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Class as a way of understanding Christine O’Donnell and the tea party

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Liberals and Democrats are dredging up O’Donnell’s checkered past – not hard to do, since establishment Republicans already had done that in promoting US Rep. Mike Castle for the senate post. One who is not doing that is Chris Coons, O’Donnell’s Democratic opponent in the race.

“I don't think [voters are] particularly interested in statements that either of us made 20 or 30 years ago,” he said at a candidates’ forum Thursday. (Probably just as well. As a college student, Coons wrote an article titled “Chris Coons: The Making of a Bearded Marxist.”)

“I thank you for that gentlemanly approach,” O’Donnell replied.

Republicans love to tar Democrats with waging “class warfare” on things like the federal minimum wage and whose taxes to cut.

But some observers are beginning to see class as an issue within the GOP itself as it struggles to balance its traditional view of who should be in the club with the tea party insurgency that has notched significant wins over establishment Republican candidates in this year’s primary elections.

In a thoughtful and provocative column in Salon, Glenn Greenwald examines this.

“There are some reactions to the Tea Party movement coming from many different directions – illustrated by the patronizing mockery of Christine O'Donnell – which I find quite misguided, revealingly condescending, and somewhat obnoxious,” he writes, referring to O’Donnell critics of both parties.

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