Tuesday, 5 October 2010
If you are one of the British readers on this blog, you might not know who Christine O'Donnell is. Basically, she is the Republican Party Senate candidate for Delaware in the upcoming November elections. By nominating the very conservative O'Donnell in the primaries (backed as the Tea Party candidate), the Republican voters overthrew so-called 'moderate' Republican Mike Castle in the biggest upset of the primary season. Castle was seen as a dead cert to win if he had received the nomination, and because she is so conservative, O'Donnell is perceived to be less likely to win in what is a relatively liberal state, but if she wins, she is going to make more of a difference than a Mike Castle ever would. With the Senate race being so tight, O'Donnell's defeat or victory may make or break the Republican chances of winning a majority in the Senate this November. It has therefore received huge amounts of media coverage, mostly negative from left-wing sources trying to perform a hatchet job.
Since her nomination, O'Donnell has been subject to some outrageous smears. The typical ones are obvious - she is an "extreme" right-wing nutjob (cut spending?? How dare she?), she is stupid, an idiot, etc etc. Her enemies have also focused on a few videos of her in her younger days when she talks about her Christian faith - she mentions in one that she thinks masturbation is a sin, and in another one she talks about how when much younger she had flirted with witchcraft, before she converted to Christianity. As a result she is being labelled a sexually repressed witch! The witch smear seems especially amusing as they are trying to say that she is both a witch and a right-wing Christian! Note to the left: She can't be both!
I don't know a great deal about her personality, but whenever I have seen her she always seems like a very pleasant young woman who is genuinely in the race to make a difference, not to be a careerist, and someone who will stick to her principles - exactly the sort of person we need in Washington. With all the attempts to brand her an extremist nutjob with weird beliefs, her policies are simple - cutting spending and taxes are the big two, but also a focus on cutting out corruption, and a strong stance on illegal immigration.
So now we come to her latest video
Some people have claimed that acknowledging the "witch" accusation gives the accusation credence, and that the ad is too simple, but I think it is brilliant, and I confidently predict a surge in the polls over the next few weeks.
Why? First, because just by showing O'Donnell's face (albeit with some slightly goofy music), it instantly makes it seem unlikely that she is some sort of lunatic frothing at the mouth - she is obviously just a normal woman seeking political office and trying to do a good thing. But also it summarises perfectly what has gone wrong with politics in recent years, and that is that many voters don't feel like politicians are "us". They are careerists, or people with weird beliefs, or corrupt criminals. But they are "other people", not us.
The popularity of the Tea Party movement comes from the fact that it is just normal people calling for what normal people want. Most normal people want to keep most of what they earn, they don't want the country spent into trillions of debt, they don't want to bend over backwards to politically correct groups, they don't believe that children should have pornographic sex ed lessons forced on them, they don't believe in apologising and grovelling to our international enemies, and they don't want illegal immigration rewarded with citizenship - and they want that reflected in their political candidates.
So when O'Donnell says "I'm you", she is perfectly tapping into that concern which could be said to be the central theme of this election. As a result, she doesn't need to say exactly what it is she will do, because she says that she will do what we would do - and we know what we would do!
In conclusion, despite many in the Republican camp getting nervous about this candidate, I am not saying she will definitely win, but I do think that she will make a damn good fight of it! She overcame the odds once, she can do it again!