Well, it's the primary election day in Delaware and all that can be said has been I suppose. Regardless, I will go ahead an throw my two cents in for the record.
This has probably been one of the most frustrating primaries this campaign season, for all of us. Whether it was O'Donnell surrogates refusing to accept reality regarding Castle's vote to "Impeach Bush" - suspension of disbelief is not a conservative trait - or, Castle surrogates engaging in an orchestrated ad hominem campaign - also not a conservative trait - fueled largely by opposition research originally done by a young journalist who tried to take down the Jindal administration ... everyone has a valid complaint.
Many people who I read/listen to, and have respect for, have let me down. Some let me down in their defense of O'Donnell, some in their promotion of Castle. Even so, nearly all have redeeming qualities that will help wash away the possibility of any long harbored animosity being the end result.
In a perfect world we would have been able to enjoy a primary on the issues. An ideological debate over the hearts and minds of the Delaware Republican party and greater electorate. Unfortunately, any chance of that died in the womb when Castle refused to even debate his opponent. This was the first step in many that led to a particularly noxious and bitter fight. The stage was set.
It helped nothing when O'Donnell surrogates decided to throw gas on the fire by floating childish rumors that have no place in a campaign. This was the announcement, even though not specifically from the O'Donnell campaign per se, that no rules applied from here on out.
This break of common decency, in my opinion, is what caused places like NRO and the Weekly Standard to speak up on this race. They way I see it, they probably would have rather stayed silent of Delaware - I mean, it's Delaware - but the bombshell tactics required push back. Now, this isn't an endorsement of their logic mind you, I disagree with the idea that the most liberal Republican in the House is better than a flawed conservative.
Most troubling of all? The use of Buckley and Reagan as clubs to facilitate these ad hominem attacks, and again, there are few innocents in this. Even here at RedState you can't make a comment on this race without either being called a RiNO, or having your arguments written off as emotional drivel lacking in logic. The immediate desire to attribute mischievous goals, rather than good faith motives, to those we debate has taken a mighty toll. Even I have some fault here.
In the end I think this race helped expose a growing division that will ultimately need to be addressed before 2012. I encourage everyone to put their big boy pants on for that debate, as opposed to what we have done in this pre-game warm up.
For the record, I am still pulling for O'Donnell. For me, it comes down to what I stated in my title:
"Flawed Long-shots vs. The Enemy Within"
She won't take my guns, she won't charge me for breathing, and she believes I am a free man.
Is she crazy? Maybe, but I am firmly in the blow stuff up column, so I can work that into a positive.
Aaron B. Gardner
P.S. Tomorrow, the real fight starts. Conservative in the primary, Republican in the general. Become it.