Christine O’Donnell is a National Embarrassment
October 14, 2010
(ChattahBox Op/Ed) – Former Congressman and political powerbroker Tip O’Neill, owns one of the most famous quotes in all of politics, that being that “all politics is local.” O’Neill was right, of course, but that doesn’t mean that politics can’t be national as well.
I often think of the disasters that are former Congressmen Randall Cunningham of California, and of course former Congressman and Speaker of the House Tom DeLay. Although they serve a local constituency, they made national news.
Now here comes Christine O’Donnell, Tea Party darling and extreme Republican who improbably won a primary in the state of Delaware. And although her unlikely run for the United States Senate has been hailed by some as a great achievement, many, including prominent Republican’s like Karl Rove made a point of running as fast as they could in the other direction. It makes sense why, but like any political Party, you have to take what the process gives you, like it or not. I’m pretty sure the Republican party isn’t too proud of this one, just guessing.
I have been studying Christine O’Donnell but not just for the obvious reasons. Her gaffes have become legendary. Her campaign, mismanaged and filled with problems that underscore why she is more than 20 points behind in her race with Democratic Senate candidate Chris Coons, make it equally improbable that this much national attention would be bestowed upon her. But here we are, just under three weeks out of the election and an underdog, Tea Party, Republican with no chance to win is national news on almost a daily basis, and that includes today as well.
Last night these two candidates had their debate. Wolfe Blitzer of CNN fame was one of the moderators, which brings a certain amount of importance to this debate. I watched and I am so glad I did.
Let me get one thing off my mind up front. Christine O’Donnell is a national embarrassment and last night I pray is the final nail in her political coffin.
There is a reason why local races get national attention; in the case of Coons vs. O’Donnell it’s pretty simple. Another political imbecile, Sarah Palin, endorsed O’Donnell and when O’Donnell won because of that endorsement she instantly became news. That could have been a good thing for both O’Donnell and the Tea Party. Problem is, is that O’Donnell is not the brightest bulb on the tree and when the national spotlight was put on her what we saw was none too pretty, figuratively speaking, of course.
The old adage of be careful for what you wish for, for you may just get it could not be any truer here, especially in the political arena. And this being O’Donnell’s third run for the Senate, she should have at this point been well aware of what to expect. If she was, that makes this years race that much more demeaning for her.
You know, it’s not just that she has trouble living with a past where she “dabbled” in witchcraft. Or for that matter that her IRS problems and her educational credentials have been under suspicion. It’s not just that as a member of an ultra conservative group in her 20’s told an MTV crowd that masturbation was a sin because you can’t masturbate without having lust in your heart. In politics, as I learned when I ran for Congress, you cannot run from your past, any of your past and whether you think that’s fair or not, matters not. It’s a political reality. O’Donnell knows that, too.
So during last nights debate, she preformed like she didn’t care about the outcome, and I guess when you’re 20 points behind in the polls that may not be a bad strategy, but even the moderators had to stop her insanity and give Chris Coons a chance to correct just about anything she had to say. It sucked, to be honest. Well, that’s not completely fair, Coons was fine; O’Donnell sucked.
It wasn’t that she shied away from issues. It wasn’t that she didn’t practice. It wasn’t that she didn’t have positions. But it was, as this too often happens, filled with lies and mistruths that were easily dismissed by Chris Coons. She should be embarrassed this morning.
And then she removed all shadow of doubt about her stupidity. When asked what Supreme Court decisions she disagreed with, and I’m paraphrasing here, she asked for an example, where Wolfe Blitzer actually had to say, I can’t give you an example, that’s the point of the question. Blitzer than offered an example, and she couldn’t follow his logic, but promised to put it up on her website the next day!
So to be sure you are following this. Christine O’Donnell couldn’t find the answer to a question and when offered a softball pitched response couldn’t recognize it and then offered to answer the question after the fact. Wow, what a concept for a debate. Maybe they should have just given her the questions in advance and let her answer all of the questions on her website. I’m just saying.
Listen, I get that people want to serve and I applaud that completely. I was one of them. I was defeated. I took my lumps and I went home. But, I was prepared. I understood and spent amazing amounts of time studying the issues and reading. I was relentless in the pursuit of truth and even though I didn’t come close to winning in a conservative leaning congressional district, I did better against my opponent than any one had to that point. It’s not a win, but I certainly didn’t embarrassment myself.
I think the Tea Party was an attempt at change that failed before it started. I believe that when you put up as your poster child a less than educated, not too bright, obviously not vetted candidate, you deserve the result. If Christine O’Donnell is the answer to the problems in this country than we are in very serious trouble indeed.
I didn’t make O’Donnell the focus of a national discussion, she did that all on her own and she did it not by sparking important discussion and showing the people of Delaware she had substantive ideas to move the country forward. No, she became the focus because of her mistakes, missteps and misinformation.
Let me close with this. Christine O’Donnell recently did a campaign ad where she tried to dispel the perception of who she is, telling us she is us. Yeah, I don’t think so, sorry. Unless, of course, you are an uninformed, ultra conservative radical with an agenda that supports ongoing tax cuts for the wealthiest people in this country, eliminating needed services, and eliminating common sense, all the while believing that the wealthy are anxious to spend that cash to create living wage jobs and build new infrastructure, than maybe she is just like us.
OK, how many of you is that? Show of hands please. I thought so!
Tony Trupiano is a former national syndicated progressive radio talk show host, author, and a former candidate for Congress. He is also a nationally recognized media trainer. He can be reached at email@example.com.