John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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Lesson Learned

Posted on September 13, 2010
Mike Castle learned Lisa Murkowski’s lesson.  Let’s see if it works for him.

Castle, the former Governor and current House Member from Delaware, is seeking a promotion (of sorts) to the Upper Chamber, and if he can survive a primary fight this week, he should be good to go.

His primary opponent, Christine O’Donnell, has garnered late endorsements from Sarah Palin and Senator Jim DeMint, and some late money from the infamous Tea Party Express, and seemingly making a serious run at Governor Castle.

Christine O'Donnell (R-DE) and Rep. Michael N. Castle (R-DE) - photo TMPDC



Castle, a mild-mannered, but very resolute, determined, and at times stubborn, politician, is competing hard against O’Donnell, which is exactly what he should do in an election season where no incumbent or presumed favorite should take anything for granted.

O’Donnell is a tremendously flawed candidate.  If she wins this primary, Democrats have a better than even shot at winning the seat.  So, why would Palin and DeMint undermine the Republican leadership and hope to throw a monkey wrench into what was once an easy one for the GOP to win?

Good question.  For Palin, it seems that she just likes to support very conservative female candidates and people who run against Lisa Murkowski.  She is flexing her political muscles just to show the party elite that she has them.  And, let’s not kid ourselves.  Mike Castle is not Sarah Palin’s cup of tea.  He is cerebral.  She is anti-cerebral.  He is an environmentalist.  She would eat seals for breakfast if she could.  He has a pretty moderate voting record.  She hunts moderates as a hobby.

For Jim DeMint, who famously said that he would rather have 40 rock-ribbed conservatives than a majority of Republicans who weren’t as conservative as him, Mike Castle is his worst nightmare.  And should Castle win, I can guarantee that Castle and DeMint won’t be working out at the Senate gym together.  So, I guess for DeMint, who seems intent on making certain that Mitch McConnell doesn’t get to be Majority Leader, it is an easy call to be against the former Governor.

O’Donnell has some interesting positions, including opposition to masturbation (not sure how you enforce that), and has had a checkered financial past (failure to pay taxes, failure to pay her tuition, failure to pay her campaign staff) but nevertheless is campaigning as a fiscal conservative.  With that kind of record, actually, she would fit in nicely with the United States Senate.

Palin has also endorsed a guy named Brian Murphy, another conservative who is running against Bob Erlich for the government of Maryland.  I know Bob Erlich pretty well, and he is about the most conservative candidate I could imagine winning in Maryland.  Palin seems to want to make inroads with conservative Irish Catholic voters, endorsing both a Murphy and an O’Donnell, but I find this endorsement especially perplexing.  Erlich is going to win pretty easily, and he is a real conservative.  What her beef is with Erlich is anybody’s guess.

With Sharon Angle in Nevada, Rand Paul in Kentucky, Joe Miller in Alaska and Linda McMahon in Connecticut, Republicans certainly have put forward candidates that offer a real change from the status quo.  Let’s hope it’s the kind of change that general election voters want.