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10.18.10

My Feud With O'Donnell

When Meghan McCain criticized Christine O’Donnell on This Week, the media went crazy. Now she says that other Republicans feel the same way—and fires back at O’Donnell’s attacks on her.

When Meghan McCain criticized O’Donnell on This Week, the media went crazy. Now she says that other Republicans feel the same way—and fires back on O’Donnell’s attacks on her.

On Sunday, I appeared on the D.C. news show This Week with Christiane Amanpour. By the time I had left the show and eaten breakfast at a nearby restaurant, my appearance was already creating an uproar on the Internet. What had I said that had been so blasphemous? Just my statement on the Republican senatorial candidate for Delaware: "My problem is that, no matter what, Christine O'Donnell is making a mockery of running for public office," I said. "She has no real history, no real success in any kind of business... [the message] that sends to my generation is: One day you can just wake and run for Senate, no matter how [much of] a lack of experience you have. And it scares me for a lot of reasons."  

I did not wake up Sunday morning expecting to create any kind of uproar and I am even more confused that people seem to be so angry. Leading up to my appearance, the more research I did on Christine O’Donnell, the more worrisome her being elected to the Senate seemed to me. It wasn’t even all of her bizarre comments, which have been getting endless media attention—on witchcraft, anti-masturbation platforms, and her testament that she had secret information about China plotting to take over America—that bothered me. No, what really stood out for me was the Federal Elections Commissions allegations against her pertaining to misuse of campaign funds, her alleged history of failing to pay taxes, the allegations that she lied on multiple occasions about which colleges she attended. Not to mention the fact that she has not had any real success in business, government, or public service. 

It is not the Tea Party as a movement that I have a problem with… but it is hard for me to take her candidacy seriously and I think it reflects badly on the movement.

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Maybe all of these things do not bother other Republicans, and it certainly doesn’t bother the Tea Partiers—but I am not a Tea Partier. After what I said about her lack of experience, many on the far right threw back at me that I also lacked experience to run for office. Which yes, I agree with, which is why I am not trying to run for the Senate. I am not sure what I find more infuriating, the fact that I am being crucified by many in the media for daring to speak negatively of a woman who has given more than enough reasons to question her candidacy, or the fact that this is something many people are saying off-camera—and then once on, switching their tune to prevent any backlash. Lest we forget Karl Rove himself originally came out publicly against her, only to backtrack on his comments after he was attacked from the right.   

By the time I had arrived in New York yesterday, to add an even more bizarre twist, Christine O’Donnell’s campaign responded to my appearance on This Week. Her campaign said, “Christine overwhelmingly won her primary battle against the establishment candidate, so Ms. McCain's vast experience in politics and running for office probably won't influence many Delawareans of any age to listen to her latest rant. Her parents are truly a class act, and am certain they brought her up to be more respectful of a possible future colleague. As Christine rises in the polls, and repairs the damage done by the establishment with their false statements, the campaign will continue to focus on jobs and the out-of-control federal spending."  

All I can really say is that I am not the one running for Senate. I am also not the only one with issues with Christine O’Donnell. She has complained publicly of the RNC’s lack of support for her and her candidacy. Where the RNC’s support will eventually land, I have no idea. But for me, my opinion remains that Christine O’Donnell is just not good enough of an example for my generation. It is not the Tea Party as a movement that I have a problem with—people in this country are frustrated and angry—but it is hard for me to take her candidacy seriously and I think it reflects badly on the movement. We are 15 days away from the general election, and as a Republican I hope that we take over control of the House and Senate, but it is hard for me to see Republicans broadening our appeal with a candidate like Christine O’Donnell.

Meghan McCain is a columnist for The Daily Beast. Originally from Phoenix, she graduated from Columbia University in 2007. She is a New York Times bestselling children's author, previously wrote for Newsweek magazine, and created the website mccainblogette.com. Her new book, Dirty Sexy Politics, was published in August.