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Sarah & the GOPettes: Assessing the O'Donnell Victory

09/16/2010 10:41 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

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It's the hottest band in politics: Sarah & the GOPettes. Ya got Palin, Michelle Bachman, Nikki Haley and Christine O'Donnell. They're young, personable and attractive, and are out there on the 2010 Tea Party Tour whipping the radical right-wing fringe base into a veritable frenzy. O'Donnell's the latest addition, with her stunning defeat of 42-year Delaware Republican career-politician Mike Castle in Tuesday's Senate primary. Heck, I'll even throw the 61-year-old Sharon Angle into this group.

Palin, her GOPettes and all the other Tea Baggers like Newt Gingrich, Rand Paul and Joe Miller speak in racist code language ("restoring America," "taking the country back"), portray themselves as grass-roots revolutionaries, but lack any real qualifications commensurate with one of the most important jobs in the world. What they're expert at is throwing around irresponsible, incendiary rhetoric at every turn while claiming to be part of America's diverse fabric.

Yet during O'Donnell's victory speech there appeared to be just one black person in the entire room. In a pathetic attempt to prove the Tea Party's 'big tent' claim, he was quickly ushered to the stage and very noticeably and awkwardly pushed right beside her as she began to speak. But then O'Donnell introduced him as the campaign's lawyer. And truth is, he had a decidedly uncomfortable look on his face the entire time as if to say, "Hey, I'm not so sure how much I'm into this whole 'returning America back to what our Founding Fathers envisioned' thing. In case you hadn't noticed, black folks didn't fare too well back then!"

To be sure, O'Donnell knows how to fire up voters. But in a virtually all-Democratic state like Delaware, she's gonna fire up more Democrats and Independents against her, which is why she's unelectable in the general election, and which is why iconic Republican operative Karl Rove gave a delicious smackdown to Fox's Sean Hannity Tuesday night in telling him how utterly wrong he was about her chances of winning in November against Democrat Chris Coons. It was a beautiful thing to watch. Kind of like the wise old parent trying to knock some sense into the young, hot-headed, know-it-all kid. Hannity was very visibly shaken by Rove's on-air lecturing.

Rove also spoke of O'Donnell's questionable character, and that she owes $12,000 in taxes; foreclosed on her home; lied about her education; and has made very bizarre claims that her opponents "Follow me home at night. I make sure that I come back to the townhouse and then we have our team come out and check all the bushes and check all the cars to make sure that -- they follow me....They're hiding in the bushes."

These skeletons are also why the GOP won't be throwing its support behind O'Donnell's futile campaign. As Rove authoritatively assured Hannity, "This is not a race we're going to be able to win." And he lamented how O'Donnell's victory could translate to the GOP's failure to win a Senate majority. Give Rove credit. He knows a thing or two about winning.

The emergence and success of the Tea Party is a direct result of the Bush/Cheney/Rove dumbing-down of the Republican electorate. For eight years they lied to them about the Iraq war, fear-mongered over terrorism, distracted them with gay marriage and veered them so far away from their own economic self-interests to the point where they were well-primed for Sarah & the GOPettes' ignorant, empty-suited populist rhetoric. They literally dumbed 'em down so far that it didn't take much for Mama Grizzly's even dumber Tea Bag minions to steal them away from Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and the mainstream GOP leadership. I guess you reap what you sow. The Tea Party fanatics are Rove's chickens coming home to roost.

And now the unthinkable is occurring: O'Donnell, Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and others are attacking the heretofore venerable Rove, turning on him as if he was Sean Penn:

"I think he's seeing that he was one of the so-called experts whose credibility was hurt last night," said O'Donnell Wednesday morning. Oh no she d'int just say so-called expert, did she? Is she kidding? Rove was smart enough to get a knucklehead like George W. Bush elected president while she was running around the country with bad 80's hair telling teens to be abstinent and that masturbation was wrong: "The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery" and that "You can't masturbate without lust." Jeez, Chrissie, stop embarrassing yourself. I'll bet you $1000 that come November 2nd you're gonna learn the hard way just how much of an expert Rove really is on the subject of your electability.

"Karl has admitted that one of his mistakes was not defending Bush against all of these insane, stupid, slanderous, libelous attacks against Bush for eight years," Limbaugh said. "But I've never heard ... Karl so animated against a Democrat as he was against Christine O'Donnell last night....Why is he so mad at a Republican?" Well Rush, when Coons wins in November and costs the GOP what would've been a very likely Senate seat and perhaps the majority, you'll have your answer.

With O'Donnell's victory, Tea Baggers are sending the same kind of naive, misguided, anger-fueled message to the Republican Party that the Naderites sent to Democrats in the 2000 presidential election. Syphoning precious votes away from then-vice president Al Gore, these foolish voters' real message soon became quite clear: "Welcome to the White House, Mr Bush." And for eight miserable years they got in return the exact opposite of everything they stood for. Now with nominees O'Donnell and Angle, for example, this same sort of Tea-Party-poured message will not only cost Republicans key seats, but could very well be the thing that keeps Democrats at the controls.