A lot of people I know are excited about O’Donnell’s surge since it gives Coons—who’s much more progressive than either—the best shot. My view is that that kind of partisan view is a little short-sighted. Both parties are destined to govern approximately half of the time and what matters most is the strength of progressive ideas in either party. The increasingly rigid conservatism of the GOP is a huge impediment to progressive causes and Castle’s problems reflect that.This doesn't make much sense to me. Castle is 71 years old and has health issues, so he'd only likely serve a term or two in the Senate and would unlikely to accumulate the seniority necessary to really become a force in the institution. But the other issue is that Castle highly resembles the Senate's current two Republican moderates, Sue Collins and Olympia Snowe, who have almost no influence among other Republicans and little vision on where to take their party. It's not like the guy is Nelson Rockefeller--like Collins and Snowe, he's a smart, professional officeholder who is constrained by the Republican base. This is terribly significant.
As for the larger point...I don't really have a clue. If the GOP runs people like O'Donnell and Sharron Angle and doesn't capture Congress, Rush and Hannity won't be able to say it was because their candidates weren't conservative enough. Or will they? In any event, one would hope that they wouldn't be believed as much, but you never know.