Last night, anti-masturbation activist and Tea Party darling Christine O’Donnell (R-DE) defeated Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) for the Republican nomination to run for U.S. Senate this year. Political analysts have roundly hailed Castle’s defeat as one of the most surprising upsets of the year. Many are crediting the Republican PR firm Russo Marsh and Rogers, with its “Tea Party Express” front group, for coming into the race and providing O’Donnell with political support.
However, few institutional political organizations became involved in the race, and O’Donnell seemed to win with relatively little money. Castle’s defeat is more a product of a long running smear campaign from the Tea Party, Glenn Beck’s 9/12 organization, and other rabidly conservative groups which thrive on paranoia, hate, and ludicrous conspiracy theories.
It’s not just that Castle voted to rein in Wall Street and for American clean energy. Like Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC), who similarly lost his primary, Castle had the audacity to stand up to the Tea Party and proclaim that Obama is a U.S. citizen. Because of his integrity, Castle is one of the few Republicans who have been forced to endure confrontations from the angry and nonsensical right-wing radicals:
– Popular conspiracy theorist and shock jock Alex Jones, who often hosts Republicans like Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), organized his audience to protest Castle for supporting clean energy legislation in late June, 2009. “Call their local bastard offices,” Jones instructed. “Taxes on anything that has flatulence. I’m not joking!”
– Human Events, blogger Michelle Malkin, Mark Levin, and other conservative media outlets began branding Castle as a “traitor” for voting for clean energy reform to place America on a track to energy independence.
– Tea Party activists crowded Castle’s July 2009 town halls, confronting him and threatening that he should oppose health reform.
– As ThinkProgress’ Brad Johnson reported, Castle was confronted by a large group of birthers and global warming deniers at a town hall in late July 2009. Several participants echoed Alex Jones by citing a conspiracy theory to force AIDS-infected vaccines on the American public. One man yelled: “I don’t trust you with anything. You think I’m going to trust you to put a needle full of dead baby juice and monkey kidneys? Cause that’s what this stuff is grown on, dead babies!”
Watch a compilation of Tea Party confrontations with Castle:
As Johnson noted, “Meetup-organized conspiracy theorists attacking [Castle] are being fed a constant stream of misinformation and incitement from Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Prison Planet, Americans for Prosperity, and the rest of the right-wing machine.” While Republicans have invested heavily in creating a right-wing fury in America — from demonizing Muslims to questioning the citizenship of President Obama — it appears they did not expect to be dealt a blowback in the form of radicals like Christine O’Donnell.