Christine O’Donnell Is Anything But A Fiscally Responsible Tea Party Candidate


Christine O’Donnell is the pol of the moment, someone absolutely no one thought would win the Republican Senate primary in Delaware a mere 48 hours ago.

Christine O’Donnell is the pol of the moment, someone absolutely no one thought would win the Republican Senate primary in Delaware a mere 48 hours ago.

The man she trumped, Rep. Mike Castle, was so confident he’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, that’ll show ya being an obnoxious blowhard is practically begging for a Karmic kick in the butt.christine o'donnell

Not that politicians will be capable of learning that lesson, and I fear O’Donnell might be one of them.

The truth is she has a spotty personal history. I know it’s true because whenever I repeat any of the facts of her case to the most enthusiastic tea partiers, I’m greeted by a polite silence. Hmmm.

O’Donnell received a degree from NJ’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. O’Donnell was fired, allegedly for conducting her own business on their time, and O’Donnell sued ISI right back for millions, claiming sexual discrimination and harassment.

The suit was dropped two years ago, after O’Donnell ran out of money. And no wonder. She lost her house at a sheriff’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.

Double hmmm.

One of the tenets of the Tea Party is fiscal responsibility. It’s a bit hard to take that O’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 O’Donnell seems to have sipped more than once from that cup.

It’s kind of hard to believe that Tea Partiers, once they know about O’Donnell’s sheer personal fiscal flakiness, can really want this woman as a Senator. I don’t even know that I could back her as a town hall bookkeeper.

But all’s fair, and personal fiscal screw ups sure haven’t stopped various Obama Administration appointees from holding their posts. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, the christine o'donnellguy with the tax problems he blamed on bad software, immediately comes to mind. So does the fact he wasn’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!)

It’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, she’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 “Independent” 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 isn’t any way one can look at the results of what they’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 O’Donnell is that she can’t possibly be worse than her Democrat opponent (Chris Coons), if she should win. She certainly can’t be worse than the seat’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 O’Donnell isn’t a bad thing. There’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.

O’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

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  1. Very nice, fair and balanced

    Very nice, fair and balanced article. You rightly point out that O’Donnell’s baggage isn’t worse than a lot of other folks out there and might not factor in the general election anyway. If voters are making a statement against the status quo in November, personal characteristics may mean little compared to party affiliation and ideology. We shall see!  


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