In the week since Christine O'Donnell scored her upset victory over Mike Castle in the GOP primary contest for the Delaware Senate seat, we've absorbed a lot of information about O'Donnell -- her weird views, her past appearances on "Politically Incorrect" -- yes, the whole "witchcraft" thing. But the most interesting part to watch has been the way in which her nomination caused the schism between the GOP establishment and the outsider force of the "Tea Party" to finally, and briefly break the surface.
We've seen the establishment approach some of the nominees -- Sharron Angle, Rand Paul, and Joe Miller come to mind -- with a certain degree of caution and unease. But those candidates have ended up being embraced without a whole lot of public rancor. For a period of time, however, O'Donnell looked like she might have been the bridge too far.
It was Karl Rove who put the issue in stark relief, simply by saying some very honest and non-controversial things about O'Donnell -- she was a tainted, "nutty" candidate that hadn't much hope in beating the Democratic nominee, Chris Coons, in November. None of that is particularly outrageous on its face, but Rove, unwittingly perhaps, broke a rule that the GOP establishment had thus far managed to avoid breaking -- never demean the base. As a result, pain and opprobrium was heaped upon him, most notably by Sarah Palin, who had endorsed O'Donnell. The backlash was intense and Rove, in the end, was made to capitulate.
We've chronicled this time of our lives in video form for you.
[Video Produced by Ben Craw.]
And O'Donnell? Well, she still looks to be going down in November but she's weathered her first week of scrutiny, and that's no small thing. As for the "civil war" between the GOP establishment and the enthusiastic insurgency that gave O'Donnell her shot, well, that's been arrested by Rove's surrender. It may not yet be Appomattox -- we'll see what happens when everyone is together and governing -- but it's a detente, at the very least.
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