Christine O’Donnell, Karl Rove, and the Future of the GOP

When Christine O’Donnell won the Republican Senate primary in Delaware, she kicked-off an open debate about the future of the Republican party.  Much of this debate played out over the airwaves of cable news, featuring commentators like Karl Rove.  Rove, the “architect” of President George W. Bush’s two successful Presidential campaigns, criticized Ms.  O’Donnell for her various personal issues and honesty.  He may have gotten his information from a Weekly Standard story by John McCormack.

On September 12, Mr. McCormack published this on the Weekly Standard website:

Court documents obtained Saturday by THE WEEKLY STANDARD reveal surprising new details about the gender discrimination and wrongful termination lawsuit filed by Christine O’Donnell in 2005 against her former employer, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, a conservative non-profit based in Delaware.* O’Donnell, who is now challenging moderate congressman Mike Castle in the September 14 Delaware GOP Senate primary, sought $6.95 million in damages. In a court complaint, she extensively detailed the “mental anguish” she suffered after allegedly being demoted and fired because of her gender. And, although she didn’t have a bachelor’s degree until this year, O’Donnell implied she was taking master’s degree classes at Princeton University in 2003.

O’Donnell alleged in a July 1, 2005 complaint filed in district court that she had been demoted because ISI’s conservative philosophy dictated that women must be subordinate to men. She claimed she was fired when she contacted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding her demotion. ISI told the Delaware News Journal that she had been “terminated for operating a for-profit business.”

O’Donnell’s finances, honesty, and stability have been called into question in light of her false and strange claims. The court complaint raises further questions on all fronts. O’Donnell, who made an annual salary of $65,000 at ISI as director of communications and public affairs, sought up to $6,952,477 million in damages, claiming, among other allegations, that ISI had defamed her and had violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. O’Donnell sought:

–Up to $3,952,447 in “Direct Damages, including back pay” and “lifetime lost income and liftetime damage to reputation.”

–Up to $500,000 “for emotional distress, humiliation, emotional pain, embarrassment, depression.”

–Up to $3.5 million in punitive damages for “willful, legally-malicious and outrageous conduct” by ISI.

O’Donnell claimed that ISI had caused her to suffer “mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, mental and physical pain and anguish”–and that, according to an amended complaint, she had to “seek treatment for her distress.”

As it turns out, O’Donnell falsely claimed that she took graduate courses at Princeton.  This raises legitimate questions about her honesty and integrity.

Additionally, some have mocked her for being a crusader for extremist conservative social values, dabbling in witchcraft, and canceling her Sunday appearances on “Face the Nation” and “Fox News Sunday.”

All of these allegation are a bit troubling to say the least.  Some are legitimate, and some are not.  Some have criticized the liberal media for attacking her.  I would point to O’Donnell herself, who, rather than be open and honest with the media, decided to run and hide.  Granted, she did some cakey interviews with the morning shows, but that doesn’t count.  If you can’t handle a quarter-hour interview with Bob Schieffer, you don’t deserve to be a Senator.  It’s as simple as that.

She won the primary with 53% of the votes,  while her opponent, Mike Castle, a moderate Congressman, trailed with the remaining 47%.  It is safe to say that if Mr. Castle had won, the GOP would have had a lock on that seat.  This is a Republican year, but a state like Delaware isn’t going to elect a Sarah Palin-wannabe in the general election.  Delaware Republicans  essentially handed the victory to the Dems.  Nice going numskulls.

The debate over the GOP’s future continues.  Some wish for ideological purity, spurning the Mike Castles and Olympia Snows of the party.  Just like the Democrats needed moderates to win elections in 2006 and 2008 in swing states, so too do the Republicans need moderate candidates for this election year.  Rush Limbaugh may not like it, but that’s too bad.  I’d rather set-up a big tent than tear down a small one.  By pushing for the most conservative candidates no matter what, the GOP is shooting itself in the foot.  Karl Rove and Charles Krauthammer are right when they criticize Ms. O’Donnell.  I might want her to win, but the chance of that happening  is 10-30% at best.

Earlier today, I heard some young college students talking politics.  Predictably, the conversation turned to the Republicans, and how “nutty” they are, especially since the infusion of tea party candidates.  While I for one don’t consider the tea party nutty (since I’ve actually bothered to research the truth, not listen to an NBC news report and believe it), many other people do.  Christine O’Donnell’s candidacy only compounds that stereotype.  Quite frankly, I’m tired of defending whackjobs, although I doubt Ms. O’Donnell would appreciate that characterization.

By the way, I don’t appreciate the media’s mocking of conservative values.  They are just seeking to justify their way of life by tearing other people down.  When you spend most of your time between Manhattan and the Hamptons, your mind gets warped.

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