08 / September
08 / September
Close Encounters of the Christine O'Donnell Kind

I once had Delaware Senate candiate Christine O'Donnell in the back seat of my car. Alas, nothing scandalous--I gave her a ride to a presidential straw poll run by the Virginia Republican Party. The purpose of my volunteering to squeeze a group of people in my tiny Mustang was to secure a win for Pat Buchanan (Yes, it's true. I was a teenage Buchananite!) leading in to the following year's primary votes. Mission accomplished.

I wish I could claim credit for the victory, but one of the passengers in my car was a fifth columnist. After I gave her a ride to the event, she took me for a ride by voting for Alan Keyes. She's now running for the U.S. Senate in Delaware.

Christine O'Donnell is attracting a lot of attention. She is probably used to it. If elected to the Senate, the doe-eyed O'Donnell would be the best looking member of Congress--ever. She makes Sarah Palin look like the landlady in Kingpin by comparison. Her detractors think O'Donnell makes Palin seem like Marilyn vos Savant by comparison.

The attention O'Donnell is getting is not all of the welcome kind. OpinionJournal, The Weekly Standard, and National Review--not exactly charter members of the vast left-wing conspiracy--have all published negative pieces about her candidacy.

There are some valid criticisms in the pieces. One oblique put down that makes me queasy is the insinuation that since Miss O'Donnell isn't wealthy she doesn't belong in the Senate. The Standard piece, for instance, notes that O'Donnell only made $5,800 last year and took more than a decade to pay for the diploma that she earned from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Welcome to America 2010, guys. Real people owe money to the IRS. Real people struggle to earn an income to support themselves. Real people take years to pay off debts to private universities. Real people live in townhouses.

Why is it so offensive for a real person to run for the Senate?

Remember, she is vying for the seat occupied for 36 years by a man who boasted of being one of the poorest members of the U.S. Senate. And he won the office as a twenty-nine-year old neophyte, so it is not as though an inexperienced candidate of modest means winning that seat is without precedent.

There are reasons why some Delaware conservatives might choose not to vote for Christine O'Donnell. She can't win the general election. She appeared as a caricature of a conservative by crusading against masturbation on MTV's "Sex in the '90s" series. She has never held elected office before. And, most importantly, she scammed a ride in a car delivering votes for Pat Buchanan only to cast her ballot for Alan Keyes! The fact that she has suffered the same economic difficulties that so many Americans have recently endured shouldn't disqualify her for high office. America isn't an oligarchy.

posted at 12:06 AM

She is babelicious. No doubt.

But she would loose my support having thrown over one of my favorites in Pat Buchanan.

Posted by: asdf on September 9, 2010 04:38 PM

My regrets she has financial troubles. The thing is, her employment history is rather...vague. Looking at her campaign sites, it appears she works fitfully as an advertising consultant and was once (briefly) on the staff of the Claremont Institute (eight years ago). She is 41 years old, her education was complete with a baccalaureate degree, and she apparently has neither husband nor children. Other than the Claremont Institute, there is apparently no one for whom she cares to admit to having worked over the last 18 years. She either has a wretched history with her employers, has been drawing disability benefits, or has some sugar daddy paying her bills. There is something not quite right about her and the Republican electorate might be forgiven for stating that she should get her life sorted out in private. Try it in the glare of public life and the result is Patrick Kennedy.

Posted by: Art Deco on September 9, 2010 11:25 PM

I think it's a bit misleading to characterize opposition to her as based entirely or mostly on her (lack of) wealth. It's deeper than that.

Posted by: John S on September 12, 2010 06:12 PM

Ditto. Miss O'Donnell's issues appear to have dragged on for such a time that one cannot reliably attribute them to unexpected illness or a run of ill fortune in the labor market. She has a college degree, no dependents, and is of an age that one might expect her to have been working for 18 years (with some brief interstitial unemployment). It is quite atypical for someone of that description to have earnings so unsteady, misapplied, or deficient that she has creditors chasing her. People who fit that description also do not owe back taxes to the state or federal treasury because their taxes are withheld from their paycheck; they do not owe them to local treasuries either because they rent if their income does not cover the cost of a house. Real Americans not only live in townhouses, they live in studio apartments as well, a manner of living that limits one's conflict with county tax collectors and secondary mort*gage brokers.

She has real problems and she needs to address those real problems and not be involved in time consuming diversions like electoral politics.

Posted by: Art Deco on September 13, 2010 12:31 AM
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