Monday, October 18, 2010

O'Donnell A Gift For Struggling Democrats and Depressed Liberals.

Former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards, once boasted that the only way that he could lose an election in Louisiana was if he were caught in bed with “a live boy or a dead girl.”

Two weeks away from Election Day, the same probably holds true for Delaware’s Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Chris Coons--and he’d probably still have a good chance under the “live boy” scenario.

His opponent, Republican Christine O’Donnell has gained little traction in the polls since her surprise primary victory against Rep. Mike Castle, and the NRSC has all but written off the race, quietly shifting resources to more competitive contests.

Everyone but the most die-hard O’Donnell supporters understands that, barring one of the greatest political comebacks in history or unless every Democrat in the state suddenly forgets that there’s an election, this race is over.

So why is the mainstream media treating Delaware as though it’s the most competitive and important senate race in the nation?

Last Wednesday CNN featured the Delaware candidates' debate on the network and brought out big gun Wolf Blitzer to moderate. CNN has not broadcast any other candidate debate during this election season. The point of the exercise was clearly to get O’Donnell to say something crazy or stupid. It was also quite obvious that moderators, Blitzer, Nancy Karibjanian of Delaware First Media and Coons himself were anxious to turn the conversation towards divisive social issues like abortion and evolution--two issues that Democrats can still successfully use to scare independent voters into supporting their candidates.

Saturday Night Live has done multiple sketches skewering O’Donnell featuring Kristin Wiig as the candidate. Last week, SNL led off with a joke about O'Donnell on the show’s Weekend Update segment. (It was followed by a much funnier and timelier joke about the Presidential Seal falling off of Barack Obama’s podium while he was speaking.)

Late night comedians generally feature at least one O’Donnell joke per monologue.

Hosts on left-leaning cable networks can’t seem to get enough of O’Donnell.

President Obama and Joe Biden visited Delaware last week to stump for Coons, a candidate who is up by double digits in every poll. He didn’t need the help.

The attention that this race has garnered from all sections of the liberal establishment shouldn’t surprise anyone. Decades old non-issue oriented O’Donnell quotes concerning masturbation and witchcraft are great late-night fodder. But the Obama administration and its media allies see something far more beneficial in the candidate’s weakness. As a result, they have sought to nationalize the Delaware Senate election.

Given the Democratic Party’s inability run on its legislative record, this Hail Mary makes perfect sense. It allows Democrats to ignore Tea Party candidates who are going to win on November 2 and focus on the one who almost certainly will not. By making O’Donnell the most visible member of the Tea Party movement, she comes to define it.

The obsessive focus by Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show and America’s late-night jesters is probably not an intentional ploy to help the Democrats, but it does so nonetheless, particularly among young voters, many of whom get a significant portion of their political news from comedy programming.

The truth is that when liberals-–and many conservatives as well-–first laid eyes on Christine O’Donnell, they saw a younger, less heavily armed version of Sarah Palin. No Republican energizes the Left more effectively than Palin and energy is the thing that the Democrats desperately need right now.

So Obama and Biden made their way to Delaware and nationalized a race that they know they are going to win. This visit, followed by a Chris Coons landslide will allow the President to claim that he wasn’t a drag on Democratic candidates during this election cycle. Left-leaning analysts on MSNBC and CNN will undoubtedly point to Chris Coons' victory as proof that the President is still popular enough to lift candidates to victory even as Democrats are dropping like flies across the rest of the nation.

O’Donnell has served the Democrats very well in recent weeks and by nominating her, the Tea Party gave Obama and the Democrats a powerful weapon to wield between now and Election Day--a weapon which the Administration’s media allies like Joe Klien have already begun to use to label all Tea Partiers as political ignoramuses who are just too dumb to understand that America can only function properly if it is run by career politicians and wonkish Ivy Leaguers. O’Donnell herself has helped them make their case. Her first ad began with the words “I’m not a witch” and this denial helped keep the joke alive and kicking for another two weeks. She failed to name a Supreme Court case that she disagreed with. This made comparisons with Palin seem even more legitimate.

But these missteps do not excuse the media’s double standard that has led them to focus heavily on O’Donnell while completely ignoring Democratic Senate candidates who have engaged in behavior far more bizarre and have just as little chance of victory as O’Donnell.

For example, South Carolina Democrats nominated Alvin Greene to run against Tea Party favorite Jim DeMint. Not only is Greene facing obscenity charges, but I have become convinced that he is…how do I put this delicately……slow. One wonders whether Greene could name the three branches of government if put on the spot or if he would even be able to name one Supreme Court justice, let alone a court case that he disagreed with.

Greene got a good deal of attention when he shocked the establishment by winning the South Carolina Democratic Primary. However, media interest has faded since then, probably because liberals have realized how bad the indicted candidate who quite possibly has special needs, makes them look.

But just like O’Donnell, Greene touts his anti-elitist, Washington outsider status as his greatest attribute and many liberals have openly proclaimed that they think Greene is “still better than Jim DeMint.”

In Oklahoma, U.S. Senate candidate Jim Rogers pulls in as much as 30% of the vote in some polls.

The candidate beat out Oklahoma attorney Mark Myles--an army veteran with an impressive resume. Rogers has no website. Had I not managed to track down his home phone number, all we would know about the guy is that he has a beard and likes to wear a red hat.

The curmudgeonly Rogers was not happy about being contacted by a member of the media and accused me of meddling in “…the internal affairs of the state of Oklahoma.” When I managed to calm him down a bit and assured him that I was not a Republican Party operative trying to destroy his candidacy against Tom Coburn, he opened up a bit and went on a rant against the Chinese.

The guy is comedy gold. But neither he nor Greene have been wheeled out by the mainstream media or our comedic gatekeepers recently as being representative of the Democratic Party.

I would pay money to see an Alvin Greene--Jim DeMint debate on Fox News. That would be the kind of thing that I would invite friends over to watch. We would alomst certainly come up with some sort of drinking game that revolved around Greene's constant missteps. Hilarity would ensue.

Truthfully, Greene is probably just as representative of the average South Carolina Democrat as O’Donnell is of the average Delaware Tea Partier. Perhaps if Greene was an attractive woman or if 2010 were expected to be a better year for Democrats, he would be getting more attention. Additionally, if Greene became the subject of ridicule by Jon Stewart and David Letterman, the NAACP and Al Sharpton would undoubtedly show up with a bullhorn to cry “racism.” Better to just stick to making fun of the pretty, white Christian lady.

In the end, O’Donnell will lose badly and will probably find a niche as a conservative commentator on cable news. But conservatives need to be more careful in the future. It’s fine to nominate purists as long as they are not going to reflect poorly on the party as a whole. O’Donnell has dimmed the G.O.P’s prospects of taking back the Semate and her candidacy is being used as a weapon against us. While she is not nearly as “nutty,” “extreme” or “ignorant” as her detractors suggest, she is certainly not anywhere close to being an ideal candidate. We really need to take this kind of thing into account. 2012 is right around the corner and the results will be far more devastating to the Tea Party and the national Republican Party if we tread the same path and nominate a presidential candidate in the mold of O’Donnell, with similar negatives, to go up against President Obama. You know exactly who I’m talking about here, Tea Partiers!

For now the damage is limited. But O’Donnell’s near certain defeat on Election Night will be one thing that Democrats will actually be able to smile about on an otherwise dismal evening. They are sure to milk it for all that it's worth in order to denigrate the Tea Party in the coming months.

- Dan Joseph

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Anonymous said...

Nice try at spin, Dan.

On the matter of liberal media bias, the media have all but called the election in favor of Republicans, certainly in the House and possibly in the Senate, well before November. (Based on polls, of course, but not votes.) Reporters recently asking Pelosi if she has any interest in working as the House minority leader also seems pretty irresponsible to me. Despite polls, it's not a foregone conclusion. At least in this election cycle, the liberal media bias argument is pretty weak.

On the matter of O'Donnell's extremism--in thought as well as in politics--obviously there are people within the Republican party, too, who think O'Donnell is, well, "out there" and holds extreme views.

And, Dan, if you truly seek respect as a commentator on politics and media (I assume that that is your goal), then you might benefit by avoiding certain attempts at humor--which can detract from your message--such as your jab at Coons in Paragraph 2. Are you suggesting that Mr. Coons is gay or that he's a pedophile? Is there a reason why you'd rather see Mr. Coons caught with a "live boy" versus a "dead girl"? (Your words.)

Sadly, as a reader, I'm left with the impression that your humor, for lack of a better term, echoes the homophobic tendency in our society which tries to link homosexuality to pedophilia and then confuse the two. So if you are going to suggest that Mr. Coons is gay, which is what I think you were attempting to do--subtly of course--then do that. Say he's gay. But don't suggest he's gay by way of pedophilia. In the same vein, if you think he's a pedophile, then say he's a pedophile. (Just like there aren't straight pedophiles, there aren't gay pedophiles. There are only pedophiles.)

Humor is a weapon, Dan. More often a shield but sometimes a sword. Of course, as Freud said, it’s also a window to the unconscious. Which leads me to believe that you have some homophobic issues to iron out. After all, you could have said Mr. Coons still has time to dig up a dead girl to have sex with before the election. At least that would have been funny. Morbid, but funny.

Falling Panda said...

Seriously! You're playing the "gay card?" Typical. I've seen this tactic employed more and more frequently since the Left's neo-Keynesian economic policies have turned out to be impotent.(Not a sexual reference.) But Ok, I'll play along.

All I was implying by using the quote was that Coons is a lock to win this election. But based on your statement I assume that had you heard the LA governor's original quote you would have reached conclusion that HE himself was both a gay pedophile and a murderer. After all, he only said he had to be "caught" he didn't say he wasn't killing people and sexing up little boys on a daily basis. This appears to be the way your mind works.

The media can't really help the Dems keep the House. It's too difficult to focus on individual local races. They can aid them in holding the Senate and in the process attach O'Donnell's strange statements to the tea-party and the national GOP. Senate races have a much higher national profile. That's what I see them doing.

As for O'Donnell herself, I think the fact that the focus is on her religious views and past comments and not on her economic views is very telling. Her economic and domestic policy views are probably far more in line with the majority of Americans than those of Coons and Obama. So the Democrats have every incentive to keep her talking about other things.

I find it incredibly amusing that you spent two paragraphs addressing my actual post and then three paragraphs talking about pedophilia and inferring that I have repressed homosexual tendencies. Particularly since you aren't even man enough to put your name on your comment.

And you accuse me of "spin?"

I'm not entirely sure that you understand what that word means since it's exactly what you did in the second half of your post.

Go look it up on the Google machine and get back to me.

Anonymous said...

Sheesh! Where do I begin?

Playing the “gay card” as a tactic? A typical one at that? Your sentiment is part-and-parcel to the problem currently festering within our society, Dan. Tactics. This isn’t a game of “Us versus Them.” I’m not trying to outmaneuver you on some ideological checkerboard , dude. Inquiry, as opposed to tactics, is the instrument of dialoguers and problem solvers. And you can quote me on that.

First, let’s clarify something. I’m neither pro-gay nor anti-gay. Nor was I commenting on “gay marriage,” or the right (or wrong) of homosexual couples to adopt children, the repeal of DADT, or any other “gay rights” topics currently in the media. And I understand very clearly why you opened the piece with the Edwards quote. I merely suggested that your use of the quote for the purpose of implying that Coons “is a lock to win the election,” and the arc to “and he’d probably still have a chance for the ‘live boy’ scenario,” have homophobic underpinnings (just as the original quite did when Edwards said it); are, as such, offensive; and, if you want to be taken seriously as a writer and commentator, you should be more mindful of how you employ—what you call—humor.

Second, I never said you have “repressed homosexual tendencies,” Dan. Based on your word choice I may have inferred you are a homophobe. And the last time I checked my “Google machine,” homophobia and homosexuality were two different things.

Anonymous said...

Third, I’m not surprised you find it amusing that I would focus more of my attention on pedophilia than your actual post. It’s because your actual post doesn’t say much. Your assessment of the O’Donnell situation and your argument for liberal media bias is inchoate at best. I agree on some small level that the Dems would want to keep O’Donnell talking about religion and past comments, but the media has a responsibility to explore those issues. And O’Donnell has shied from the media thinking she could outflank them. So, it’s not a conspiracy. As Wolf Blitzer said when he asked O’Donnell about whether or not she thinks evolution is a myth, “voters want to know.” Personal beliefs inform policy. Period. So she dug her own grave when she decided to avoid the media and their questions and hang out at “community forums.” Had she been wiser she would have called a press conference some months ago, tacked these idiotic questions about comments she made 15 years ago, and then refocused the media on her policies. Thus reframing the conversation. Jon Steward would still keep the jokes coming, but the rest of the media would have probably moved on.

But a liberal conspiracy… I think not.

And thank you for your patriarchy, Dan, but you can keep it. (I'm not man enough...) I'm trying to cut back.

Falling Panda said...

So you're telling me that this ISN'T a clear example of Left-wing media bias.

I'd also like to point out how prescient this article actually was considering that PA Dems are now using O'Donnell to attack Toomey and it's working.

You heard it hear first!