When did class warfare, populism, and playing the victim card become conservative?
I must have missed the memo, but somewhere along the way, many grassroots conservatives must have decided the name of the game is "Just win, baby!"
Case in point: As Delaware's tight GOP primary
race has heated up, it has become clear that many Christine O'Donnell apologists are utilizing the very tactics of the left to go after her critics (many of whom are solid conservatives).
For example, when it was pointed out that O'Donnell sued
the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI), a respected conservative organization, for $6.9 million for gender discrimination
, O'Donnell's defenders never stopped to examine the merits of the case, nor did they wonder why a conservative would sue a conservative organization for gender bias. Instead, they went on the attack.
Noting that ISI President Ken Cribb makes a very healthy $600,000 a year, blogger Dan Riehl referred to Cribb
as "a Beltway welfare queen." I'm not sure how Delaware falls inside the Beltway, but the message was clear: Cribb can't be trusted because he makes too much money. (You know, like the evil, greedy Wall Street types.)
But it doesn't end with class warfare. In a robo-call recorded for O'Donnell, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin noted
: "I can relate to the vicious personal attacks on Christine, and can tell you it's sad to see the establishment's desperation in this." The message is simple: Anyone who points out anything unpleasant about O'Donnell is a liberal who is part of the establishment
(probably paid off by Castle or the GOP). And, oh yeah, they're picking on a girl.
Since Richard Nixon, Republican campaigns have made hay out of attacking liberal media elites, but O'Donnell's campaign has also spawned a new phenomenon: Conservatives attacking conservative
writers who have dared write unflattering columns about O'Donnell.
(Note: I'm not talking about "conservative" writers like David Brooks or Kathleen Parker here, either. I'm talking about conservatives such as National Review's Jim Geraghty, The Examiner's Mark Hemingway, and The Weekly Standard's John McCormack).
As Geraghty wrote
Most of O'Donnell's defenders refuse to seriously acknowledge or rebuke behavior that would have been instantly denounced coming from any Democrat, instead offering variations of . . . "you just want invites to all the Beltway cocktail parties" sneers or angry demands to look into bad behavior on the part of Castle.
While other primaries have exposed cleavages between establishment Republicans and conservatives, the O'Donnell campaign has driven a wedge between bona fide conservatives.
Everyone knows Delaware Rep. Mike Castle is a liberal Republican, but I think it's worth also asking this question: Is O'Donnell really
conservative? (And what about her defenders?)