as long as we're talking about fiscal responsibility. Where I go off the reservation is when you talk about social issues."
No shit, Sherlock. If the GOP can credibly embrace the idea that endless bailouts (many of which were instituted by a Republican president) of GSEs, big banks, car companies, homeowners (but never renters!), etc. are a bad idea; that increasing total government outlays by 104 percent in an eight-year period is really awful; and that doubling down on the less-winnable of two dumb wars is not smart, maybe they deserve another shot at running the House.
As Matt Welch pointed out (a lone voice howling in the mediascape), Christine O'Donnell didn't win her primary on an anti-masturbation, anti-witchcraft platform. She ran on an anti-spending platform. If she can stick to that, and not get into all her other bizarro views, she might just beat a guy who has been known to raise a tax or two. If believing ridiculous things is a bar to serving in the Senate, then I'm guessing fully 50 to 95 percent of the chamber should be calling U-Haul right about now.
But will the GOP generally get the message to be clear on fiscal responsibility and STFU about social issues? I seriously doubt it. Forget about the Ground Zero mosque and stuff like that. The GOP can't even stop wavering on an earmark ban they pledged to when they knew they wouldn't be in power.