Class as a way of understanding Christine O’Donnell and the tea party
With her tea party-fueled victory in Delaware, Christine O’Donnell has soared to national prominence faster than you can say 'Sarah Palin.' Are critics of both parties being condescending?
Following her tea party-fueled victory in Delaware’s GOP senate primary this past week, Christine O’Donnell has soared to national prominence faster than you can say “Sarah Palin.” In fact, many are likening O’Donnell to the mama grizzly herself.Skip to next paragraph
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Let us count the ways:
• A folksy style that laughs off her party’s hierarchy. (We’re talking about you, Karl Rove).
• A working class background to be proud of. (She may not be able to gut a moose, but she probably changes the oil in her car.)
• A certain kind of femininity attractive to both men and women. (In a Daily Beast column headlined “Watch Your Back, Sarah,” Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson warns Palin “not to be upstaged by the new It Girl on the block.”)
• A stick-to-her-guns attitude. (Addressing the conservative Values Voter Summit in Washington Friday, O’Donnell resuscitated the “death panel” charge against health care reform.)
• A meteoric rise in media attention. (She’ll be on two of the most prominent Sunday TV talk shows.)
• And a tendency to colorful rhetorical flourishes like, “I can see Pennsylvania from Delaware.” (OK, we made that up.)
Liberals and Democrats are dredging up O’Donnell’s checkered past – not hard to do, since establishment Republicans already had done that in promoting US Rep. Mike Castle for the senate post. One who is not doing that is Chris Coons, O’Donnell’s Democratic opponent in the race.
“I don't think [voters are] particularly interested in statements that either of us made 20 or 30 years ago,” he said at a candidates’ forum Thursday. (Probably just as well. As a college student, Coons wrote an article titled “Chris Coons: The Making of a Bearded Marxist.”)
“I thank you for that gentlemanly approach,” O’Donnell replied.