A New “Mama-Grizzly” In Town? Christine O’Donnell’s Unlikely Win


Republicans in Delaware yesterday chose Christine O’Donnell to represent them in the race for Joe Biden’s Senate seat in November. It was… a choice.

Amanda Marcotte, writing on Double XX, calls O’Donnell the “Wingnuts’ Wingnut” and it’s not hard to see why. O’Donnell has now become one of the more successful Tea Party candidates, pulling the Republican party so far over-the-edge her primary victory can only be thought of a Democratic win. Not only is O’Donnell as anti-choice as they come, she’s even been called out by the most conservative of publications over her financial deceit and dishonesty. Her obsession with sexuality and need to control it is not uncommon in the far right, of course, but O’Donnell seems to almost revel in her desire to spread her view that human sexuality, as practiced by the vast majority of us, is evil.

As the founder of the “Savior’s Alliance for Lifting the Truth” , she encourages “sexual purity.” What does that mean? She compares masturbation to adultery since they both involve the Biblical evil “lust in your heart.” Likewise any sex outside of marriage is a sure path to hell. What this all means for public policy, according to O’Donnell, is an even more restrictive stance on stem cell research than President Bush’s and an extremist view on sexuality education (abstinence isn’t even something to be spoken of). Abortion access? She opposes access to abortion even in cases of rape or incest.

Marcotte writes,

For many of us in the “liberal media,” it’s surprising that even the Republican base would vote for someone who took special delight in running around on television decrying any sexual pleasure outside of strictly regulated, contraception-free, marital intercourse.

But Salon looks at this win as favorable for Democrats.

Now, national Republicans will have to decide whether to support O’Donnell financially. On paper, she is doomed. PPP, the polling outfit that picked up on O’Donnell’s rise on Sunday, has measured her favorable rating among general election voters at 29-50 percent. Just 31 percent of voters believe she’s qualified to hold office. She was also running 26 points worse than Castle in trial heats against Chris Coons, the Democratic nominee. It is rare, if not unheard of, for such a gaping general election viability disparity to exist between two candidates in a competitive primary.

Tea Partiers, of course, will argue that O’Donnell will catch us all by surprise in November just as she did in this primary campaign. But her image with the general public seems to mirror that of the Tea Party: rabid enthusiasm among the GOP base, hostility from most others. Running in a GOP primary that was closed to independent and Democrats presented her with a voting universe just narrow enough for her to post a win. The November electorate will be much broader, and even though the casual November voters of 2010 will be strongly inclined to vote against Democrats, it’s hard to imagine someone with her image problems — which will probably only get worse  with the media shining even more light on her — garnering a majority.

O’Donnell has the support of the extreme anti-choice Susan B. Anthony’s List as well as Concerned Women for America. She’s been dubbed part of the “new women’s movement.” Yet, if this is who Sarah Palin is choosing as part of her “mama-grizzly” club, it’s not hard to imagine them going back into hibernation for a long time to come.

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