People can't stop talking about Christine O'Donnell, the unexpected victor in Delaware's Senate primary. The media has confronted the Tea Party-backed candidate with a string of gaffes from the past — her admitted dabbling in witchcraft, her declaration that homosexuals have an "identity disorder" — not to mention her fashion sense, which some say deliberately mimics Sarah Palin's red-suited, hair-tossing personal style. Commentators weigh in:
It's all about Palin: O'Donnell's appearance on the campaign trail has been an "unmistakable homage" to Palin, says Margaret Carlson at The Daily Beast. The controversial candidate "used to be a dead ringer for Elaine on 'Seinfeld,' but now she sports a "bright red suit," along with a couple of other Palin touches, like "bedhead hair and the glasses she doesn't seem to need."
Fox News is loving this: The conservative network is pushing O'Donnell as a "younger female Palin clone, who sells the whole right wing clueless cutie, warrior-of-God gimmick harder than Palin ever has been able to," says Jason Easley at Politics USA.
There's a Tea Party fashion code: The similarities are striking, notably the pairing of "ketchup red" suits with pink lipstick (more subtly matte in O'Donnell's case), says Simon Chilvers at The Guardian, but all female conservative candidates have a fairly uniform look. Palin may have popularized a "breed of power-dressing that thoroughly reeks of the 80s," but O'Donnell is hardly her first imitator.
There's one key difference: Bill Maher, who hosted O'Donnell on his "Politically Incorrect" show during the '90s — and was witness to more than one of her head-scratching comments — highlighted one dissimilarity, appearances aside: "Sarah Palin is mean and Christine is not."