Newsweek's Ben Adler sort of combines the two arguments:
But it's strange that people seem so ready to assume that the GOP would have unquestionably won all those races [DE, CO & NV] with any old mainstream Republican as the nominee. ... That sort of counterfactual history is always just a guessing game" and "must be contrasted with the overall boost that Tea Party candidates tended to get."No it doesn't. I've heard the same argument, offered much more colorfully, from paleocon acquaintances since the election and even well before. I still just don't get it. There is absolutely no evidence that by nominating Mike Castle in Delaware, the GOP's tea party boost would have been weakened in other states. None. Same is true in Colorado and Nevada. Even Jim DeMint's backers note that he didn't get into those races until after the GOP primaries were decided. So long as the GOP nominated candidates to the left of Lowell Weicker , they could have counted on just the same amount of tea party enthusiasm nationally. Am I wrong? Am I missing something?
So, memo to interlocutors in the coming months:
The claim that the Delaware loss was a small price to pay for the historic gains made by the tea party in other races is a glaring non sequitur. Do not let it pass from the mouths of Palinites without immediate challenge