While much has been made about Christine O’Donnell’s past troubles with the IRS and other dubious dealings, very little has been written in the mainstream media about her Democratic opponent, Chris Coons.
Chris Coons, the current County Executive of New Castle, has his own explaining to do about an article he wrote while in college in which he describes his transformation from a Young Republican who campaigned for Ronald Reagan in 1980 into a “bearded Marxist.”
“The source of his conversion, Coons wrote, was a trip to Kenya he took during the spring semester of his junior year-a time away from America, he wrote, that served as a ‘catalyst’ in altering a conservative political outlook that he was growing increasingly uncomfortable with.
“‘My friends now joke that something about Kenya, maybe the strange diet, or the tropical sun, changed my personality; Africa to them seems a catalytic converter that takes in clean-shaven, clear-thinking Americans and sends back bearded Marxists,’ Coons wrote, noting that at one time he had been a ‘proud founding member of the Amherst College Republicans.’
“‘[I]t is only too easy to return from Africa glad to be American and smugly thankful for our wealth and freedom,’ added Coons. ‘Instead, Amherst had taught me to question, so in turn I questioned Amherst, and America.'”
Coons, at the time a 21-year-old student, also revealed how classes at Amherst in anthropology and the Vietnam War led him to question the “cultural superiority of the West” and the very underpinnings of free enterprise.
It is unknown how much of these feelings of alienation from America Coons stills feels 25 years later. Still, it suggests that the Democratic candidate for Senate in Delaware may hold beliefs that are clearly beyond the mainstream of American thought, even in blue-state Delaware, if not in the current Democratic Party.
Clearly Chris Coons should clarify if, as a middle aged adult, he still holds with the antipathy he seems to have felt toward the country of his birth and of the fundamental beliefs and principles with which that country had been founded.
Raising this question may provide the O’Donnell campaign an opportunity to change the subject from why she can’t win to why Coons should not win. It would force Coons to clarify his beliefs and either defend his youthful period as a “bearded Marxist” or repudiate it. Either way, Coons will be the one who will be explaining, not O’Donnell.
Coons has another problem, having been embraced rather too closely by Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reid said of Coons, “I’m going to be very honest with you – Chris Coons, everybody knows him in the Democratic caucus. He’s my pet. He’s my favorite candidate.”
Being called by a politician as unpopular as Harry Reid his “pet” may be unfortunate, even for a man like Coons, who is currently ahead of O’Donnell by double digits. It bespeaks a certain lack of individuality and a beta maleness that are both disadvantages in a candidate for the United States Senate. Most voters, even in blue states, expect a certain independence of their representatives in Washington. Being called a “pet” by the Senate Majority leader is not a resume enhancer.
Say what you will about Christine O’Donnell, she could never be described as anyone’s pet.
Sources: Coons took ‘bearded Marxist’ turn, Alex Isenstadt, Politico, May 3rd, 2010
Reid: Coons, ‘my pet,’ will win, J. Taylor Rushing The Hill, Septe,ber 15th, 2010