I try not to quote too much from the Jolt — otherwise, you have no incentive to subscribe! — but a lot of readers wrote in saying they liked this section:
A Palin Theory That Pales Under Scrutiny
Did any one figure cost the Republicans the Senate? That’s a theory that’s tough to swallow. Something went wrong for Ken Buck in Colorado, as well as Sharron Angle in Nevada, resulting in the pair dramatically underperforming their polls. You could see the outlines of a theory here, positing that these staunchly conservative candidates ran too far to the right for their purplish states. But Carly Fiorina fell surprisingly short in California, and the outlook is grim for Dino Rossi in Washington, too, and their experiences don’t seem to fit that narrative. Is Linda McMahon a Tea Party candidate? Not by most definitions; in the end, her professional wrestling past was too much dead weight for an otherwise hard-hitting campaign.
But one GOP member of Congress — representing, I believe, the most heavily Republican district in the country, the R+29
5th6th district in Alabama — offered a simple theory, and I’ll bet he’ll come to regret it: “Shelby County’s congressman, U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., said former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin likely cost the Republican Party control of the U.S. Senate. Bachus made his remarks on Nov. 4 at the monthly luncheon meeting of the South Shelby Chamber of Commerce, held at the Columbiana United Methodist Church. “The Senate would be Republican today except for states (in which Palin endorsed candidates) like Christine O’Donnell in Delaware,” Bachus said. “Sarah Palin cost us control of the Senate.” He said Tea Party candidates did well in U.S. House races, but in the U.S. Senate races, “They didn’t do well at all.’”
Er . . . except for Rand Paul in Kentucky, and Marco Rubio in Florida, and Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, and Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania. All of this, of course, raises the question of what, precisely, makes a candidate a “Tea Party candidate.” Is Rob Portman definitely not a Tea Party candidate? Because there’s little doubt he’s conservative. Kelly Ayotte? Roy Blunt? Does a candidate’s “Tea Partiness” factor stem from policy positions? Lack of previous experience or association with Washington? A willingness to appear at Tea Party events?
Palin fans are not amused. Ian Lazarian, writing at Conservatives4Palin.com, concludes, “Governor Palin did not endorse either Sharron Angle or Ken Buck in their respective primaries. So which Palin-endorsed candidates is Bachus talking about? Does he think Chuck DeVore would have performed better than Carly Fiorina in California? Besides Christine O’Donnell, who did Palin endorse in a primary that was less electable than the person she did not endorse? Third, I can easily play the same game that Bachus played by arguing that the establishment cost us a Senate seat in Washington by going with a retread like Dino Rossi over Clint Didier. I can easily play this game by arguing that the establishment cost us the Maryland Governor’s race by going with a retread like Bob Ehrlich over a young upstart like Brian Murphy.”
He then offers this conclusion, one that will require further study: “The reality is that we simply do not have a shot at winning in deep blue states like California and Delaware.”
Who is ‘we’? Conservatives? Republicans? Palin fans? One wonders if the new governor of Maine or the current governor of New Jersey concur. And how blue is “deep blue”? And weren’t Illinois and Wisconsin considered “deep blue” not too long ago?