article

09.01.11

Why Christine O’Donnell Is Bombing

Her new book is called 'Troublemaker,' but Christine O’Donnell is the one in trouble. Why is her book tour such a disappointment? Meghan McCain on what went wrong and the valuable lesson other Republicans can learn.

News has been filtering out all week about the mess of a book tour Christine O’Donnell has been on. Her book Troublemaker: Let’s Do What It Takes to Make America Great Again reportedly has sold only 2,200 copies and only five people showed up at a book signing she held in Naples, Fla., with one person coming only to ask her to sign a book on demonology. While promoting her book, she generated a flurry of publicity by walking off Piers Morgan’s show on CNN, because she said she was being “sexually harassed” by Morgan when he started asking her about gay marriage.

I don’t find any pleasure in Christine O’Donnell’s book and book tour spectacularly bombing. What I am taking from O’Donnell is one big fat warning sign that all Republicans should be aware of moving forward.

O’Donnell is the result of an epidemic within politics today. She’s a politician that can gather international media attention by using cheap tricks and publicity stunts with little to no substance or experience to back it up. This is a woman who at one point was getting so much attention, that Saturday Night Live cold opened an episode with a parody of one of her campaign ads.

The idea of the celebrity politician is nothing new, and depending on one’s perspective, either President Obama or Sarah Palin are the country's first celebrity politicians. But O’Donnell is our first “fad” politician, meaning she is a politician whose moment is fleeting but intense and memorable for all of the wrong reasons.

O’Donnell isn’t to be completely blamed for what happened to her. She was promoted and lauded for her association with Tea Party values yet not vetted in the way someone seriously considering running for Senate should be. The result is a not-ready-for-primetime candidate who proceeds to make rookie mistakes, all the while embarrassing their party and themselves and proving to everyone what most knew all along—they are unelectable. Style and media attention have come to outweigh issues and substance. The media feeds into it, and these politicians who aren’t prepared and seasoned enough make fools of themselves.

Dancing With the Stars is probably the most hopeful and lucrative place for her to go.

Now, even the Tea Party movement has been distancing itself from O’Donnell. An upcoming Tea Party rally in Des Moines, Iowa, originally had her scheduled to speak but then she was reportedly uninvited at the request of Sarah Palin and then re-invited. After all the confusion, Palin is back on the agenda and O'Donnell is out. 

Where O’Donnell goes from here is anyone’s guess. There were rumors earlier this year, which proved unfounded, that she was going to be a contestant on an upcoming season of Dancing With the Stars. I think that would probably the most hopeful and lucrative place for her to go. In the meantime, Republicans and the Tea Party both need to start showcasing serious candidates, because we’re just giving the Democrats more fodder for humor that will once again pull away from the larger problems and issues facing this country. Let’s stop giving the left something and someone to laugh at. Christine, I think Maksim Chmerkovskiy would've been a great choice for a dance partner for you.