Tonight at 9 p.m., Christine O'Donnell will become the latest controversial Republican nominee to launder her past in an interview with Sean Hannity. Like Sharron Angle, Rand Paul and Sarah Palin -- just to name three -- before her, Delaware's Republican nominee for Senate will dodge the mainstream media spotlight in the midst of uncomfortable questions and make a beeline for the Cheers of primetime cable news, the show where everyone knows your name and they're always glad you came (if you're a conservative Republican, that is.)
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The script that leads O'Donnell to her Hannity interview tonight is nearly identical to the one that led Paul and Palin to him after their somewhat botched national roll-outs. In each case, the candidate took a preliminary step onto the national stage, got singed by their own past, and ran back to the safe and comforting arms of Hannity.
[TPM SLIDESHOW: Christine O'Donnell: Anti-Masturbation Crusader. Witchcraft Dabbler. Republican Senate Nominee.]
Let's start with Palin. Back in September 2008, Palin -- still a fresh face on the political scene -- was flailing after her first national TV interview as the GOP's vice-presidential nominee. Palin had been badly burned in her sit-down with ABC News anchor Charlie Gibson, and it became clear that tough interviews were not going be a central (or successful) part of Palin's media strategy. But, critics howled, how could Palin avoid the press all together and maintain even a shred of credibility?
Enter Hannity, a shred of credibility if ever there was one. As the wreckage of her Gibson appearance still smoldered, Palin announced she was headed for Hannity country to cool out for awhile.