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They’re Both Right!


No need to be fighting like this:

With tea party-backed candidates going down in Delaware, Colorado and Nevada, depriving Republicans of what would have been a 50-50 Senate, a bloc of prominent senators and operatives said party purists like Sarah Palin and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) had foolishly pushed nominees too conservative to win in politically competitive states.

Movement conservatives pointed the finger right back at the establishment, accusing the National Republican Senatorial Committee of squandering millions on a California race that wasn’t close at the expense of offering additional aid in places like Colorado, Nevada and Washington state, where Democratic Sen. Patty Murray holds a narrow lead as the votes continue to be counted.

But the teabaggers really did cost the GOP control of the Senate, and the establishment’s bizarre fantasies of California triumph do indeed remain bizarre. If Florida had an electoral system that met minimally acceptable democratic standards, Karl Rove’s obsession with California would have cost Bush the 2000 election — but they’re still dreamin’.

Since some commenters who know better seem to buy this tea party excuse, I suppose I should address the argument that O’Donnell’s defeat was really a win because her primary win will keep other Republicans in line. The obvious problem with this argument is that it’s already been accomplished. I hate to break this to you, but Mike Castle was going to vote a straight tea party line on any vote that was consequential to the party leadership. And these Potemkin moderates are a real political asset to the GOP — the media just loves the senators who talk a good moderate game and then vote like Tom Coburn on any issue that actually matters, up to and including an essentially Rockefeller Republican health care plan. Sacrificing several Senate seats to accomplish something that’s already been accomplished while denying some extra political cover was unambiguously stupid.

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