Why Are GOP Female Candidates so Weak?
This year should be a blowout for Republicans. 2010 is a year when voter dissatisfaction is extreme, high unemployment lingers, and Republican turnout is expected to be strong. Yet one group of Republican candidates is performing poorly in races from coast to coast. Why did Republicans choose such a weak bunch of women?
Arguably, deep pocket millionaires like Linda McMahon, Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman chose themselves by tapping piles of personal cash to wage bitter, expensive primary campaigns. But that doesn’t account for Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell. These grand dames of the lower middle class won largely unfunded – and unexpected – primary victories.
Though neither Angle nor O’Donnell was the party’s first choice, both were seen by voters as most consistent with the party’s platforms and pronouncements. In other words, Republican primary voters saw two women who spoke Republican and they chose them over candidates who could cruise to general election victories. The party became victim to its own hyperbolic rhetoric.
In O’Donnell’s case, her weakness is that she has a long history as a youth spokesperson for the ideas of old farts. As a teenager, she got seduced into playing the Pat Buchanan role – I’ll oppose anything you want, for airtime – to appear on Bill Maher’s old show. It was her pinnacle and like other child stars she’s still playing the role, never realizing that she was cast to make your jaw drop, not for her wit.
Currently sixteen points behind in the polls, she’s still saying weird stuff to get attention. “I’m not a witch… I’m you,” she says creepily.” “No, you’re not,” is our collective reply. Witch jokes are impossible to avoid in Washington these days. Her mojo is gone.
Next up, Linda McMahon. She’s co-owner (with her husband) of World Wrestling Entertainment, the fake-wrestling show popular with teenage boys and high school dropouts. McMahon should have had the easiest race, but she never caught fire, despite spending tons of personal cash. Her opponent, Richard Blumenthal had claimed he’d served in Vietnam when he’d only served during Vietnam. It should have killed his campaign. But McMahon undid that herself. Most recently, she was caught lying about whether her fake-wrestling empire used the same Washington lobbyists she’d blamed for everything.Continued on the next page