[O'Donnell at a Townhall meeting Democrats don't like to attend anymore...apparently]
I had the distinct honor and privilege of speaking with Christine O'Donnell to discuss her candidacy and her campaign to fill Joe Biden's old US Senate seat in Delaware. There will be a Special Election primary on September 14 the winners of which will face off in the General in November. Christine O'Donnell would be an outstanding addition in the hallowed halls of the US Senate, and she deserves a closer look; on the issues she means to fight over, and the way in which she means to perform her duties should she prevail this fall. She has to get past the worst Republican in the House first though...Mike Castle...who she "lovingly" refers to as the King of the RINOs and the guy that has gone "Left" 70 % of the time he's been in that House seat. More on Mr. Castle at a later date.
Ms. O'Donnell impressed me early on during my research and interview prep leading up to our phone visit because of this sentence from her presser announcing her candidacy [emphasis mine]:
[I]f you want someone who embraces what the Founding Fathers envisioned; a straight shooting, qualified citizen-politician to go to Washington and serve, then I hope to earn your support.
During our talk I was even more impressed by her. We only had a little bit of time, so I kept my questions to three basic areas. I asked her to elaborate on that expression "Citizen Politician" which I've quickly become so fond of. I was also curious about her thoughts on the Tea Party movement and its ever-expanding role (and growing influence) in various campaigns across the country. Finally, I wanted to know what she thought her campaign was going to look like heading into the primary against Castle, and how she thought she could be most effective in utilizing the "Grassroots" effort that is lining up behind her candidacy.
My conversation with who I personally hope becomes the next US Senator from Delaware, Christine O'Donnell, is after the jump...
I prefaced my first question with the observation that, over the past 5 years or so, the so-called "blog world" has evolved to the point of enjoying a fair amount of credibility as writers, analysts, and (in certain circles) "citizen journalists" and that her choice of the expression "citizen politician" had a very familiar and comforting ring to it. I asked her to elaborate on what she means by that term:
We started back in '08 using the term "citizen politician." It means I'm not one of those people that is driven toward a political career. I'm not one of those people that has been groomed by backroom overlords, or that has been hand picked by the party establishment, or that has come from a political family or "dynasty." I am not a "conventional candidate"...I am an activist and an advocate on issues, and I care about my country and what is happening to it, and I refuse to "sit this out" because it might be hard or require a great deal of personal sacrifice.
This idea of every day citizens engaging the political process has been epitomized by the Tea Party movement which is proving that anyone can get involved, take a stand, and get passionate about standing up for their country. People are starting to understand that it doesn't take a great deal of "work," just a love of their country and a willingness to sacrifice time and effort to participate in the process and make a difference.
I mentioned that the Tea Party movement has gotten a great deal of flack from the media and many on the Left...often-times being called racists or pitchfork-toting rednecks and crazy people. We both chuckled at that, mostly because she thinks it's more of a badge of honor. I asked her about their ongoing role in this election cycle, and what impact she believes they'll have going forward:
That the Tea Party movement is being demonized only proves that they are making a difference. No longer is control of the political process solely in the hands of the backroom overlords and the party establishment. I applaud them and the work they are doing to engage their representatives and fight to take their country back. I have spoken at several Tea party rallies and I love the fact that so many people are joining the effort. I met a gentleman at a rally recently that told me he goes to a LOT of them, and that my candidacy actually helped inspire him to become more active saying "I really CAN get involved." It used to be that incumbents controlled the process but more and more people are learning that they really CAN make a difference.
She sees the Tea Party movement's role continuing to evolve and expand in the months ahead - moving past the protest signs and IN to the campaign offices - and believes it is the every day American willing to take on their politicians, at every turn, that is going to put this country back in the hands of the People where the Constitution has always said it belonged.
As we wound down our conversation, I asked her for her thoughts on the campaign ahead...winding down to the primary and on (hopefully) to the general election:
We need to keep hitting our benchmarks so we can keep executing our ground game. We have a good strategy, and this fight is winnable. I've been challenged by critics about whether - even if we prevail over Castle - I could win against Coons in the general. I say "yes, I can." We have a strong grassroots effort here in Delaware which is on the ground and growing every day.
This is a fight for the heart and soul of not only the Country but the Republican party as well. We're fighting against the worst "Republican" in recent memory. He has sided with the Democrats 70% of the time, and gets a failing grade from a host of organizations including the NRA, CFG, and many others. Are we really satisfied with a liberal politician solely because he has an "R" after his name? I don't think so. And, to take him out, we need to come together, get out the message, get people to the polls, and get the donations we'll need to cross the state of Delaware to educate people on what is really at stake in this race.
We'll go door to door. We'll call phone to phone. We'll send out all the literature we can in order to win this race. But, these things require postage and they require gasoline to drive across the state and talk to Delawareans...and these things will be paid for by donations. A $20.00 donation to O'Donnell for Senate is like $200.00 anywhere else...and if we can raise $300,000.00 we can fully implement our campaign plan; an efficient (and we believe effective) plan to put a true Conservative in Biden's old seat.
Christine O'Donnell is the real deal. And, much like Scott Brown or Marco Rubio, or even Sharron Angle (to name only a few) she can win this thing with a little support and a little encouragement and a lot of on-the-ground, grassroots work like that which has been done to help others come from nowhere to win what skeptics insist on calling "unwinnable" races.
Delaware is not impressed with the shenanigans up on Capitol Hill, and neither is Christine O'Donnell. Consider supporting her campaign, and consider donating to her as early and as often as you can. Her latest campaign money bomb began today (June 9, 2010) and there's no time like the present to get started on pushing her across the finish line in Delaware just like we've seen from Florida to Masachusetts to Nevada...and all points in between.
[cross posted from The Minority Report]