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Tea, anyone?

September 17, 2010
Michael Johns, U.S. Senate candidate Christine...

Well done to the members of the First State’s Tea Party! You were able to block the nomination of a well-liked, respected and moderate Republican like Mike Castle for a political neophyte that makes Sarah Palin look like Margret Thatcher. I’m saddened that I’m about to put this phrase in print, but members of the Delaware Tea Party you have given credence to the rather negative but apparently accurate phrase “Slower Lower.” For those of you who have never heard the phrase, it’s used to describe the rather dimwitted inhabitants of Delaware’s two southern counties.

Your Republican candidate for the open Senate seat in Delaware, Christine O’Donnell, has quite literally no chance to win. Well, she has one chance, the opposing candidate – Chris Coons, the County Executive for New Castle County – could have a closet full of skeletons so perverse and grotesque to be the inspiration for the next 10 “SAW” movies. But somehow, I don’t think that’s going to be the case.

So what effect does this have on the Republican Party? It’s three-fold. 1) The Republicans, who had fully backed Mike Castle as the candidate who was the odds-on favorite to return that seat to the party, formerly held by our current Vice-President, must now engage in a full-throated (and budgeted) support of this obviously over-matched and gravitas-less contender. 2) This becomes a public relations nightmare when for the next 40+ days as it’s discussed in the press how she is a joke and has no chance to win the Senate seat. Which brings us to 3), the Republicans lose a very important seat in their quest to return the Senate majority back to the GOP.

By attaching herself to the Tea Party, I will admit O’Donnell did show some political savvy. She may be no good for Delaware, no good for the Republican Party and no good for the Senate, but she finally figured out how to be good to herself. Ingratiate yourself with a growing and outspoken grass-roots fringe group who will put their support behind any non-insider in the hopes of unseating the establishment.

So how does the Republican Party recover from this thumb nosing by the little guys and gals from Slower Lower? They convince Mike Castle to run as an independent and give him as much support as politically possible. Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman proved it was possible for a sitting Senator to lose his party’s election but still win the general election. While the circumstances aren’t exactly the same, Mike Castle has the same kind of public appeal that Lieberman does. As a well-respected former governor and sitting congressman, he could draw the moderate vote from both the Dems and GOP, essentially splitting the other two tickets to win the election on his own. He has the backing of the establishment and can draw on his years of public service, while announcing his campaign is for the good of the country.

Congressman, if you need a hand, just send me a note. I’ll be happy to pitch in. A candidate for VP in the 2008 election is as close as I want Sarah Palin or any of her clones to get federal office.

(As a matter of full disclosure, I am not registered with any political party and routinely split my ticket.)

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