Is O’Donnell the face of the Tea Party?

Actually that seems almost self-evident doesn’t it. She is all over the news at least.

But isn’t that really a result of the press’ focus on her? Perhaps a better question would be, is she really representative of the tea party? I started to wonder about this after a write-up about O’Donnell on The Legal Satyricon. basically had a bit of a disagreement with how one commenter was portraying O’Donnell and it led me to that question. By the way, I agree with most of what Tatiana has to say about O’Donnell’s positions. I don’t believe O’Donnell was trying to make any kinds of points about exact phrasing in the Constitution, I think she simply disagrees with the principle behind that particular exchange and was being a bit pig-headed in what she was saying. In short, her (O’Donnell’s) stock didn’t go up by my accounting.

Frankly the political views of the Tea Party are both consistent and all over the map. This was a group founded on simply protesting the government. It includes Libertarians, Republicans, and the (very) rare Democrat. On many issues they are all over the place. Abortion, drug de-criminalization, homosexuals serving in the military, these people aren’t exactly in total agreement. But they joined up with the Tea Party. And of course the religious right signed up, this hasn’t exactly had a moderating effect on them, but to portray them as the heart of the tea party movement is as honest as claiming Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi represent the average member of the Democrat party. Do I really need to point out how the religious right and Libertarians don’t see eye to eye? They do have a consistency though, they dislike the present representative in the aggregate, although they like their own representatives about the same as the general public.

Oh, about 40% of tea Partiers think Roe v. Wade was decided rightly, not too far off from the general public. Putting O’Donnells stance pretty representative of about half the voting population on that particular issue. This is also directly against the stated Libertarian position which is very arguable pro-choice in all but actual word choice.

Is representative of the groups chances of winning. O’Donnell is trailing by about 11 percentage points in polls. So she isn’t exactly in a dead heat. She is not representative of the group’s candidates standing in general at all. I come to that conclusion by comparing two web sites. I used the Huffington Post for a quick view of who the “Tea Party” candidates are and Real Clear Politics for poll information. Checking out the Senate races and the Governor races gave me ten Tea Party Candidates: three are leading by double digits, two have a single digit leads, three are tied, and two are behind. Toomey is behind by three points, and O’Donnell she trails by 11. To be honest I couldn’t be bothered to go through all of the people running for House seats, maybe later at which point I’ll include the results here.

By the way, there are other candidates who are trailing by double-digit figures. Alvin Greene, the Democrat from South Carolina. Seen him on the news much, I haven’t. It seems that after the DNC made a few allegations (they have thus far been unable to back up with any evidence) he disappeared from coverage. My guess is he must be trailing by 50 points or so. Of course he isn’t, he’s actually trailing by about 35. But there is nothing about him on the news at all. You can’t tell me he isn’t a colorful character and wouldn’t captivate viewers, although at some point you do have to leave people be. By all reasonable accounts he is going to lose the election and, it just isn’t fun to make fun of the guy. I believe the man is very sincere in his desire to make the country better, and I can even admire his tenacity. But the media can’t go after him. Attacking his positions is like punching the quadriplegic. It just isn’t cool, even if he wants to get in a fight with you.

But, let us imagine he did have a moderately effective campaign going on in South Carolina, think he couldn’t close that gap to say 20 point, maybe down to 15? Recall, there is no animal so gullible as the Voter. Think it isn’t so, Bush and Gore damn near tied in 2004; no matter which way you lean that fact has got to make you realize people can be swayed. If he did, do you think he would be getting so much airtime as to allow for a characterization that he was the face of the DNC this election cycle?

Secretly a part of me hopes he wins, if only for the opportunity to watch him on C-SPAN.

But that’s the point. Alvine Greene, with no campaign at all, is trailing by 35 points. O’Donnell, with a huge campaign is trailing by 11. More than any other tea party senate candidate. Yet if Alvin Grene was to close the gap it would still be ridiculous to imagine him being the face of the DNC. And for the same reason I think it is just as wrong to make O’Donnell out as the face of the tea party.

Anyway, I might write more on this I might not. I don’t really know. Maybe I’ll just compare O’Donnell’s stances with the polled stances of people who self-identified as Tea party members.


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