A battle within the right-of-center press is raging over the Republican candidate for Senate in Delaware.
First to pick up on it was the American Spectator, which, in a September 10 post by Jeffrey Lord headlined "The Ruling Class Hits Christine O'Donnell," took aim at the Wall Street Journal editorial page and National Review for supporting Mike Castle over Ms. O'Donnell in the Delaware Republican Senate primary. A Journal editorial had said, "If she does defeat Mr. Castle, however, she has little chance to win in November. A two-time loser statewide, Ms. O'Donnell has a history of financial troubles..." The editorial went on to huff, "tea partiers who want to restore proper Constitutional limits, rather than merely pad the ratings of talk radio, might recall William F. Buckley Jr.'s counsel that his policy was to vote for the most conservative candidate who could win."
The Spectator could have added the Weekly Standard, whose William Kristol wrote, "Christine O'Donnell will almost certainly lose a seat that could have been won."
A post-primary Journal editorial says, "The challenge now for Sarah Palin, South Carolina GOP Senator Jim DeMint and the tea partiers who endorsed Ms. O'Donnell is to show they can deliver seats in the Senate rather than merely conduct an intra-party cleansing. If they really want to change Washington with a revived GOP, they will have to deliver Senate victories in November in most of the states where their candidates prevailed—Kentucky, Colorado, Nevada, Alaska and Delaware. Otherwise their insurrection will merely have helped Democrats retain their majority."
Journal editorial page columnist Karl Rove went on television to denounce Ms. O'Donnell for "serious character problems" and to pronounce, "this is not a race we're going to be able to win."
The Journal's dismissive reference to talk radio seems to have riled up some talk radio hosts. Rush Limbaugh, as quoted by his email newsletter, said, "They're saying that Christine O'Donnell can't win. I'm in charge of saying who can and can't win, and I have not said she can't win. It's not going to be true 'til I say it -- and, of course, I won't say it." He suggested that every single one of his audience members go to her campaign Web site and make a contribution.
Glenn Beck: "Tea Party, I have nothing to do with you other than I'm one of your voices. No greater or any less than your voice....it can be done. You can win. Delaware, don't you listen to them. She can win. I don't know anything about her. I mean, assuming that she's not nuts, but you can win. Because there are Democrats that want to join you, that may not agree on every little issue, but if you stand for principles, if you stand for the Constitution, if you stand for enough is enough, you can win."
Sean Hannity: "I met her. I've interviewed her a lot over the years. I found her quite impressive. More importantly, she is a solid conservative."
Mr. Beck and Mr. Limbaugh, and, implicitly, Mr. Hannity, are just saying that she can win, not that she will win, while Mr. Kristol, Mr. Rove, and the first Wall Street Journal editorial predicted that she will not win. If, come November, there is a Senator-Elect O'Donnell in Delaware, the Journal and the Standard and Mr. Rove will have gotten it as wrong as the Massachusetts Tantamounts. If not, the Journal, National Review, and Mr. Kristol will have an I-told-you-so.