The most celebrated losers on the Republican side this election year were Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell,
who in any previous cycle since 1980 would have been identified as
paladins (paladines?) of the religious right. Angle is a Southern
Baptist who ran a Christian school and was endorsed by the likes of Pat
Boone and Phyllis Schlafly. O’Donnell,
a Catholic-evangelical hybrid, was a former spokesperson for Concerned
Women of America who made herself into minor moral values prophetess.
would submit that Angle and O’Donnell lost not because of radical Tea
Partyism but because they smelled too much of the unwanted social
conservatism of yesteryear. Yes, the Tea Party endorsed them. But their
failure was, more than anything, a vindication of the Tea Party strategy
of keeping the social issues off the table.