If her early results are any indication, Tonya was more accepted by international judges than her own country.
The USFSA wanted their skaters to be princess - packaged like Sumners and Fleming. Even skaters like Zayak caught a lot of heat for being too athletic. Tonya, with her fireball presence, was closer to Manley and Ito.
As an aside, I always wondered if there hadn't been the scandal, how Harding would have done in Lillehammer had she skated clean. My guess is that with the amazing short program she produced at Skate America 1993, and with a 5 or 6 triple free, she could have taken silver or bronze.