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Wingnuts Score Big Upsets, but Will Theirs Be a Pyrrhic Victory?

Christine O'Donnell, who believes that Jesus rode a dinosaur, unseated Mike Castle, a very popular moderate Republican in a deep blue state. This morning, tea-partiers turned on Karl Rove for articulating what's obvious to everyone: the GOP base gave that senate seat to the Dems. The tea-partiers are angrily rejecting reality. I got this yesterday from the Tea Party Express:

"As voters head to the polls in Delaware today, the news media and many in the political establishment have sought to cast tonight's election returns as a lose-lose proposition for thetea party movement.

"If Conservative Republican Christine O'Donnell wins, the news media and political elite insist that this will be a loss for the Tea Party movement, as it will surely mean a win for the Democrats in November, and increase their chances for retaining a majority in the U.S. Senate.

"But wait, if Liberal RINO Mike Castle wins, the news media and political elite similarly insist that this will be a loss for the Tea Party movement, as it will mean the establishment has defeated the Tea Party-backed candidate.

"So under the logic of those in the media and the political establishment, the Tea Partymovement loses either way.  Nice try, but we at the Tea Party Express aren't buying this narrative.

Blaming the "liberal media" is like a tic, but the "narrative" they're so haughtily rejecting is based on nothing but the polling (43 percent of GOPers who backed Castle said they'd vote for the Democrat over O'Donnell, and that's on top of the Dems' significant registration advantage in Delaware).

In the House race in NY-23, tea-party darling Doug Hoffman appears to be trailing  fellow conservative Matt Doheny, but may nonetheless run on the Conservative Party ticket, potentially splitting the Repub vote and handing the seat to Democrat Bill Owens. This is the district that Owens won 2 years ago when Hoffman knocked the more centrist Scozzafava out of the race.

In New Hampshire's senate race, the polished "establishment" candidate, Kelly Ayotte, is hanging onto a slim lead over Ovide Lamontagne, a tea-bagger. In polling of a general election match-up, Ayotte holds a healthy lead over Dem Paul Hodes. Update: Ayotte was declared the winner.

In New York, Carl Paladino, who basically ran on a pledge to use eminent domain laws to stop the Park 51 project, beat Rick Lazio for the GOP nomination in the gubernatorial race. This would be more significant if not for the fact that the nominee will be crushed in November by Democrat Andrew Cuomo.

Rand Paul has a good shotat defeating Democrat Jack Conway in Kentucky's senate race, but his chances aren't nearly as good as his defeated opponent, Trey Grayson, would have been if the latter had gotten the nod.

In a sense, the Nevada Senate race is like the whole mid-term cycle in microcosm. You have Harry Reid, dull as an old penny, annoyingly centrist for the base but being demonized as a wild-eyed liberal on the right. He's presided over the most productive Congressional term in a generation, but given the state of the economy would probably be looking for another job come January if his opponent had been Danny Tarkanian, the first "front-runner" for the GOP nomination. Tarkanian is a not-batshit-crazy Republican who's run and done relatively well in state-wide elections. But Sue Lowden got the nod with lots of Tea Party support. She proved to be a complete nut-job with her chickens-for-checkups health-care plan. So the party ditched her and went with Sharron Angle -- someone far crazier. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. I suspect that November won't be as bad for the Democrats as many are predicting, because it's a lot easier to tell a pollster that you'll vote for someone far outside of the mainstream than it is to actually pull the lever.
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