I have been writing for nearly two years about how conservatives have to be more pragmatic in deciding whom to support for office if they expect to bring conservative governance to Washington.

A couple of weeks after the 2008 election, I wrote this:

Republicans are about ready to fall into a couple of traps that losing parties apparently can’t avoid when the dust settles following a debacle such as they have experienced the last two election cycles. The first is the belief that the reason for being rejected by the voters is that their candidates weren’t “pure” enough ideologically and that only by pushing forward “true conservatives” can the GOP find its way back.

I don’t dispute the necessity for putting up more conservatives for office. But the idea that you can have some kind of lock step litmus tests to determine who a “true” conservative might be is nuts – and counterproductive. There are plenty of competitive congressional districts where one of those “true” conservatives would get slaughtered by most Democrats. When 70% of the country does not identify itself as “conservative,” you are deliberately setting up the GOP for defeat if you advocate only “real” conservatives receive support.

There are candidates that would be completely acceptable to the vast majority of conservatives who would fail some of the litmus tests given by the base. A party that seeks to diminish its ranks by making membership dependent on a rigid set of positions on issues is a party doomed to maintaining its minority status. The Democrats made the exact same mistake in 2000 and it cost them in 2002 and 2004.

Fast forward to today and the senate race in the state of Delaware. The GOP primary features the moderately liberal, longtime GOP mainstay Mike Castle facing off against an extraordinarily flawed, but “true” conservative candidate in Christine O’Donnell.

O’Donnell is a tea party darling despite the fact that she has the ethics of an alley cat and the brains of a mouse. She is a fatally flawed candidate in so many ways that it is not even a question of supporting a RINO like Castle vs. a “true” conservative like O’Donnell. Rather, it is a question of opposing a paranoid, deadbeat, lightweight who has pulled some personal and professional financial shenanigans that would disqualify her from not only holding public office, but also being employed as a responsible manager at any legitimate company.

In a radio interview last June, she lied about not having a federal tax lien on her house despite the fact that anyone with a modest ability at using search engines could find it. When the bank threatened to foreclose on her house, serving her personally with papers, she chalked it up to a “technical error by the bank” despite the fact that once again, anyone who bothered to do a little searching could find the mortgage company’s filing.

It turns out that O’Donnell is a deadbeat. She stopped paying her mortgage in October of 2007 while the bank filed the papers in March of 2008 to seize the house. She refused to contest the case and a summary judgment of foreclosure was entered against the property in May. According to a Lexis-Nexis search, the foreclosure was “stayed” – the house had been foreclosed but the sheriff sale had not commenced – when she sold the house to her boyfriend and legal counsel who then paid the outstanding balance as well as more than $2,000 in interest and legal fees.

When questioned about all of this, she has continuously and shamelessly lied. She has attributed the tax lien to “thug politics” and actually denied the property had a lien in the first place. She denied she sold her home while it was in foreclosure despite clear evidence to the contrary.

For months, O’Donnell denied her house had ever been in foreclosure. She simply stopped making payments in October 2007 and never made any move to contest the proceedings and would not “appear, plead or otherwise defend” herself against the mortgage company filing.

The lies don’t stop there. Incredibly, she owes her employees from the 2008 campaign thousands of dollars in unpaid salary and expenses.

Aides who worked for Ms. O’Donnell’s 2008 campaign against then-Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. claim that she withheld thousands of dollars in promised salary and never reimbursed them for out-of pocket expenses.

“Once I and others found out about her personal financial crises and her degree, we left,” David Keegan, a former aide, told The New York Times on Friday. “We were constantly trying to hold her back from spending. She was financially completely irresponsible.”

Yes, but at least she wants to save Western Civilization by being opposed to doing the nasty-nasty unless your conjugal bliss occurs within the legal framework supplied by a marriage license.

O’Donnell responds to a couple of these matters here. She does not retract her past false statements claiming her house was never in foreclosure, obfuscating the issue by claiming she was accused of losing the house. The charge is that she avoided a sheriff’s sale only by selling the house to her attorney/boyfriend (the evidence that the house had been foreclosed on is iron clad, linked above). No defense against not paying her employees salary and expenses, and her explanation of why the IRS filed a tax lien against her house and why it wasn’t resolved until 2010 is ridiculous. She says she had been working with the IRS prior to the filing of the lien, proving her intent to pay her taxes and that when the issue was resolved in March of this year, the IRS admitted the lien was a “computer error.”

Proof that she was working with the IRS is proof of nothing. If she refused to pay or couldn’t come up with the taxes, the IRS would slap a lien on your property even if you were meeting with them to resolve the situation. In fact, the document she supplies shows the lien was assessed in 2006 – three years before she began to meet with the IRS to resolve the matter.

And the document she supplies that shows the IRS releasing her property contains no explanation, and especially none relating to “computer error” even though she makes that claim in her defense.

Yet, in March, rather than a letter finalizing the appeals process, I received an erroneous tax lien claiming I had not responded to their previous correspondence. The IRS admitted the letter was a mistake, issued a Certificate of Release of Federal Tax Lien on May 19, 2010 and chalked it up to a “computer error.” The remaining balance was paid in full on May 16, 2010, clearly proving yet again that my political opponent is desperate and because of which he is ignoring the facts and circulating copies of the erroneous lien to reporters and bloggers.

According to the document supplied by O’Donnell herself, the lien was assessed in 2006 for taxes owed in 2005. The letter from the IRS appeals officer only mentions efforts by O’Donnell to pay off the back taxes from 2005 beginning late last year – just about the time a candidate would begin preparing to run for office. Why does O’Donnell try and make it appear that the tax lien, in place since 2006, was only issued – erroneously – during the final stages of the appeals process early this year?

Also, if you read that letter from the IRS appeals officer, you are immediately struck by its insane incoherence. Is the IRS guy that stupid? Or were certain damning words and sentences dropped from that letter by the O’Donnell campaign? Given O’Donnell’s history of lies, either explanation is likely.

Tea party types who support O’Donnell remind me of liberal Democrats who recently praised Charlie Rangel at his birthday party. He may be a crooked sonofabitch but he’s OUR crooked sonofabitch. As long as their heart is in the right place on the issues, many personal peccadilloes can be forgiven – or ignored.

But the argument over O’Donnell doesn’t rest on her lack of integrity. How could it? Rational people residing in the state of Delaware can be counted on to take one look at O’Donnell and either stay at home on election day or hold their noses and vote for the Democrat. The argument made by the ideologues is that she is a superior conservative to Castle and deserves support no matter how personally flawed her character – or that the huge body of evidence for her lack of personal integrity is either manufactured or doesn’t exist.

I would not employ a person of such low character if I owned a company. And the fact that “real” conservatives want to send this tax avoiding, deadbeat liar to Washington who stiffs her employees out of their rightful wages, paints herself as the victim of dirty tricks when it is her own flawed character that is the cause of her miseries, and represents exactly the sense of entitlement and greed that they purport to oppose, shows that the ideologues care less about the integrity of our representatives than they do the purity of their beliefs.

RICK MORAN, Guest Voice Columnist
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