Saturday, November 06, 2010

Return Day, Civility and the Delaware Way

The News Journal reports that Christine O’Donnell didn’t quite catch the spirit of the occasion on Return Day:
After the ceremonial hatchet was buried, O'Donnell remained on the offensive, saying in an interview that the Republican Party and U.S. Rep. Mike Castle, who lost to O'Donnell in a bitter Republican primary, threw the first negative punch. She then made an issue that Castle left the stage before the hatchet was buried.

"It needs to be pointed out that they blew out the Delaware Way long before we did," O'Donnell said. "The Delaware Way was about who the party anoints to run for office, as opposed to who the people choose to run for office. One change that came from this is the people will now decide, and I think that's a great thing."
Begging your pardon, Ms. O’Donnell, but voters here have been deciding primary elections since well before you came along. Recently, for instance, there was a tightly contested Democratic primary for governor, which despite some dire warnings, did not tear the party apart. Instead, I distinctly remember John Carney voicing his support for Jack Markell without even a moment's hesitation. Two years later, Carney is heading to Congress, and Delaware Democrats are stronger than ever. Maybe there’s something to this civility thing after all.

One official at Return Day offered this defense of our political folkways:
Georgetown Mayor Brian Pettyjohn, a Republican, used his prepared remarks during the ceremony as an opportunity to rebut O'Donnell's accusation that politics is about backroom deals and cronyism.

"I've heard a lot this year about the Delaware Way and how bad it is for our state," Pettyjohn said. "The Delaware Way is a realization that we live in a small state. We live in a state where you may have gone to school with your opponent. It may be your neighbor. It may be your friend, or you may be related to your opponent."
One of the bloggers at Delaware Politics put up a post titled “The Blame Game,” which prompted a long series of comments from Jonathon Moseley, who identifies himself as O’Donnell’s 2008 campaign manager. In the course of a long diatribe, Moseley uses variations on the phrase “stab in the back” four times, says Delaware's failure to embrace O'Donnell has hit “a raw nerve far beyond Delaware,” and goes on to ask the rhetorical question, “Why did conservatives nationwide jump in to play in your Delaware sandbox?”

Mr. Moseley, Delaware is a state, not a sandbox. Return Day may seem anachronistic to some who like their politics rude and raw, but the custom is an important part of our tradition of self government that dates back to before the time when Delaware became the first state to ratify the Constitution.

Rudeness and incivility are not emblems of sincerity of belief, but of rudeness and incivility. Self-government requires that we be able to submit to the legitimate authority of government, even if it means being polite to those with whom we disagree.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went and read Delaware Politics, and started choking. But then I had an epiphany. Yes, the GOP asked O'Donnell to be the Senate candidate in 2008. And as I recall, Reagan gave Stinger missiles to a bunch of insurgents in Afghanistan many years ago. Both SEEMED like a good idea at the time... conclusion: Foresight is not a trait of the GOP.

8:27 PM, November 06, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only reason Castle was invited to participate in Returns Day was because he was still Delaware's US Congressman. It wasn't because he was in a primary.

If O'Donnell took a minute to look around, she would have noticed that Michele Rollins wasn't invited to participate at all, nor were any other primary losers.

It's just another example of how out of touch O'Donnell is with Delaware and our traditions.

9:22 AM, November 08, 2010  

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