The finger pointing has already begun in the Republican Party due to their failure to win the US Senate last night. Republicans had a golden opportunity to take control of Congress, but they failed, and the blame for this failure should fall squarely on the shoulders of one person. Sarah Palin’s meddling in the races in Nevada, Delaware, West Virginia, and Alaska likely cost the GOP the United States Senate.
Palin’s grand plan was to use 2010 to flex her political muscle, not to help the GOP take back Congress but to position herself as her party’s front runner for 2012. Palin wanted to show that she is the only person who can unite the Tea Party and GOP, but while pursuing her selfish goals, she all but destroyed her party’s chances of retaking the Senate.
She began her quest to undermine her own party, with a Tea Party Express rally where she campaigned against Harry Reid in his hometown of Searchlight, NV. In August, Palin endorsed Sharron Angle, but the Republican took Palin’s strategy of running from the media a bit too literally and was doomed from the start. Palin’s high profile meddling in the race did help Angle or the GOP in their attempt to unseat Reid.
Here is Palin campaigning against Reid in Searchlight:
Palin played a more direct role in Delaware. Christine O’Donnell herself credited Sarah Palin with her primary victory over Rep. Mike Castle. O’Donnell said, “You betcha! There’s another woman I’ve gotta thank, you betcha! Thank you governor Palin for your endorsement. Because she got behind us war-weary folks, and gave us a boost of encouragement when we needed it. And she was a vote against the politics of personal destruction.” Without Palin sticking her nose in the primary, Mike Castle wins, and according to polling would have gone on to an easy double digit victory over Chris Coons. Instead, Republicans were treated to the race being called for Coons within minutes of the state’s polls closing.
The most personal case of Palin interference came in Alaska, where she looked to settle an old feud with Sen. Lisa Murkowski with a last second blitzkrieg of Tea Party cash and support for her primary opponent Joe Miller. Palin support powered Miller to victory in the primary, but Murkowski roared back with what looks to have been a successful Independent write in campaign to defeat Palin’s proxy Joe Miller. It goes without saying that Lisa Murkowski would still be a Republican today, if Sarah Palin hadn’t tried her power play.
Those three Senate seats would have moved the Republican Party into no worse than a tie in the US Senate. Carly Fiorina used Palin’s endorsement to win her primary, and distancing herself from Palin in the general election felt compelled to make Palin an issue again by going on CNN and letting the world know that she thought Palin was qualified to be president. This did not help her Senate campaign.
Then there is the case of John Raese in West Virginia. Palin campaign for Raese, along with Ted Nugent, just days before the election, and Raese went on to get crushed by Joe Manchin. These were critical Senate races that the GOP in some cases should have won, and in others might have won, if not for Sarah Palin.
Of course, Palin dodged any responsibility for the mess she created,”There’s that premise, that argument that’s made, well, geez a Tea Party, real conservative candidate, kind of blew it for Republican chances in either of those states [Nevada or Delaware]. But I argue against that. I would argue the premise that it was going to be safer with any other GOP primary winner other than Sharron Angle in there that the seat would have gone to a Republican, specifically with that argument we can apply that to Christine O’Donnell.”
What we learned on Election Night 2010 is that GOP’s Palin problem continues to haunt them. She single handedly ensured that they would not win the Senate, and even worse for them, she probably feels emboldened by the overall Republican victory last night, and is ready to go full steam ahead towards 2012. Sarah Palin cost her party the Senate in 2010, and she is going to continue to lead them down the path to an embarrassing defeat to Obama in 2012. Sarah Palin isn’t a power player or a king maker. She is a reality television star with delusions of the presidency, and her delusions may very well spell the end for Grand Old Party.