The Corner

An Email Re Castle-O’Donnell

I hope this e-mail finds you well (though it will likely also find you “grumpy” about the Castle loss).

Strategically, you are almost certainly right that it would have been better (for conservatives) to have nominated Rep. Castle for the Senate than to have nominated Ms. O’Donnell. However, given the will expressed by the primary voters, it’s time to move on. There will be plenty of time later for I-told-you-so’s.

As a _really_ outside outsider, I’ll share why I think this is not a terrible thing. I live in one of the most conservative counties in a conservative state (Hendricks County, Indiana). Having attended many gatherings and fundraisers for the local Republican Party, I noticed something odd: the attendees were mostly folks who were looking for favors. That is to say, the party apparatus was mostly dominated by people who didn’t believe in limited government or even a socially-conservative agenda. They were people who had hijacked the party apparatus to advance the “favor factory” theory of government.

You have endorsed WFB’s dictum of supporting the most conservative viable candidate. I endorse that too, but I do so with the awareness that the folks who pull the strings in state and local parties often arrange things to fit their own priorities. For viability: just conservative enough to please this right-leaning electorate, but for themselves: someone who believes in their core approach of providing goodies for themselves and their friends and the perpetuation of Harry Hopkins theory of government. (Tax and tax and spend and spend and elect and elect.)

I think the world will be brighter if Tea Partiers take over more and more state and local parties and drive out these professional favor seekers and granters. Mr. Castle’s loss might mean short-term pain, but it might also mean a cleaner (and more conservative) GOP in the future.

I guess time will tell. Anyway, try to find some good cheer anyway. You’re too good a guy to be as down as your Corner posts seem.

Down? Because someone whose politics I don’t really share lost a primary? Nah. But thanks, and I hope you’re right about the long-term effects.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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