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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Tea Party has eye on the prize

With the conclusion of primaries nationwide last week, Republican crosshairs lock onto the Democrats and the November elections. However, some skeptics say that perhaps the Republican Party has become divided and such a division may cost Republicans their golden opportunity to dethrone the Democrats. It’s no secret that the Tea “”Party”” has gained a great deal of steam in recent weeks and throughout the summer. Nonetheless, the group’s stance against taxes and “”big government”” compounded with its lack of political experience has instilled fear in the GOP. What once seemed a sure-fire chance to take back crucial seats in Congress has now become a punch in the face to some of the supposedly well-known and liked Republican Party nominees.  

Most notable of the casualties was current Delaware Rep. Mike Castle, who was shut down by the Tea Party’s Christine O’Donnell. O’Donnell’s strong anti-Obama stance and prominent biblical values have been enough to propel her to victory in the primaries, yet many Republicans feel she isn’t going to be a strong enough to win a generally liberal state like Delaware. Former Bush administration election strategist Karl Rove has called her unelectable, untruthful and unfit for office.  “”There’s just a lot of nutty things she’s been saying that just simply don’t add up,”” he said.  This party schism doesn’t bode well for O’Donnell and her bid for Senate; if Karl Rove — a man who worked absolute dark magic to get George W. Bush elected president twice — doesn’t think you can be elected, then something is truly not OK with you or your campaign.

The glaring flaw in O’Donnell’s resume is her lack of political experience. That limited experience has Republican voters scared that perhaps independent voters or those on the fence won’t side with an inexperienced person in times of such fiscal concern. A New York Times poll of independent voters has shown that although most have no opinion regarding Tea Party activists as of yet, 30 percent of those who do have an opinion view them unfavorably while only 18 percent favor them.  

Furthermore, as much of the country maintains a strong opposition to Democrats, due in great part to the unsolved financial woes, it’s hard to imagine voters electing a woman who can’t seem to manage her own finances properly. In her first bid for election in 2006, O’Donnell was cited for failing to properly report campaign donations, and her current campaign reported a $20,000 debt just last spring. In the personal realm, she has defaulted on her mortgage and recently lost a campaign aide who “”found out she was living on campaign donations (and) using them for rent and personal expenses.”” O’Donnell confirmed this in an interview last spring with The News Journal of Wilmington when she affirmed that her campaign was paying half of her rent on her house because she claimed it doubled as a campaign headquarters.  

O’Donnell and Tea Party activists in general are nothing more than an annoying repackaging of the far right of the Republican Party. While they have the limited political support of former Republican heavyweights like Dick Armey and hockey-mom/reality-TV-star/former-vice-presidential-candidate Sarah Palin, they lack the actual experience to make decisions and follow through. Who is to say an accountant, who just four years ago finished third in a field of three Republicans, can actually throw the punches necessary for a general election win? How can Republicans as a whole be sure that this Tea “”Party”” isn’t more than just a far-right fad that discourages more people with their radical cries of foul in regards to every action made by Democrats or Republicans? O’Donnell has been sure to bite the hand that feeds her when it comes to her Republican base. In her campaigning she has already called Republicans before her “”lazy”” and said support from currently elected Republicans is welcome but not needed.  O’Donnell is nothing more than a far-right conservative who beats the Bible with every breath and seems disconnected when it comes to the modern world. She’s openly questioned the viability of AIDS research and has called evolution a “”soft science.”” It’s apparent that voters just don’t align with her. In her last bid for the Senate, in 2008, she was destroyed by current Vice President Joe Biden, who posted the largest victory of his political career. O’Donnell is a weak candidate who is surfing the Tea “”Party”” wave.

It’s no wonder Republicans are wary when it comes to O’Donnell in a key turnover seat in Delaware. Yes, the country is reeling in financial debt, but is this Bible-crazy, financially unstable candidate what’s best for rectifying that? If you don’t wish to vote for a Democrat, there’s got to be a better independent candidate out there. O’Donnell’s questionable financial decisions, coupled with her very disconnected political stances, make her an unstable candidate who will most likely fail to defeat a Democrat in a notoriously liberal state. In the end, a thank-you note should be sent to the Tea Party activists in Delaware; if it wasn’t for you, the Republicans would be sending a winnable candidate to the ballot and the Democrats might have a little more reason to be shaking in their boots.

— Storm Byrd is a political science sophomore. He is also a student organizer for UA Votes, which is run by Arizona Students’ Association. He can be reached at

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