Posted by Matthew Rothschild on September 15, 2010

Democrats shouldn’t crow too loudly about Christine O’Donnell’s Republican primary victory for the open Senate seat in Delaware.

Yeah, she’s nuts.

That’s all the Tea Party serves up is a bowl of mixed nuts. It’s gotten so bad that the Planters corporation is suing for product defamation.

O’Donnell is especially odd on the matter of sex. She’s on record saying condoms don’t prevent AIDS, that AIDS victims shouldn’t be called “victims,” and that masturbation is bad, bad, bad.

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Yes, O’Donnell’s upset will make it more likely for the Democrats to win the Senate seat there, and thus hang on to majority control of that chamber. But don’t count her out, since hard-core conservatives are going to show up in huge numbers on November 2, no matter what.

Even if, as expected, she loses the campaign, O’Donnell represents the rise of the far right in America. She was correct when she said, in her victory speech, that she’s riding a wave.

It’s a wave with a dangerous undertow, and it could take our democracy away with it.

Her victory on Tuesday was another triumph for Sarah Palin, who’s proving to be quite the queenmaker.

Palin’s endorsements have paid off dramatically, and with every new one, it seems more and more possible that she could actually win the Republican nomination. Already, she has the highest favorability ratings among the leading candidates, and her unfavorables were comparable to Romney’s. It is Palin, more than any other Republican figure in the country, who senses the moment and is seizing it.

Some Democrats think that’s great, on the assumption that, as the Republican nominee, she’d have no chance of beating Obama.

But be careful what you wish for. She’d start with about 40 percent of the voters who can’t stand Obama. And she wouldn’t have far to go to make it a race. If the economy continues to stall, who knows?

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his article “Obama Should Shake Up Economic Team.”

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter

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