Playing The Gender Card In The O’Donnell Backlash

At least one Christine O'Donnell supporter thinks that Republicans who aren't jumping on are bandwagon are doing so because of her gender.

Jeri Thompson, the wife of former Senator and one time soporific Presidential candidate Fred Thompson, unloaded on the critics of Christine O”Donnell over at The American Spectator:

The response by the Republican political establishment to the Christine O’Donnell victory over liberal Republican Mike Castle in Delaware has been an embarrassment. A strong, vocal woman upturned the political tables in Delaware, a state where both political parties have been run like blue-blooded patriarchies for the better part of half a century, and all the boys that compose “the establishment” can muster is omniscient edicts about her absolute un-electability in a general election.

Funny, I don’t recall hearing similar talk from the likes of Mssrs. Rove and Cornyn after Scott Brown won in Massachusetts, Joe Miller won in Alaska, or Rand Paul won in Kentucky. In fact, despite similar sliming by the state party apparatus before Paul’s victory Rove was downright supportive of him, saying on Fox News that Rand Paul could win the general election, just as he could win the primary. And this was after the state party did its darnedest to tear Paul apart and to make him look like an incompetent kook, in many ways similar to what the Republican political class has been doing to O’Donnell.

The difference here is that once the primary was over, the political elites in Washington stood by their men. Why won’t they do it for the woman?

Could it be, perhaps, because Kentucky is not Delaware, and that, despite the opposition of the state party apparatus, Rand Paul was polling ahead of both his Republican opponent and both of the prospective Democratic opponents long before even Sarah Palin chose to intervene in the race. Could it be, perhaps, because Alaska is also not Delaware, and that a Republican nominee is likely to do very well in a traditionally Republican state.

Delaware, however, is Delaware. Already we have one poll showing Coons with a 16 point lead over O’Donnell. This morning, the Drudge Report is teasing a new post-primary Rasmussen poll showing Coons with an 11 point lead over O’Donnell. O’Donnell is a very conservative Republican with a history of bizarre statements in a state with a history of electing Democrats and moderate Republicans. That’s why people think she can’t win, not because she’s a woman.

Democrats play identity politics all the time. It seems the GOP is learning how to play the game very well.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Boyd says:

    Jeri Thompson ≠ the GOP.

  2. Tano says:

    It seems the GOP is learning how to play the game very well.
     

    The GOP has a long history of playing these games. The only difference is that they usually play the game in favor of groups that never actually have been oppressed – i.e. whiltes, men, christians, corporate businessmen. the wealthy etc. This instance is remarkable only because Thompson chooses to play the specific woman card – one that the Dems usually use. But the approach is nothing new.

  3. steve says:

    O’Donnell was the topic of conversation this morning with my very conservative colleagues. They are concerned because, according to them, she has never had a real job, never married and history of not paying her debts. She has no prior history of holding office. In essence, she has no history of responsible behavior by which to assess her.  None seemed to care that she is a woman.
     
    Steve

  4. <blockquote>Democrats play identity politics all the time. It seems the GOP is learning how to play the game very well.</blockquote>
    Starting?  Since the 2004 election campaign, “conservative” has meant pretty much nothing but an identity group.

  5. sam says:

    Anybody else think it’s funny that a Republican would use a club that Republicans always whine Democrats use to beat them over the head with to beat Republicans over the head with?

  6. Jim Treacher says:

    Palin was criticized for having too many children. O’Donnell is criticized for not having any. Whatever works.

  7. wr says:

    There really is nothing more to the entire Tea Party platform than self-pity and cries of victimhood. Thanks to Jim Treacher for reinforcing this!

  8. steve says:

    ” O’Donnell is criticized for not having any.”
     
    Without a real work history or a history of holding office, it would be nice to have some evidence that she can at least have stable, responsible relationships. How do you judge a blank slate?
     
    Steve

  9. ponce says:

    It’s funny watching the wingnuts go at each other.
     
    None of them have a clue how to form factual, logical arguments.
     
    They just have the same bile-filled ad hominem attacks they’ve been hurling at the Dems for the past few years.

  10. Davebo says:

    “Palin was criticized for having too many children.”

    By whom exactly?   Palin seems to have been criticized for having little to no substance.

  11. MichaelW says:

    O’Donnell is a very conservative Republican with a history of bizarre statements in a state with a history of electing Democrats and moderate Republicans.
    It also has a history of electing very fiscally-conservative Republicans such as Pete DuPont and Sen. William Roth (creator of the Roth IRA).  Heck, even Joe Biden was never considered a big liberal, but instead a moderate Dem.  DE is not a significantly blue state.

  12. You’re reaching back quite a long ways for those examples. Roth and DuPont were both elected in the late 70s. Yea, Roth served until 2001, but that’s more testimony to the power of long-term incumbency. When he went up against a strong Democrat for the first time in decades, he lost.

    Since 92, Delaware has gone Democratic in Presidential elections. It hasn’t had a Republican Governor since Castle succeeded DuPont. It’s a blue state

  13. MichaelW says:

    DE is typically pretty middle of the road, without much preference for either party (just take a look at the General Assembly which has had split chambers for as long as I can remember).  Fiscal conservatives do well there, and always have.  It doesn’t mean that O’Donnell will win, but it does mean that Coons isn’t assured victory.
    As for the Castle voters who claim to prefer Coons, recall how many Hillary voters said they would vote for McCain.  Whatever they say now, they’ll either stay home or vote the party ticket on election day.  Sad, but true.

  14. Nobody is assured victory, of course.

    But I wouldn’t bet any money on O’Donnell nor, if I were a GOP operative, waste significant resources on the race

  15. mpw280 says:

    steve says:
    Thursday, September 16, 2010 at 11:05

    ” O’Donnell is criticized for not having any.”

    Without a real work history or a history of holding office, it would be nice to have some evidence that she can at least have stable, responsible relationships. How do you judge a blank slate?

    Steve
     
    It seemed to work pretty well for Obama didn’t it.
    No real track record, no real accomplishments, no real job, no real results, no real leadership and see where it got him.
    mpw

  16. Westcliff says:

    @MichaelW:

    Sorry, but Doug is correct.  You don’t think a 3:2 voter registration in favor of Democrats suggests a reliably blue state?  About 47% of registered voters are Democrats compared to slightly less than 30% for Republicans.  

    Do you also not consider the fact that Republicans currently occupy only 2 of the 9 statewide elected offices (both federal and state positions) — with one of those 2 being Mike Castle — another indicator of a reliably blue state?

    Also, you may want to check that memory.  The Delaware General Assembly’s chambers are not split.  The House flipped back to Democratic control following the 2008 election, and is now solidly in Democratic control (24-17), with the Senate still solidly Democratic (15-6, I think).  And if you check where those districts are located, you will see that a majority of them are located in Sussex county, which tends to be much more conservative than the northern two counties.

    I do not doubt that fiscal conservatives can win statewide office in Delaware, although they will have a difficult time doing so if they are also socially conservative, a point missing from your comment.  As much as I would like to consider my home state to be “middle of the road”, I think Doug is correct and that it is a reliably, although not uniformly, Democratic state. 

  17. madawaskan says:

    Listen to th beginning of this local Delaware radio interview with O’Donnell:
     
    <a href=”http://www.wgmd.com/?p=9496″</a>
     
    It only takes about three minutes or so to get what the problem is.
     
    Some background information-Delaware has <i>only</i> three counties.
     
     

  18. madawaskan says:
  19. MichaelW says:

    @Westcliff:
    Well we can agree to disagree, but DE being a “reliable” blue state is a stretch.  Fiscal conservatives do well — and, as you note, social cons generally don’t.  That’s pretty middle of the road.

  20. madawaskan says:

    Treacher-
    Interesting the Tea Party used that very tactic against Crist, and a variant-accusing Castle of cheating on his wife w/ a man against Castle.
    I know, I know the poor little mama grizzly/victim routine is your “super shield”.
     
    It worked for Malkin and now Palin and O’Donnell do it professionally.
     
    As a female I just love victims as leaders. [all sarcasm intended.]

  21. G.A.Phillips says:

    O’Donnell was the topic of conversation this morning with my very conservative colleagues. They are concerned because, according to them, she has never had a real job, never married and history of not paying her debts. She has no prior history of holding office. In essence, she has no history of responsible behavior by which to assess her.  None seemed to care that she is a woman.

    Dude you act like she is running for President, lol…..

    She is a community organizer, enough said!

  22. wr says:

    Shorter GA — I hate Obama, so there’s no candidate so stupid, venal, corrupt or incomeptent I won’t support.

  23. Jim Treacher says:

    There really is nothing more to the entire Tea Party platform than self-pity and cries of victimhood. Thanks to Jim Treacher for reinforcing this!

    Which of the two facts I listed is untrue?

  24. Jim Treacher says:

    How do you judge a blank slate?

    Again: Whatever works.

    By whom exactly?

    Oh, nobody. I just made it up. It never happened.

    I know, I know the poor little mama grizzly/victim routine is your “super shield”.

    Eloquently expressed.

  25. An Interested Party says:

    “Fiscal conservatives do well — and, as you note, social cons generally don’t.”
    Even by your own reasoning, O’Donnell will not do very well, considering her social conservatism…
     
    “It seemed to work pretty well for Obama didn’t it.”
    A false comparison, as the president does have a stable, responsible relationship and a real work history…but, like someone else around here wrote, whatever works…

  26. madawaskan says:

    Well Treacher that was constructive.
    You’ve got the Malkin methodology down pat.
    And now your willing to throw integrity out the window because you are too lazy to research the candidate yourself.
     
    Just one more Malkin Minion.

  27. madawaskan says:

    *you’re* willing
     
    Pretty sure you’re a grammar nazi too.

  28. Palin was criticized for having too many children. O’Donnell is criticized for not having any. Whatever works.

    Not by me. My problems with her were based solely on the fact that she comes across as  un-engaged and ill-informed, and that she didn’t lack sufficient experience for the job.

  29. madawaskan says:

    Wait a minute….
    Did a Palindrone just critique my lack of eloquence?
    Ha! That’s just too damn funny!!
     
    [I’m off so fire at will.]
     
     

  30. Brummagem Joe says:

    “Democrats play identity politics all the time. It seems the GOP is learning how to play the game very well.”

    Republicans are only just learning to play identity politic? Occasionally your statements Doug make the eyes roll…and this is one of them.   

  31. Jim Treacher says:

    And now your willing to throw integrity out the window because you are too lazy to research the candidate yourself.

    I guess I should pay attention to your methods to see how one adds value to a conversation.

    Pretty sure you’re a grammar nazi too.

    That’s it, stay on the attack.

    Did a Palindrone just critique my lack of eloquence?

    No. But if namecalling is one of the lessons you think I should be learning, that’s good to know.