Christine O’Donnell might have convinced us that the whole dabbling in witchcraft thing was just schoolgirl fun. And the diatribe against masturbation? Could be that it was just the naïve musings of a young woman still not comfortable with the world of sex. And maybe those creepy campaign ads--the ones with the cauldron-esque mist rising behind her as she reassured us that, "I’m not a witch. I’m you"--perhaps one could blame those on the bad advice of a third-tier campaign advisory team.
Then O’Donnell reminded voters why she lost, as she gave what one assumes was meant to be a concession speech Tuesday night when the Delaware Senate race was called for her opponent.
"Let’s party!!!" O’Donnell urged her supporters, an odd suggestion, considering a) she had just lost, and b) Republicans were scoring huge wins in large part because Americans are really not in a partying mood.
But it was O’Donnell’s chiding message to the victor, Democrat Chris Coons, that most underscored her disassociation from reality. O’Donnell--who has never held public office--directed Coons to watch her 30-minute campaign ad and to defy the desires of the Democratic leadership. Coons is New Castle County Executive and a graduate of Yale Law School, arguably credentials that put him in a better position to understand law-making and how it affects the people of Delaware. And while maintaining some independence from party leadership would be a welcome development for members of both parties in Washington, O’Donnell might have reflected on the fact that her very loss indicated that Delaware voters wanted a Democrat, not an inexperienced Tea Party darling with a Sarah Palin endorsement, to represent the state.
The upshot of the bizarre contest is that many Delaware voters, and even fewer voters in the rest of the country, would have had the chance to hear what the unassuming Coons had to say on a variety of issues. Rep. Mike Castle, a moderate Republican, was the presumed favorite for the GOP nomination and for the open Senate seat. Castle--a decent, soft-spoken man who dedicated his entire adult life to public service and to Delaware--never got to make his case against Coons. It’s hard to imagine that Castle, despite his impressive credentials, would have lectured Coons the way O’Donnell did.