Raising The Stakes

by Stuart Shapiro

Many of us on the left are rejoicing over Christine O’Donnell’s victory in Tuesday’s Republican Senate primary in Delaware.  This sentiment is largely based on the fact that her win almost certainly decreases the probability of the Republicans taking over the Senate in November.

However the O’Donnell upset also does something else to the race in November.  It raises the stakes.  While O’Donnell’s win decreases the probability of a Republican takeover, it does not reduce it to zero.  There is some chance (probably somewhere around ten percent) that the Republicans win both houses of Congress.  And now if they do, say hello to Senators Miller, Paul, Angle,  and Buck (the takeover could come without a victory in Delaware).  In other words, the Republicans in Congress will be considerably more conservative than they are now and probably even more willing to pursue a government shutdown (why not shut down government if you don’t believe it does any good) and defund federal agencies.

On the other hand, if the Democrats hold on to both houses of Congress, the recriminations will be flying in GOP circles.  Evidence of that already comes from Alan’s earlier post and the sniping between Karl Rove and Sarah Palin.

Sarah Palin has a message for former top Bush aide Karl Rove: “Buck up.”

Palin sent her message to Rove Wednesday on Fox News, after he expressed the doubt that Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell does not “evince the characteristics of rectitude and sincerity and character that the voters are looking for.”

If the Tea Party costs the Republicans control of Congress, expect this to get much much worse.  And it will carry over into the 2012 presidential elections with Palin, Huckabee, and Gingrich on one side and Romney, Pawlenty, and Daniels on the other.

So now, November is an even bigger deal for both sides.

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