In the Republican primary for the Delaware Senate seat, you have two choices.
In one corner: Christine O’Donnell. True-blue conservative. Tea Party darling. Easy on the eyes. But she has stumbled badly in her campaign, and is widely thought to have a poor chance of winning the general election against the Democrat.
In the other corner, you have Mike Castle. Generally thought to have an excellent chance in the general election, but not a solid conservative by any stretch. Supports cap and trade. Thinks it’s unrealistic to repeal ObamaCare while Obama is President. But Geraghty shows he votes conservative on plenty of other issues — he voted against ObamaCare and the stimulus, for example — and he could be the guy who tips the balance of power in the Senate.
Which candidate do you choose?
It’s not an easy dilemma. I was among those who supported solid conservative Tom McClintock over Arnold Schwarzenegger in the recall election for California governor. My reasoning: McClintock is a hell of an impressive guy, and if everyone who had preferred him had voted for him, he could have won. He was a victim of a “he can’t win” mentality. Plus, I didn’t see Arnold as such a great plus. (I still don’t.)
On the other hand, I am not a fan of throwing away my vote to send a message that the candidate in question isn’t conservative enough for my finicky tastes. As long as he (or she) is conservative enough to help us, that works for me.
There are those who seek to make “pragmatic” a bad word. These people often express disdain at the importance of having Republicans in power if they are not sufficiently attuned to their principles.
I have noticed that these very same people often rant and rave about particular Obama policies, like ObamaCare, that a sufficient number of Republicans in Congress could have stopped.
You can’t have it both ways. If you’re going to complain about Obama’s policies, you can’t turn up your nose at a candidate who can help you fight those policies. Even — and this is important — even if that candidate is less than ideal.
Because every candidate is less than ideal.
So I’m good with trying to elect the more conservative candidate on the theory that the more conservative candidate has a chance. Personally, I’m not good with voting for that person as a protest vote when I know they can’t win.
I agree with William F. Buckley and the editors of the Wall Street Journal. The beat candidate is the most conservative one that can win.
Can Christine O’Donnell win?