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Mental Anguish in Delaware

September 15, 2010

The dice in the Delaware GOP Senate primary have been cast by now, but maybe this is just the right time for the French Cowboy to chime in.

I like it when voters just vote for whom they want to vote. Strategic voting, “collusive” voting, “we know that they know and they know that we know that they know…” voting and such take out a lot of the romance from politics. But this is not a world in which you can survive as a romantic and primaries always have more of a strategic factor than general elections. So let’s start (belated) musing on how best to vote in Delaware.

Among conservatives, the spectrum of opinions on the Castle vs O’Donnell match is wide as can be. Charles Krauthammer called Palin and DeMint’s endorsement of O’Donnell “destructive“, “irresponsible” and “capricious”. Whew, I wouldn’t want to be chided like that by Krauthammer.

Rush Limbaugh, on the other hand, said that this race is about Castle being no conservative and not about O’Donnell’s alleged inelectability. According to Limbaugh, there’s no question — unless you’re a GOP-insider who wants to advance his personal goals — you have to endorse O’Donnell. And Rush is always right. So what now?

The reason this primary has gotten so much attention is, of course, that it’s (not exactly tradtionally conservative) Delaware we’re talking about and that it might be the decisive seat in the Senate to kill ObamaCare. But both candidates, Castle and O’Donnell are opponents of ObamaCare and Castle would’ve fought it had he gotten elected, just as O’Donnell says she will.

And here is the problem: the argument goes that O’Donnell has a much lower chance — some say none — of winning the Senate election against Democrat Coons than Castle, who would have been a shoo-in. So the decision between Castle and O’Donnell came down to a choice between a somewhat conservative candidate for sure and a reliably conservative candidate who might not win the seat in the first place.

But here the French Cowboy’s biggest issue with the race comes in. Unlike Limbaugh (and I don’t like saying that) I think that not any alternative to Castle is better than Castle. There are questions about O’Donnell that have not been satisfactorily clarified and thus make her look like an unreliable and deceptive person. If she is unreliable and deceptive then what worth is her promised conservatism?

The questions I’m referring to are about her having sued a former employer (a conservative organisation) for alleged gender discrimination:

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.”

When asked about the contradictory claims about the master’s degree classes in Princeton she never really took, O’Donnell couldn’t give an explanation. Of course, candidates (let alone office holders) got away with bigger issues. But if this election year is all about replacing the senators-for-life with fresh, true conservatives, then character should count also for the newcomers.

All this is not to say that O’Donnell must be a rotten apple or that we would necessarily have been better off with Castle. The French Cowboy simply isn’t content with the murky picture of Mme O’Donnell’s past. It just doesn’t speak well of her and makes you wonder what kind of senator she will or would be. And that her former campaign manager is calling O’Donnell “a complete fraud” isn’t exactly reassuring.

Another reason why it’s a bad thing that this story hasn’t been clarified by now is that it’ll surely become a vulnerable point for O’Donnell in the campaign against Coons, lowering her chances of winning the seat even more.

But now Mme O’Donnell has won the election, which is another unambiguous signal that conservatives aren’t taking any prisoners in this election year. All that Democrats can hope is that, after the rise of Obama Democrats, conservatives have become so allergic to the Left that they set up a couple of “unelectable” candidates rather than sure winners with a more compromising attitude.

Although, whether it’s better to have a minority of truly conservative people in Congress or a majority that also contains a few wishy-washy Republicans is debatable.


Let me add that I don’t think that O’Donnell can’t win against Coons. I believe that, even in Delaware, enough voters prefer a conservative over a liberal this year to get O’Donnell into the Senate. But I do wonder whether we’ll be really happy to have her there in the longer term. She might be the one who’s “capricious” in this race, not Palin or DeMint.

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