Opinion

Commentary: How tea party might hurt the GOP in November

Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell addresses supporters after winning the Republican nomination for Senate in Delaware.
Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell addresses supporters after winning the Republican nomination for Senate in Delaware. Rob Carr / AP

The time has come for South Carolinians to stand up and defend the honor of this state!

E.J. Dionne, one of the pointy-headed pundits at the Washington Post, recently wrote that Christine O'Donnell, who won the GOP senatorial primary in Delaware on Tuesday, "may be the least qualified Senate nominee anywhere in the country."

Not so, Mr. Washington sage! Not as long as Alvin Greene is on the ballot in South Carolina!

That said, one could make a pretty good case that O'Donnell is the second-least qualified senatorial candidate in the nation. Just ask Carl Rove, the political mastermind who helped bring us the George W. Bush administration.

Rove, who now is a pundit himself, was nearly apoplectic about O'Donnell's victory over mainstream Republican Party candidate, Mike Castle, a former two-term governor now serving his ninth term as Delaware's sole U.S. representative. Rove flayed O'Donnell during an appearance Wednesday on Fox's Sean Hannity Show.

Rove brought up how O'Donnell has misled voters about her college education and the fact that she "waited two decades to pay her college bills and get a degree."

O'Donnell attended Fairleigh Dickenson University but left before earning a degree. The university sued her for $4,823 in unpaid tuition in 1994. She paid the money in 2003.

She had claimed in 2003 to be pursuing masters degree classes at Princeton University. In fact, she finally completed her general electives courses this summer and earned her degree in English literature from Fairleigh Dickenson -- this month!

"Did you ask her about the people who were following her home to her headquarters and how she has checked each night in the bushes?" Rove asked Hannity. "I hear there were a lot of nutty things she's been saying that don't add up."

Rove concluded that "this is not a race we're going to win."

However, he soon was back on the reservation. He endorsed O'Donnell on Thursday.

So much for frankness and honesty from Rove. But it seems likely that even if he desists in knocking O'Donnell, Delaware Democrats soon will be pointing out some of the nuttier things she has said over the years.

She is not exactly a political novice. In 2008, in fact, she was the GOP senatorial candidate in the race against then-incumbent Joe Biden. O'Donnell recently claimed that she won two counties against Biden.

Not so. She won no counties. Delaware has only three counties, and she lost them all. Biden won the election with 65 percent of the vote.

Makes you wonder why people say things like that when the facts are so easy to check.

O'Donnell, 41, has condemned U.S. pop culture, including songs and TV sitcoms, for being "saturated with sexual themes that respect no boundaries." She opposes condoms, saying they don't help prevent the spread of AIDS. And, by the way, she blames the sexual revolution of the '60s for the AIDS epidemic.

You've heard the saying, "You can't legislate morality"? Oh, yes you can, O'Donnell believes: "The reality of that statement is that if you don't legislate one morality, then you are legislating someone else's morality. So you can't get around legislating morality."

O'Donnell has called Barack Obama "anti-American" and says "America is now a socialist economy." She thinks welfare and food stamps make people lazy and that those who accept welfare "are abusing our compassion."

Somebody needs to introduce her to Andre Bauer. They're both single, by the way.

O'Donnell labels herself as self-employed and said she does "odd jobs" to make ends meet. She earned less than $6,000 last year. The IRS says she owes more than $11,000 in back taxes.

It appears she really could use the Senate job.

By almost any standards other than those of the Tea Party boosters who made her the GOP nominee, O'Donnell would be considered entirely unsuited to serve in the U.S. Senate. And while her supporters may be rejoicing over her victory, so are Delaware Democrats.

Those who endorse her candidacy, including U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, the Tea Party kingmaker from South Carolina, value ideological purity over competence. And their chosen candidates are likely to prevail in some races.

But as Rove noted when he was against O'Donnell before he was for her, this is a race they were almost assured of winning that they now probably will lose. Alvin Greene soon will depart the political stage, but the Tea Partiers will be around for a good long while.

Ultimately, Rove and fellow Republicans may have reaped the whirlwind.

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