The man she trumped, Rep. Mike Castle, was so confident heâ€™d walk away with the prize, in interviews the night before the primary, he talked as if his Senatorial swearing-in was a mere formality.
Well, thatâ€™ll show ya being an obnoxious blowhard is practically begging for a Karmic kick in the butt.
Not that politicians will be capable of learning that lesson, and I fear Oâ€™Donnell might be one of them.
The truth is she has a spotty personal history. I know itâ€™s true because whenever I repeat any of the facts of her case to the most enthusiastic tea partiers, Iâ€™m greeted by a polite silence. Hmmm.
Oâ€™Donnell received a degree from NJâ€™s Fairly Ridiculous College (sorry, I mean Fairleigh Dickinson), only 17 years after paying her past due college bills and completing a course requirement. And oh yeah, she did go to graduation, leading one to wonder what she was so busy doing for 17 years, not to fulfill her degree requirements.
She worked for various conservative groups over the years, finally landing at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute in 2003. Oâ€™Donnell was fired, allegedly for conducting her own business on their time, and Oâ€™Donnell sued ISI right back for millions, claiming sexual discrimination and harassment.
The suit was dropped two years ago, after Oâ€™Donnell ran out of money. And no wonder. She lost her house at a sheriffâ€™s sale, ran several campaigns of her own into debt, and got slapped with an IRS lien in 2008, which she said was an error on their part.
One of the tenets of the Tea Party is fiscal responsibility. Itâ€™s a bit hard to take that Oâ€™Donnell lost her house, failed to pay her student loans, and then cried victim to a group as long-lived and solid as ISI.
Conservatives reject the victimhood ideology, and Oâ€™Donnell seems to have sipped more than once from that cup.
Itâ€™s kind of hard to believe that Tea Partiers, once they know about Oâ€™Donnellâ€™s sheer personal fiscal flakiness, can really want this woman as a Senator. I donâ€™t even know that I could back her as a town hall bookkeeper.
But allâ€™s fair, and personal fiscal screw ups sure havenâ€™t stopped various Obama Administration appointees from holding their posts. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, the guy with the tax problems he blamed on bad software, immediately comes to mind. So does the fact he wasnâ€™t nailed with penalties for his tax errors, the way anyone else would be by the IRS if they had made a similar mistake. (But then, Geithner now runs the IRS!)
Itâ€™s completely understandable that in the era of Obama, average people are fed up to here with politicians in general. That explains the earthquake-like rumblings from the great unwashed, and what it portends for the November elections.
Sharron Angle has been routinely castigated by the left for any number of her personal failings, and even after all that torture, sheâ€™s still in a statistical dead heat with Senate Cryptkeeper Harry Reid for the Nevada seat. In Florida, Marco Rubio has once again defied expectations and surged ahead of the now â€œIndependentâ€ Charlie Crist and Democrat Kendrick Meek. Boy wonder Rand Paul is doing well against his Democrat rival Jack Conway in the Kentucky senate contest.
The Tea Partiers have much to be proud about. There isnâ€™t any way one can look at the results of what theyâ€™ve accomplished and not feel a surge of pride that average people, politically unconnected, can still in 2010 have a huge impact on national, state, and local politics.
The best that can be said for Oâ€™Donnell is that she canâ€™t possibly be worse than her Democrat opponent (Chris Coons), if she should win. She certainly canâ€™t be worse than the seatâ€™s previous holder, the gaffe-ridden Joe Biden, who has more than a few personal character issues (and memory problems) of his own.
But maybe as a mild reproof for future races, Tea Partiers should care what their candidates are about and what they stand for. Criticizing Oâ€™Donnell isnâ€™t a bad thing. Thereâ€™s a huge difference between looking at the honest history of her background, and the kind of politics of personal destruction the left engages in. The two are not the same, and the Tea Party members should realize the difference.
Oâ€™Donnell might turn out to be a helluva legislator.
Her history, though, would seem to indicate that a stunning turnaround in her personal judgment would be a miracle, indeed.
Katy Lake is a New Jersey journalist, and a secret registered Republican.
Email Katy Lake at firstname.lastname@example.org