Jonathan Bernstein of The Washington Post posted on PostPartisan on September 28 that:
Tea party and other ideological Republicans have undermined that opportunity by nominating some weak candidates — this year’s prime examples are Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Murdock in Indiana, who defeated a sure thing, incumbent Sen. Richard Lugar. That’s on top of Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle from 2010.
But it’s important not to overlook that each primary in which a tea party favorite defeats a mainstream conservative who would have been elected easily also affects recruitment by pushing good conservative candidates from running. So the real tea party story is just as much Florida and Pennsylvania, where Republicans failed to recruit a strong challenger to weak Democratic incumbents, as it is Missouri and Indiana. It’s even found in states such as North Dakota and even Wisconsin, where unpopular positions taken by national Republicans have rubbed off on candidates who must toe the tea party line to be nominated.
If Mourdock was such a weak candidate, then why did he beat Lugar 61%-39%? I notice Deb Fischer of Nebraska isn’t mentioned in the column. Is she weak or is she on her way to pummel Democrat Bob Kerrey into the ground? Mr. Kerrey has made it known that he isn’t passionate at all about this race.
Bernstein also fears that the Tea Party, aka the heart and soul of the Republican Party, will drive away the squishy candidates from running for office. He concludes by saying that “so far, I’m not aware of any evidence that this effect is hurting Republicans farther down the ballot (although it could be; I haven’t seen evidence either way about whether, for example, the GOP had any unusual problems finding quality House candidates in this cycle). But if it keeps up, that’s the likely next step. Of course, weak candidates can win anyway; however, a party that makes it harder to nominate good candidates for office is going to suffer in the long run, and may suffer severely.”
If there is no evidence – then what was the point of this post? Bernstein said the Tea Party has ruined Republican chances to retake the senate when the election isn’t even over. Talk about being presumptuous. Furthermore, what is a good candidate? If Bernstein is referring to Republicans in the vein of Schwarzenegger, Collins, or Snowe – then it’s wishful thinking. Those types of moderates are slowly being pushed out of the party and rightfully so. We’re tired of ‘Washington Post’ Republicans.
Furthermore, I think our current crop of senate candidates, for the most part, are solid. While Mourdock is in a tight race with Blue Dog Democrat Joe Donnelly – I’m confident he’ll win. Todd Akin and Christine O’Donnell may not be or have been the most qualified candidates to run for office, but I”ll take a die-hard, tea party conservative over a squishy establishment Republican any day of the week.
Lastly, it’s odd that Ted Cruz isn’t mentioned in this post. The future senator from Texas received his B.A. from Princeton University and his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School. Does this make him weak or ‘anti-intellectual? So much for that smear, which liberals love to use to slam the Tea Party and shame on Bernstein for omitting Cruz since he is a strong, confident, and qualified Tea Partier who will shake things up in Washington come January 2013.
Since there is no detrimental results down ticket – as indicated by Bernstein – I think the Republican Party should drink more tea.