After 50 Years in Politics, Mike Castle Had to Go

And don't believe what you hear about Christine O'Donnell: she absolutely can win the general election

Voted for budget-busting stimulus spending.

Voted for the bailouts.

Voted for Cap-and-Trade.

Voted to ban ANWR and offshore drilling.

Voted for Cash-for-Clunkers and tax increases while earning an “F” rating from Second Amendment supporters.

Even voted to allow the courts to remove “God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.

No, we’re not talking about the voting record of John Kerry or Nancy Pelosi. [SIGNUP]

That sterling resume belongs to Congressman Mike Castle, who, after getting embarrassed by Christine O’Donnell in Tuesday’s U.S. Senate primary in Delaware, will be out of work in January.

Several things come to mind regarding this wholly predictable set of events:

1) As a politician, Castle is completely anathema to what the Founding Fathers had in mind when formulating the country, which is kind of ironic, since he is a descendant of Ben Franklin;

2) Castle’s demise didn’t happen because of a radical, “ultraconservative” movement, as is being widely, and inaccurately, reported;

3) The Republican Party is as bereft of strategy and common sense as it is policy ideas;

4) The same “political experts” who said, “No Way, No How” can Christine O’Donnell win the primary are now saying the same thing about the general election, already writing her political obituary. By the way, these are the same folks saying there will be a coronation in Pennsylvania for Tom Corbett, Pat Toomey and virtually all GOP congressional candidates.

* * *

Let’s take a hard look at the truth behind these points, as reality seems to be escaping the pundits and press.

Castle’s half-century political career: Politicians should never profit, personally or professionally, by serving in government. The Founding Fathers — some pretty smart people who risked everything by doing the right thing — never envisioned people making a lifelong career out of elected government service.

Citizens were supposed to serve several terms, do the people’s work and return home, making way for the next person.

In doing so, elected officials would hail from all walks of life: farmers, manufacturers, sailors, and small business owners — everyday folks who would make America better because of their varied real life experience.

Insulated, professional politicians were looked at with disdain.

Coronations were for England, not America. But in Castle’s case, that’s exactly what occurred.

Just look at his life after law school in the 1960’s — almost a half-century ago! : Deputy Attorney General, State Representative, State Senator, Lieutenant Governor, Governor, and, up to this point, the longest serving Congressman in Delaware history.

So to recap, we have in Mike Castle yet another Blueblood lawyer who played musical chairs with whatever elected office was available. And yes, while the ultimate responsibility for that rests with the people, good luck trying to oust the consummate insider with all the money and power that such a position brings. It took the better part of 50 years, and a country moving in the wrong direction, to do just that.

Castle masquerading as Republican: Mike Castle chose to run away from many of the major planks of the Republican Party platform. And no, that shouldn’t be construed as a rant from the GOP’s conservative base. It happens to be fact.

When someone voluntarily joins an organization — be it a sports team, club, religion, and yes, a political party — he is expected to abide by that entity’s rules, if not always, then at least the vast majority of time.

Mike Castle didn’t do that, and it finally caught up with him.

The voters’ prevailing mentality was simple: why should we keep electing a Republican who consistently sides with our opponents on the issues that matter most?

And the argument that Castle was the only candidate capable of winning a general election in a “Democratic” state just didn’t hold water.

Republican Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts proved that incorrect.

Castle became Delaware’s Mitt Romney in that he jettisoned his Republican beliefs to appeal to everyone, forsaking his integrity, and, in the process, set the stage for his loss.

In Romney’s case, no one begged him to run for Governor of liberal Massachusetts. He just wanted to be a governor, so he ran, moving significantly to the left, and won. When he ran for President, however, he shifted way back to the right since the national electorate was far more conservative.

But he couldn’t sell it, and got whipped by John McCain. Why? Because, quite simply, he wasn’t viewed as trustworthy.

If Romney, clearly a natural conservative, wanted to be governor so badly, he should have moved to Utah where the people more reflected his beliefs. But when one changes his core convictions so readily just to get elected, credibility plummets.

In the same way, when Castle finally had a viable opponent, he became victimized because he had forgotten what, and who, he was.

And his staunch refusal to debate O’Donnell even once was the icing on the cake for Delaware’s electorate. Their message: Don’t do us any favors, Mike. Time to go!

The GOP is still out to lunch: Tom Ross, head of the Delaware GOP, had stated that Christine O’Donnell couldn’t even be elected dogcatcher.

Brilliant, Tom.

Two quick thoughts: a) That doesn’t say much about your man Castle, since he just got walloped by…your own Republican Party voters, and b) You seem to have forgotten that O’Donnell was YOUR endorsed candidate in 2008 when she took on Joe Biden. And she was running for senate, not dogcatcher.

Not surprisingly, Ross’ ignorance is not isolated. The Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee issued a curt one liner about O’Donnell’s victory (what a ringing endorsement), and stated that it would neither fund nor assist O’Donnell’s effort in November. After receiving flak, they changed their tune, but the damage was done.

O’Donnell should count on them for absolutely nothing.

But given their dismal track record, that’s a good thing.

Best of all we have Castle, epitomizing the juvenile mentality of someone who’s enjoyed a silver spoon all his life, refusing to endorse O’Donnell. And of course, the biggest casualty of Castle’s pettiness is not O’Donnell, but the Party that served him so well for so long.

What a class act.

That’s how a Party completely out of touch with reality operates.

The GOP lost its identity after gaining power, forgetting what it was and from where it came. As a direct result, it got trounced in the last two election cycles, and has only been able to play defense against Obama and the Democrats — and not too well at that.

But now, because of unpopular policies, the Dems are reeling.

Republicans will clearly make gains, not because of their policy ideas, but because they’re “not Democrats.”

That only gets the party so far.

If the GOP ever wants to again be proactive in shaping the hearts and minds of America, it needs to eradicate party hacks and return to its core principles. Only when the Republican Party rediscovers its roots will it be able to lead America once more.

But with people like Mike Castle and Tom Ross, that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

Political experts? Any time the media and political pundits are in universal agreement on anything, the opposite is usually true.
Reagan couldn’t win. Dick Thornburgh running for the John Heinz seat couldn’t lose. Teddy Kennedy’s seat would never go Republican.

The reality is that very few “experts” actually have their head in the game and ear to the ground. Perhaps they would be better off actually doing their job and worrying less about labels and headlines.

Can O’Donnell win? Certainly. Will she? Impossible to answer, since the next seven weeks is equivalent to a political lifetime.

But now that Democrat Mike Castle is finally out of the picture, at least Delaware voters have a clear choice on Election Day.

Chris Freind is an independent columnist and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, Readers of his column, “Freindly Fire,” hail from six continents, thirty countries and all fifty states. His work has been referenced in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, foreign newspapers, and in Dick Morris’ recent bestseller “Catastrophe.”
Freind also serves as a weekly guest commentator on the Philadelphia-area talk radio show, Political Talk (WCHE 1520), and makes numerous other television and radio appearances, most notably on FOX 29. He can be reached at