In it, but not of it. TPM DC
O'Donnell is a strange character in the conservative revolution. Committed now to all the tea party's central fiscal ideology -- in her speech, she slammed the idea of letting the Bush tax cuts on the rich expire as well as the idea of extending unemployment benefits -- O'Donnell started as a voice on the "values" side of the conservative fence. Her speech, like so many others today, sought to meld together the fiscal and the moral conservative aims into a Republican electoral alloy.
Describing the rise of the tea party movement, O'Donnell said that the values voters had reached new heights by standing on the shoulders of people wearing tri-corn hats.
But even with her newfound status as a tea party hero, O'Donnell is at her best when talking about values. It was clear that morals are in her wheelhouse, even if they aren't the focus of her current Senate campaign. When describing politicians and bureaucrats, O'Donnell showed the values cred that made her a mainstay of cable TV for all those years. She was clearly in her element.
"They'll buy your teenaged daughter an abortion," she said. "But they won't let her buy a sugary soda in a school's vending machine."