Can’t say I pay a lot of attention to Delaware politics. It’s a state a little larger than my home of Harris County, Texas (Delaware is 2,491 square miles compared to Harris County’s 1,788) and beside Joe Biden, has not produced much on the national scene. But now I am hearing all about Delaware’s Republican nominee for the Senate seat formerly held by Vice-President Bideon, Christine O’Donnell. Tuesday, she not only upset U.S. Rep. Mike Castle, the odds on favorite to win in November, but has ignited a Hatfield & McCoy feud type within the GOP.
“So who is this person?” I ask myself. “Is she really as unqualified as some claim?”
Going to the internet, I search out her official website to read her bio and background. “Let’s see what the candidate herself says,” I comment as I type “Christine O’Donnell, Delaware” looking for a bio. And there it is: http://teamchristine2010.com/, right there on Google. Hitting the link, I review the page, “no bio or background section, hmm. Oh, here is a link to the campaign website, must be there.” So I click on http://christineodonnell.com/ , eager to find out what all this fuss is about. Instead of the expected bio or “how to fix X, Y or Z” proposal, all that’s on the page is a request to donate to the campaign.
“But wait, I don’t even know who this lady is or what she stand for and I am already getting hit up.”
I go back to the “Team” site, looking for answers to questions I don’t yet know. Fortunately, the secret is soon revealed. O’Donnell’s candidacy, or those of the many others who came out of the proverbially wood work has almost nothing to do with the candidate’s qualifications or proposed solutions to our most vexing issues. Her website is not an informational campaign tool. Rather, it’s a forum for angry, confused and upset people to express their emotions with like-minded folks. It’s a social networking site fomented with the strong sense that our country does not represent their respective views.
And whether I or others agree, these self-ordained disenfranchised are creating a powerful political force. The biggest mistake the Democrats can make is going after the qualifications and even idiocy of these candidates instead of confronting the issues at hand. To do otherwise will be considered a personal attack on the voter, not the candidate; and attacking voters has never been a great strategy. Thus, the challenge, and it’s an enormous one, is to confront voter angst while at the same time providing an alternative to the certifiables who may soon be residing in our Nation’s capital.
See also: The New Republic – Year of the Nut Job