Friday, December 3, 2010

Mike Castle or "Mike Castle Republicans"?

There has been much posted about how the "extreme right wing" T.E.A. Party people won't support "Mike Castle Republicans" and how that will be the downfall of the GOP in New Castle County.  Much of it stems from the fact that conservative activist Christine O'Donnell defeated long time Republican Congressman Mike Castle in the recent U.S. Senate Primary.  That has left a sour taste in the mouths of some moderate Republicans who have projected a race between two individuals onto an entire group of people.  The fact is that the 2010 U.S. Senate Republican Primary was about Mike Castle and Christine O'Donnell.  Mike had drifted too far away from his base and had lost even the mantra of a fiscal conservative by voting time and again for bailouts, spending without limits and massive government growth.  Long ago Congressman Castle had shed the skin of social conservatism and alienated many in not just the southern part of the state but the north as well. 

For the T.E.A. Party groups, this election was about limiting government to the boundaries of the Constitution, stopping spending and keeping markets free.  Mike Castle had become someone who did not represent these values.  By contrast, Christine O'Donnell offered fresh ideas, a chance to stop the Obama policies that Castle had largely supported and a set of policies that would return America to the roots of prosperity that we have consistently returned to in times of trouble.  Castle also seemed to feel as though he was owed the U.S. Senate seat.  He did not feel like he should be accountable to the people of Delaware and specifically, he felt no need to listen to the T.E.A. Party groups.  It was clear that Congressman Castle had escaped his base in 2009 during a town hall meeting about the Obamacare legislation when he was asked a question about where in the Constitution it states that the government can be involved in health care.  His answer was that the Constitution doesn't PROHIBIT the Federal Government from that activity which ignores the whole premise of the Constitution.  The Constitution lays out specifically what the federal government MAY do and specifically (10th Amendment) leaves the rest to the people and to the states.  Christine O'Donnell by comparison had studied Constitutional government and understood the founding document.  In fact, in the General Election she would display her knowledge at a debate with the eventual winner of the General Election, Chris Coons which was held at Widener Law School.  Coons asserted that the phrase "separation of church and state" appears in the 1st Amendment of the Constitution and O'Donnell smartly challenged him.  As Coons backtracked, the student body of the law school showed their ignorance with laughter at Ms. O'Donnell's position.  The media of course went into red alert mode and tried to paint Christine into a corner.  Sadly, they showed the ignorance of their positions as the phrase "separation of church and state" does not appear in any of our founding documents but instead, in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to a group of Baptist Ministers in Danbury Connecticut written in 1802 which is not formal policy but rather a reassurance to the delegation that the United States would never adopt a national religion like England did.

The fact that Mike Castle was pro-choice and Christine O'Donnell was pro-life was not an insignificant position by any means but to make the leap that the media did in claiming that it was a deciding factor for TEA Party members is flat out absurd.  In fact, for all the work that the media and left wing did to paint Christine as a far right social activist, the truth bears a different story.  Christine stood for a limited government approach to many social issues by calling for those decisions to be made at the local or state level and not by the federal government.  She was also in favor of maintaining a healthy planet, reducing emissions and being good stewards of the land God has given us.  Another myth was presented when GLBT groups began protesting against O'Donnell and asserting that she was anti-homosexual.  The fact is that her staff was made up of perhaps the most diverse group of people ever assembled.  Nearly every race, gender, religion and sexual orientation was represented and she even had members from every mainstream political party working for her.  Christine is far from a bigot when it comes to any of these labels and looked for the best people for the job and not what they looked like, what they did in their personal lives or what religion they practiced. 

So you see, this was not an election about an ideologically pure ultraconservative candidate being nominated in a state overrun with leftists the way the media and the establishment has claimed.  Nor was it a referendum on all moderate Republicans.  It was about Mike Castle and a set of principles that he had abandoned.  It was about the base of the Republican Party standing up and being heard by the establishment that had made all of the decisions over the years and it was about busting up the backroom deals and "The Delaware Way" which was designed to keep the powerful in power and the regular citizens in the dark.  Christine accomplished something that many others had failed at in the past and while she didn't accomplish the ultimate goal, she has NOTHING to be ashamed of.  She's made it possible for regular people to run for office in Delaware again and she's inspired people to stand up for what they believe in.  She combined the very conservative folks in southern Delaware with the TEA Party folks all across the state and created a coalition across party lines that stood on principle regardless of the outcome. 

For many years, those conservatives and TEA Party folks had voted for Mike Castle and others like him under that old mantra that you vote for the most conservative candidate who can get elected.  The TEA Party itself is a melting pot of individuals from hardcore conservatives to moderate Democrats who are united around 3 main principles:
  1. A government limited by the Constitution and all of the rules it contains.
  2. A government that is responsible with taxpayer dollars and keeps taxes low.
  3. Markets that are free and open to the people.
This is what makes the TEA Party continue to grow and what unites people across political party lines and despite establishment claims, this is what will unite the TEA Party and conservatives with establishment Republicans in supporting people like Tom Kovach in New Castle County.

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