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Tea’s Bitter Aftertaste

Sunday, September 19th, 2010



Delaware’s primary election, usually a sleepy affair, stunned the political world last week.   In this week’s Centre Square commentary, Chris Satullo pays tribute to the man who suffered a stunning loss, Michael Castle.

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A political party that kicks Mike Castle rudely to the curb is a party that has no interest in being a majority.

A party that treats Mike Castle as just another hack hanging onto his job is a party that has lost its bearings.

For once this week, Delaware is a center of political chatter.  In the First State’s GOP primary last Tuesday, Tea Party darling Christine O’Donnell handily defeated Castle, the lanky veteran who was looking to complete a rare triple play – serving as governor, congressman and senator.

Yes, Delaware politics is a tiny, clubby world – and until this week, an anachronistically civil one.   If, as had once seemed inevitable, Castle had won the right to face Democrat Chris Coons in November, the First State would have featured the politest Senate campaign of these mid-terms.  Coons’ mode the whole time would have been:  “I respect Mike, Mike is my friend, but I do disagree with him on x, y or z.”

Well, goodbye to all that.  O’Donnell’s surge to upset victory was primer on the potency of the Tea Party’s stance of free-floating anger.   O’Donnell, a person whose shaky grasp of the concept of veracity was offset — for her fans — by a strong rhetorical and physical resemblance to Sarah Palin, went after Castle hard as an emblem of corrupt, out of touch Washington.

Mike Castle did not deserve that.  Congress needs more people like him, not fewer.

Yes, Mike Castle had been in Washington a long time.  But how did legislating become the only profession here actually having some experience at what you’re doing gets viewed as a liability.  No one clamors for a surgeon who’s never held a scalpel, a pilot who’s never flown, a firefighter who’s befuddled by a hydrant.  But America now clamors for lawmakers who proudly claim ignorance of how Congress works.

Well, in O’Donnell, Delaware Republicans got themselves a real novice.

And they kicked to the curb a man who used to define the party’s conscientious middle.   A man who held Republican principles about restraint in government but who never let partisan agendas stand in the way of service to country  – as when he stood strong for campaign finance reform.

The ignorance-is-bliss, anti-government mood may well have its moment of triumph on Nov. 2.  But any party that can’t appreciate a Mike Castle is a party that isn’t really ready to govern.


10 Comments

  • Jim D. says:

    Really, really good. Now; can the forced to be moderate Jim Gerlach finally get knocked down after all the times he survived longer than he should have? He’s kept surviving when the odds were against him- now the tide is with him- anything to turn this battleground district is fine with me!

  • kicktheball says:

    Actually, Chris, I think you have totally missed on this one. Congress needs to be fired because they are not representing their constituents (which is why O’Donnell won) and they have done a terrible job. Where do I go if I can’t pay my bills? Jail. Congress can’t balance the budget and they keep racking up more debt. Can you imagine what would happen to someone in the private sector who’s job performance was so poor?

    To suggest that experience in Congress is somehow of great import does not take into account the quality of that experience. If someone has experience but does a rotten job they have experience at being rotten. It seems that reflects much of Congress.

    While I have made some pointed comments, I want you to know these words are actually not written with anger or animosity to you, or even to congress. I am not even a “Tea Partier.” I am merely trying to shed some light on the perspectives of many Americans. Americans who are not hateful, racist, stupid or ignorant, but Americans who feel betrayed and are genuinely concerned about the expansion of Government and erosion of freedom. Not necessarily unlike the Americans who were concerned about Bush’s policies and called him a “nazi.” Now, the shoe is on the other foot.

    Thanks for the space.

    • DrewInDelaware says:

      Kicktheball, you have totally missed on this one if you in any way attribute Castle’s loss (and O’Donnell’s win) to quality of experience. How could there possibly be a bigger separator, in Castle’s favor her, in any political race?

  • laughable says:

    This is laughable Satullo.

    Your ludicrous drivel could easily have come from a conservative hack cited on Rushlimbaugh.com in 2007 with the name Hillary substituted in for Castle, and Obama in for O’Donnell.

    Allow me to demonstrate:

    A political party that kicks Hillary Clinton rudely to the curb is a party that has no interest in being a majority.

    A party that treats Hillary Clinton as just another hack hanging onto his job is a party that has lost its bearings.

    For once this week, Iowa is a center of political chatter. In the Hawkeye State’s DNC primary last Tuesday, MoveOn darling Barack Obama handily defeated Clinton, the veteran who was looking to become the first Female President.

    … …

    Well, goodbye to all that. Obama’s surge to upset victory was primer on the potency of MoveOn stance of free-floating anger. Obama, a person whose shaky grasp of the concept of veracity was offset — for his fans — by a strong rhetorical and physical resemblance to , went after Hillary Clinton hard as an emblem of corrupt, out of touch Washington.

    Hillary Clinton did not deserve that. Congress needs more people like him, not fewer.

    Yes, Hillary Clinton had been in Washington a long time. But how did legislating become the only profession here actually having some experience at what you’re doing gets viewed as a liability. No one clamors for a surgeon who’s never held a scalpel, a pilot who’s never flown, a firefighter who’s befuddled by a hydrant. But America now clamors for lawmakers who proudly claim ignorance of how Congress works.

    Well, in Obama, Iowa Democrats got themselves a real novice.

    And they kicked to the curb a woman who used to define the party’s conscientious middle. …

  • todd says:

    It’s really frustrating and audacious, for Chris Satullo to lecture people so often about business, the economy and taxes. If I were to guess, he’s never run a business, had to meet a payroll or taken financial risk – like signing personally for a loan to start a business. His ignorance is astonishing, and dare I say pathetic, particularly when he derives part of his paycheck from the taxpayer. He should listen to and learn from successful, educated business people. Given the fact he is the director of news at whyy, would it be reasonable to have an opposing (economically conservative) point of view every other week? Perhaps the listenership would even rise.

  • T. Harrison says:

    “They must be stupid and ignorant fools, eh?”

    Without a doubt, they are.

  • Paul Simons says:

    Thanks Chris, you hit the bullseye, you nailed it. It seems to me that the ‘tea party’ first gained notice with hateful, racist, personal attacks on Barack Obama and then got a ready-made issue to appropriate and generate more anger with – the bail-outs of a corrupt financial industry. But I’d go a bit farther in defining it – whether the tea party, the taliban, or the nazis, groups whose energy comes from barely conscious primeval fear and hatred wind up doing incalculable harm to their victims and to everyone else as well.

    Those who want this country to remain a constructive, tolerant, and intelligent world power need to live up to their responsibility as citizens, and vote. I can not understand why those of us who worked hard to put a clear-thinking, straight-talking man in the White House, and have endured two years of abuse and obstructionism, are not the ones who are intensely motivated to be first in line on Elaction Day.

    • kicktheball says:

      Uh, a little harsh with the Tea Party, Taliban, nazi thing. Statements like that sound every bit as fear mongering, judgmental, and hateful as those you accuse. Remember, the Nazi party did grow out of the Socialist party in Germany. Come to think of it, I am not aware of a single instance when big government resulted in more freedom and prosperity.

      I am fascinated that people can listen to the same speaker and come away with two totally different perspectives. I hear Pres. Obama as confused and a communicator who relies on obfuscation and equivocations to mislead the American people. What obstructionism are you referring to? The Dems have total control and the media love Obama.

      If you are asking why not everyone in America is ready to rubber stamp his policies, it’s because many are more interested in freedom and recognize that government control is the antithesis of freedom.

  • F. Inahoy says:

    Apparently the republican voters in Delaware disagree with you. They must be stupid and ignorant fools, eh?

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