"There has been a lot of carping about Republicans' prospects for November since Palin-backed candidate Christine O'Donnell defeated longtime Delaware officeholder Mike Castle for the Republican Senate nomination Tuesday. But contrary to conventional wisdom, the 2008 vice presidential nominee has kept the party strong. How? She has kept the Tea Party faithful inside the GOP tent. Had she instead encouraged these disillusioned voters to mount third-party challenges across the 2010 general-election ballot, dozens of Democratic incumbents, not to mention challengers, would be smiling like Woodrow Wilson in 1912 [when Democrat Wilson won because Teddy Roosevelt formed his own party and ran as an independent rather than support incumbent Republican President Taft.]"Goldman ribs Republican guru Karl Rove for missing the big picture:
"Establishment Republicans, including former Bush aide Karl Rove, have said this year that the strength of the Tea Party movement has sometimes forced the nomination of contenders with weak prospects for winning a general election. This is surely right; O'Donnell's upset on Tuesday is merely the latest example, but there were similar complaints about the Nevada Senate contest. But O'Donnell's victory follows a long GOP pattern in the Northeast of established, old-school moderates being denied the nomination in favor of fresh, sharper-edged conservatives, as happened with New Jersey Sen. Clifford Case in the 1978 Republican primary, Sen. Jacob Javits in New York (1980) and, most recently, Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania. The bigger picture here is not about a dearth of moderate Republicans in the Northeast. And yes, on Nov. 2, events in Delaware might leave some Republicans wondering what might have been. But this would seem a small price to pay to avoid a massive party split thanks to the protest vote still sweeping across the country."Goldman's entire piece is well worth reading.