Cruz and Rubio are intelligent, articulate, capable candidates. It’s a stretch to suggest they were comparable to Akin, McDonnell, and Angle.
Right, it is difficult to expect a relative newcomer such as Sharon Angle to go up against “the machine” like Harry Reid.
Akin would have been fine if he didn’t make that one screw up. He is a long time congressman and would have cruised to victory w/o the stupid remarks. I was very vocal here for him to get out of that race after his screw up, so my opinion of him is very low at this point...he was extremely selfish in that decision.
Angle is similar in candidate quality. She is trashed now because she lost her race, but she was up against the sitting Majority leader and it is hard to say anyone could have won. In both primaries, I would have voted for one of the other candidates, but neither was a terrible choice at the time. Angle’s problem was a lack of discipline, which is critical. That was not apparent in the primary run where she outran her opponents and stayed on message. I think that campaign also had a lot of infighting issues between her team and the national team...and I have no inside knowledge to know where the fault lied on that one. I do recall Angle bludgeoning Reid in their big debate, and then she went out the next morning and made a major flub at the next event. That totally killed her momentum against Reid.
McDonnell is a different story. I would have enthusiatically voted for her over Castle because Castle would have been a 10 year cancer in the Senate. As a House member he was left leaning, but that has little effect in a House votes. In the Senate won ‘Maverick’ can cause lot of damage, as we know all too well from McCain, Graham and the NE liberal Republicans in the Bush years. I’d rather be a seat down than have Castle. She was not a great candidate, but at least had conservative views. If Castle had an ounce of conservative beliefs, he would have been better, but he really was terrible.
So many comments around this issue are Monday morning quarterbacking. If Rubio had flubbed the general election and Crist won as an independent (which happened in AK), they’d all be cursing Rubio and ‘the Tea Party’ for losing a seat. He won. Lee won. Johnson won. Toomey won. Rand Paul won. All were base candidates going against the DC establishment. The record was roughly 7-2 for the tea party in that senate cycle. Singling out two who lost when we added 7 conservatives to the Senate is disingenuous. No group ever has 100% success in political campaigns, and we lost two while gaining 7. Angle could have won, and Johnson could have easily lost to Feingold, and the same crowd would be saying running an inexperienced businessman in a blue state was poison. It is all spin to prevent conservative candidates. Bottom line, our success rate was quite high in that year...and continued in 2012 with the addition of Cruz, Deb Fischer and several good House members. 2012 stunk all around, and the DC crew had almost no success with their preferred candidates.