last week to become the GOP nominee in the Delaware Senatorial race, a
clown car pulled up and several bizarre O'Donnell quotes came piling
out. The most famous of these, so far, are probably her remarks on the
sure-fire comedy topics of masturbation and Satan worship.
In another era, these might have caused O'Donnell to be laughed off the
public stage. But O'Donnell's a tea party VIP, and rightbloggers defend
such people unquestioningly.
Their rapid response: There was nothing wrong with what she said, but if
you think there was something wrong with what she said, it's not her
fault, but that of the liberal media.
O'Donnell has said plenty of wacky things in her variegated
career. A former campaign manager, for example, claimed O'Donnell once
told her that Joe Biden had "tapped her phone line."
On The Bill O'Reilly Show, O'Donnell said that "American scientific
companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains." Plus, as O'Donnell is an evangelical Christian, there have been the expected, unfortunate comments about evolution, homosexuality, etc.
O'Donnell's greatest hits come from her days as a mediagenic young Jesus
freak, sent by the Lord to make the Moral Majority POV look cooler to
In 1996 O'Donnell went on MTV to lecture teens about the evils of self-pleasure.
"The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery," she
said, "and you can't masturbate without lust" -- anticipating by several
She also suggested that a man who could "please himself" had no need of
her, which we're pretty sure she also meant as a negative.
And Bill Maher recently unleashed a 1999 clip from his old show Politically Incorrect,
where O'Donnell frequently served as one of his rightwing foils. In the
clip O'Donnell appears to have attacked Halloween and, when challenged
on it, explains that she had "dabbled into witchcraft" and "one of my
first dates was [with] a witch was on a Satanic altar and I didn't know
it and, I mean, there was a little blood there..."
backed slowly away from the O'Donnell campaign. Others stuck with her,
but felt compelled to explain that she had been an impressionable young
TV pundit when she made those remarks, and didn't necessarily stand by
them anymore. ("Christine O'Donnell Clarifies Her Views on Masturbation," ran one such defense.)
But many loyalists remained inside the fort, issuing optimistic
communiques. Their big message: evil media liberals had smeared
O'Donnell by taking her comments out of context.
clip, O'Donnell is baited into her remarks: "one of the panelists on
the show criticizes O'Donnell for criticizing Halloween," apparently an
insufferable provocation. "O'Donnell responds," Malkin continued, "by
explaining that she opposes witchcraft because she has had first-hand
experience with what they do. So, she tried it. She rejected it. And she
learned from it."
And there was the nub of her argument: O'Donnell had to explain the
evils of witchcraft because the godless liberals were defending
Robert Stacy McCain
denounced the "smear" on O'Donnell, offering some jokes about
masturbation ("Also, I'd advise Maher to stop masturbating so much"),
but no explanation of his charge.
An e-mailer called him on this, and McCain answered
with "The Swiftboating of Christine O'Donnell." (He explained that
"Democrats have employed the term 'swiftboat' to describe what they
perceived to be such tactics employed by Republicans," presumably so his
readers would know that he didn't accept the cursed Democrats' opinion of swiftboating, but was using it in some double-reverse-Alinsky way.)
"What was the context?" McCain demanded. "We don't know, nor has anyone
attempted to place this video clip in its proper context. Rather, the
clip is being used to convey a clear message: 'SHE'S A TOTAL KOOK!'"
It's hard to see what context might rescue O'Donnell from this clip --
maybe she announced in some as-yet-unseen footage that she was only pretending
to believe the crap she was saying, or that it was an April Fool's
joke; her handlers haven't tried that one on us yet, but we bet they've
Thereafter McCain yelled at his emailer ("your bias against Christianity
informs your antagonism toward Christine O'Donnell") until he was
spent; in a later post,
he offered more masturbation humor, and a prediction that the subject
would blow up, so to speak, in the Democrats' faces. After all, hadn't
they made fun of Scott Brown's nude Playgirl appearance, and
hadn't he won? Therefore, a candidate who opposed masturbation as a
conduit for ungodly lust would enjoy similar support. "Being sexy is so bad
for Republicans!" chortled McCain. How O'Donnell's rants are "sexy"
eludes us, but different strokes, so to speak, for different folks.
McCain was riffing on the PUMA (and strenuously anti-Obama) site HillBuzz,
which endorsed O'Donnell ("because a victory for her would be a
colossal defeat for not just the Democrats, but for the GOP Cocktail
Party Romney Republican establishment"), and suggested she "start using
witch imagery in all of your campaign materials." Why, you might ask --
to amplify O'Donnell's PI message about the dangers of witchery? No, HillBuzz explained -- O'Donnell should come out as
a witch, at least figuratively: "O'Donnell should use every opportunity
to talk about how often strong, confident women who speak their minds
are called WITCHES," they wrote. "She should stand there and say how she
feels like a witch being burned at the stake by the Cocktail Party..."
This assumes, perhaps unfairly, that the godly O'Donnell opposes the burning of witches; maybe her policy shop is working out a position paper on this now.
At Big Hollywood, John Nolte
Hi, Chris! 'member me?
said that because TV comedians were making fun of O'Donnell rather than
President Obama, America was now a dictatorship like North Korea. Also,
"Does anyone find a young naive girl (or woman) under the influence of a
guy she digs temporarily taking a wrong turn into witchcraft," he
wrote, "even a tenth as creepy as a grown man taking his children into
Reverend Jeremiah Wright's church?" While we appreciate his courtly
defense of O'Donnell, we think this would have worked better if it were
accompanied by photographs of blood on Reverend Wright's altar. Isn't James O'Keefe back on the job yet?
claimed people who mocked O'Donnell were hypocrites, because Hillary
Clinton used to have imaginary conversations with Eleanor Roosevelt,
which is worse than Satanism, at least since Republican Senatorial
candidates started practicing it.
(Hypocrisy was a common rightblogger charge. For example, Pajamas Media's Zombie
made much of the alleged difficulty of distinguishing O'Donnell quotes
from those of Jimmy Carter -- though why O'Donnell's similarity to a man
conservatives consider the Worst American of All Time was supposed to be a point in her favor went unexplained.)
Others weren't shy about saying they'd support O'Donnell because she was
with the tea party and such people are by definition beyond criticism,
now matter how crazy they are.
"I knew next to nothing about this woman," said Dale Amon
of Samizdat, a libertarian website, "but if the statist right and left
attack someone as hard as they have her, I get a strong suspicion I
might like her a lot. She certainly hits the Austrian economics and
small government buttons in my soul." Maybe Amon really does know next to nothing about her, and if he learned of her desire to get prayer and Bibles back in schools, he might be less excited -- though, given the thumbs-up
major libertarians have been giving the tea party, maybe he's just
letting that slide. (Tax breaks for the rich first and foremost -- then we worry about religious freedom!)
"Frankly, if O'Donnell's going to go to Washington and vote against the
continuation of massively expensive failures, union bailouts and Marxist
takeovers," said Doug Powers,
"I couldn't care less if she spent the better part of the 1990's
buggering barnyard animals and snorting pixie dust." Don't speak too
Really, this gets at the heart of O'Donnell's appeal to rightbloggers:
She's cute, she has a nice smile, and (most importantly) she's extremely
right-wing. For the most part, therefore, rightbloggers will defend her
no matter what she's said. (She's playing it closer to the vest now, of
course -- at her website, her positions on the issues are mostly gooey one-liners.)
And why not? You don't see them fretting when a tea party leader jokes about killing gays. Or when a tea party House candidate claims the idea of the separation of church and state comes not from Thomas Jefferson but from Adolf Hitler. Or when a tea party gubernatorial candidate sends out racist e-mails. If insanity is not precisely the raison d'etre
of the modern conservative movement, it is certainly no impediment to
its success -- which may be why, when people notice it in their
candidates, their first response is not to apologize, but to demand that
those who noticed do so.