O'Donnell Essay Not Easily Shaken
Now O'Donnell is running for Congress and the Republican 7th District candidate is trying to get out from under his radical condemnation of the pension safety net. He now admits his approach wasn't a very good one, and it's not a message O'Donnell wants voters to hear. But hear it, they will. Nationally, Democrats are sure to raise President Bush's effort to overhaul Social Security in any race where there's a Republican who supported the wildly unpopular plan. The 7th CD race is one of the mostly closely watched in the country, and O'Donnell, who has never held elected office and thus has no voting record on Social Security, is on the defensive because of his essay.We'll get to the conundrum he faces in digging out from his position in a minute, but the important thing here is that The Post saw fit to run a negative editorial on O'Donnell's Social Security fiasco two weeks after the news first broke. This is so dangerous for O'Donnell because it has staying power even without Democratic pressure to keep the story alive. This one hurts, and it's going to continue to hurt. What does O'Donnell do to get out from under it? Well, he doesn't have a very good option. He's already backpedaling, which is probably the best choice, but that also opens him up to the label of the dreaded "flip-flopper," which is killing Bob Beauprez's gubernatorial campaign and killed John Kerry when he ran for President. But even as O'Donnell softens his position on Social Security, no matter what he does, the Democratic nominee still has that old article to show in negative ads over, and over, and over. O'Donnell can work his butt off trying to re-position himself on the issue, but it's going to be hard for him to convince voters who see the ads featuring his old article on getting rid of Social Security. Sometimes in politics an issue just seems to stick to a candidate, for better or for worse, but it usually doesn't happen this soon to someone who doesn't have to run in a primary. It looks like poor O'Donnell has plenty to work on before the Democrats decide on their candidate for congress.
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