O’Donnell vs. O’Donnell
Once upon a time, there was a fantastic Tea Party candidate for the U.S. Senate from Delaware who promised to reduce the size and scope of government and adhere to constitutional limits on its power and, as a bonus, did not tell Bill Maher that when she was in high school she had had friends who experimented with “witchcraft,” express mixed feelings about masturbation 14 years ago on camera, default on her mortgage in the middle of the housing crisis, misstate the number of counties she won in her prior run for Senate, and take more than four years to graduate from college.
Unfortunately that candidate doesn’t exist. A candidate who was the real Christine O’Donnell’s primary opponent, however, does exist: he voted for the Democrats’ cap-and-trade legislation, bank bailout, and stimulus bill, and has refused to support repeal of ObamaCare; his name is Mike Castle. O’Donnell’s general election opponent Chris Coons supports all of the above and more, and is also Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s self-described “pet.”
Similarly there’s a candidate for governor of New York named Carl Paladino who has promised to cut state spending by 10% and taxes by 20%, reduce economically crippling state pension obligations, and cut 60,000 positions held by workers deemed incapable of executing their responsibilities. You may consider him unfit for office, because he had an extramarital affair and also forwarded some e-mails he had received with offensive jokes in them—until you consider his general election opponent Andrew Cuomo, who as President Bill Clinton’s Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary played a key role in the subprime mortgage crisis that led to the financial collapse of 2008.
Then there’s Sharron Angle, who’s running for the Senate in Nevada: she wants to abolish the bankrupt Social Security program, the meddlesome Federal Reserve, the intrusive Internal Revenue Service, the worthless National Department of Education, unconstitutional gun control restrictions, pointless offshore drilling bans, useless global warming regulations, and the U.S.’s embarrassing membership in the United Nations. But—detractors have accused her of having ties with celebrity Scientologists Kelly Preston and Jenna Elfman! Angle ran against primary opponent Bob Bennett, one of two cosponsors of the failed 2008 Healthy Americans Act—precursor to ObamaCare—which likewise would have required all Americans to purchase government-approved health care plans. Angle’s general election opponent Harry Reid was instrumental in getting ObamaCare passed in the Senate.
Let’s not forget Rand Paul, Senate candidate from Kentucky and self-described constitutional conservative, who opposed the free-speech-limiting McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act, the wasteful bank and car company bailouts, and ObamaCare. His great flaw is that he was politically incorrect enough to state that, had he been in Congress 50 years ago, he would have supported only 9 of the 10 Civil Rights Act titles, and would have contested the one prohibiting discrimination in private hiring and lending. Oh—and he was involved in a college prank 27 years ago! He’s running against general election opponent Jack Conway, who supported ObamaCare, favors the union “card check” bill, and is open to cap-and-trade legislation.
How about Joe Miller, who’s running for Senate in Alaska? He favors reclaiming unspent Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds to help cut the deficit, repealing ObamaCare, and enacting a balanced budget amendment. His Achilles’ heel is that he’s never held elective office before. On the other hand, his primary opponent Lisa Murkowski has been in office for nearly a decade, and she opposes repealing ObamaCare and bucked the majority of Republicans to vote for the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).
And on and on it goes for the Tea Party candidates: South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley had unproven extramarital affairs, Florida House candidate Daniel Webster supports covenant marriage, Colorado Senate candidate Ken Buck was rude to birthers at a Tea Party rally.
Regardless of whether these Tea Party candidates are electable—and in most cases they are—fair-minded independents who seek outsiders to rein in government but are concerned about some of these mavericks’ personal quirks should focus on the big picture.
As The Intellectual Activist’s Robert Tracinski noted, “If you think a Christine O’Donnell has a lot of personal ‘baggage’ and that her personality makes her unelectable, fine—then send us someone better who stands for the same principles. But our principles are the one thing we’re not going to bend on.”
Here’s a request for the mainstream media: as soon as we’re allowed to focus on Tea Party candidates’ substantive merits and faults relative to their opponents’, rather than whether they played Dungeons & Dragons 30 years ago, please let us know.