Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 17, 2010

O'DONNELL'S BANDAID COMES OFF SLOWLY.... Christine O'Donnell's (R) Senate campaign in Delaware is running into the same problem we saw with Sharron Angle's (R) campaign in Nevada -- an extremist candidate who wasn't taken seriously suddenly wins a primary, starting a race to find the most ridiculous things the candidate has said in public.

With Angle, the bandaid was ripped off slowly (and in some cases, isn't quite done), with humiliating examples dribbling out over weeks, each generating a story reinforcing the Senate hopeful's radical qualities. With O'Donnell, the same dynamic is playing out the same way.

One day, a humiliating list of examples of O'Donnell's extremism comes to light. A day later, there's another. On the third day, it gets even worse.

Indeed, the new parlor game seems to be trying to choose the single craziest thing Christine O'Donnell has said in public. Looking only at examples that came to light over the last 24 hours, we have this gem from an interview with Bill O'Reilly on Fox News:

"American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains. So they're already into this experiment."

There was also the CNN interview in which O'Donnell touted the Biblical family structure in which women should be subservient to their husbands.

"This is a biblical doctrine. And the passage from the Bible the Baptist article is taken from talks about a submissive family. And yet, what the media seems to be reacting to is the word 'submit' in the wives. But yet, even in, Mary, your introduction, you ignored or you left out where it says they graciously submit to a servant leader. And that is God's design for the family. It is not about dominating and it is not about being a slave to your husband."

There was also a C-SPAN appearance in which O'Donnell suggested President Clinton was involved with Vince Foster's death, which she baselessly described as a "murder":

"I think it's very interesting that President Clinton has come on a lot more charges and a lot more serious charges than what Newt Gingrich is being charged on, yet we're not making as big of an issue, we're not forcing that he go to trial. We're not giving people like Paula Jones a fair trial, we're not giving the case of Vincent Foster a fair trial -- when there is a lot more empirical evidence that Clinton is involved in wrongdoing."

There was also the MSNBC interview in which O'Donnell attacked condoms:

"[C]ondoms will not protect you from AIDS. So to just throw a bunch of condoms over to Africa and say, here, we're helping you with AIDS, is just going to further the spread of AIDS over there."

In fairness, O'Donnell now believes her worldview has "matured" over the years, and some of these quotes are from the '90s. Then again, her belief that scientists have created mice with fully functioning human brains was stated in 2007, which wasn't that long ago.

For many credible candidates with professional operations, research is done months in advance, so campaigns knows what's coming and can even leak out bad news before the race enters the home stretch. But O'Donnell is just a fringe activist, who happens to be a major party U.S. Senate nominee, who we'll continue to get to know over the next several weeks.

Steve Benen 9:55 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (46)

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We don't have to rely on years-old material. She said plenty of crazy stuff at last night's debate. A small sample is here, "Christine-isms."

Posted by: Unstable Isotope on September 17, 2010 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

So, why has she been able to raise more than $1 million between Tuesday night and Thursday? Is this the measure of how many truly crazy people are out there? All of us in the rest of the country have to hope that the good people of Delaware will soundly reject this woman and her ideas regardless of how much corporate or national money her campaign raises.

Posted by: withay on September 17, 2010 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

Well, look-- she's not too bright, she's got bad judgment, she's credulous, she's a rigid ideologue. I think the point that needs to be made, as clearly as possible, is that the combination of these less-than-sterling qualities means she'd be a gruesomely bad Senator.

Posted by: MattF on September 17, 2010 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

Given that O'Donnell was elected by human voters to be the GOP nominee for U.S. Senator from Deleware, I would say her idea that there are mice with "fully functioning human brains" is not so farfetched. There is a great deal of variability in "fully functioning human brains" and some of the recent election results suggest that some do not function above the level of your typical lab mouse.

Posted by: Terry on September 17, 2010 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

O'Donnell is absolutely right to take on Bill clinton. There are many unanswered questions surrounding the Clinton presidency, and they have nothing to to with condoms.

Posted by: Al on September 17, 2010 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

UI: I was just going to link to your live-blogging from last night's candidate's forum -- and recommend Delaware Liberal as one of the best state-oriented sites around.

I'll just mention your delightful catch of her demanding troops and a fence across the border between the US and Canada. (After all, Canada is a 'pipeline for terrorists.')

(Haven't checked this morening to see, was that forum broadcast and do you have the actual tape of it up?)

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on September 17, 2010 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

I'm looking forward to the season premier of Bill Maher's Real Time tonight. He knows O'Donnell and has had her as a guest many times.

Posted by: nisl on September 17, 2010 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, I've got to say that with regard to Sharron Angle, I'm always puzzled by your reference to the "problem" with her campaign? What is that problem? That she's going to win by single digits rather than double digits?

This country is crazy right now. As I've said on my blog, the only problem Christine O'Donnell has is that she's running in one of the few states where someone as barking mad as she is probably can't win. And I stress the "probably."

Posted by: Steve M. on September 17, 2010 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

If anyone wonders how she got $1 million, there are people out there who will send money to ANY candidate who pisses off the Liberals and Democrats.
If Satan ran for office, he'd get a ton of money if he pissed off the left, especially from the ultra-Christian crowd.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on September 17, 2010 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

I should qualify that last comment by saying 'the real Satan,' not this crowd of Dominionist wanna-be's.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on September 17, 2010 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK


Thanks for the plug! Local news station WDEL has released some of the tape. I'm waiting to see if we can get the whole audio at least. You all should really check out Glen Urquhart, too, he's just as nutty as O'Donnell.

Posted by: Unstable Isotope on September 17, 2010 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

That comment may very well be one of the most accurate statemente that I've ever read.

Posted by: Gandalf on September 17, 2010 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Her statements about evolution are truly appalling. Her understanding the the physical and biological world are shockingly bad, and a real sad statement on our educational system. That 30,000 people would vote for her, and that people would give her money is a very very sad statement.

And remember kids. Senators vote on treaties; confirm presidential appointees, and get to place holds on any legislation! If any one of these nutjobs gets in, I will revisit my application for a maple leaf card ....

Posted by: bigtuna on September 17, 2010 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

The entire Judeo-Xtian-GOP-Conservative cabal is proof of the successful infusion of the Cro-Magnon brain into lemmings.

Posted by: Chopin on September 17, 2010 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

Only Christine O'Donnell has the courage to expose the vast conspiracy of super intelligent mice plotting on taking over our government! And you people mock her for taking on this vital issue at the risk of her own life! Next, you'll be making fun of David Icke!

Posted by: Just Dropping By on September 17, 2010 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

The only thing any of this proves is that a lot of you folks, Democrats, are just jerks. Instead of spending time advancing and selling your vision and philosophy to the country, you yet again spend your time making fun of someone.

@Prup: I guess O'Donnell will just have to nominated by Obama and become head of Homeland Security in order to be allowed to screw up talking about the Canadian border.

@Benen: so she said "fully functioning". BFD. It's pretty easy to misread/miscomprehend scientific stuff when you're not a scienties. Let he/she who has never done this cast the first stone.

also, how many states did Obama say are in the US again?

You folks are just jerks, plain and simple.

Posted by: Observer on September 17, 2010 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sick of all these Palin bitches. What's the difference between Sarah Palin's mouth and Sarah Palin's cunt? Retarded shit only came out of her cunt once.

Posted by: Paulie Carbone on September 17, 2010 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with Steve M. It's looking like a win for Sharron Angle in Nevada--a single-digit win is still a win. I don't discount O'Donnell's chances at all.
I'm no Palin fan--far from it--but Paulie Carbone's post has no place in a civil discussion.

Posted by: David on September 17, 2010 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

I'll pick up the gauntlet and cast the first second and third stone. And you want to know why? Your an ignorant fuck. Your kind of selfish greedy small minded nonsense will make this country a worse place for my daughter. Hell you assholes will make this whole planet a worse place.
My guess is that you and your kind still beleive the earth is flat and that the sun revolves around the earth in spite of scientific evidence to the contrary.
You don't have to be a scientist(which I'm sure you consider to be a dirty word) to pay attention.
I used to be a republican until I found out how much utter disregard they have for their fellow man. Unless of course that fellow has a lot of money , some of which he's willing to throw at feckless politicians.

Posted by: Gandalf Gan@gan.com on September 17, 2010 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Is it a school holiday or something. Seems like we should be checking ids in the comments section.

Posted by: Scott F. on September 17, 2010 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Laugh at your own peril. They are going to throw so much money at this stupid opportunist with good teeth that she will win . The airwaves will be blanketed with negative ads on her opponent swift boating him at every opportunity. Thank god I don't live in Delaware. She can and will win as they sway and motivate the lo info voters.

Posted by: john R on September 17, 2010 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Over at slactivist, Fred Clark lays out considerably more O'Donnell fruitcake as an appetizer, before pointing out that for several years she has apparently been living off campaign contributions in lieu of other income.

This is completely illegal, and she belongs first in court, and then (if convicted) in prison, not in the House.

Posted by: joel hanes on September 17, 2010 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, yeah -- not only does O'Donnell (predictably) oppose Roe v Wade, Fred points out that she opposeses Griswold v Connecticutt. You know, the decision that found a right to privacy, and that ensures that states cannot restrict access to contraception. (Before Griswold, unmarried women could not purchase The Pill in some states.)

Posted by: joel hanes on September 17, 2010 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

@Gandalf: that was actually a pretty good rant.

What kind of "selfish greedy small minded nonsense" are you referring to?

I'm the one who has been constantly imploring Dems to go out and sell their vision to the rest of the country instead of wasting time making fun of people.

The entire problem with the Democrat party is people such as yourself. You divide the world into two tribes and if someone is even halfway critical then you assume that person is on the other team and start making things up. You have no basis for any of the silly accusations you make about me.

Why can't you folks just spend time selling your vision instead of making fun of people? Do you think this has helped any?
- The health care bill was a failure. All 22 other Western/rich countries have universal health care at roughly half the cost of the US.
- The Supreme court is now and will be ruled by republicans for the next 20 years.
- 22 or so states are rolling back abortion right.

I could list an almost endless list of Democratic party failures.

If you folks spent half as much time selling base line philosophy as you do making fun of people then we wouldn't have to have Digby writing about conversations like this about Social Security taking place in the country.

But, no, you folks are too busy making fun of people to deign to talk to the little people and too stupid to know when someone is on your side and trying to help.

Posted by: Observer on September 17, 2010 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

"But, no, you folks are too busy making fun of people to deign to talk to the little people and too stupid to know when someone is on your side and trying to help."

Dude, you're an ass.

Posted by: Paulie Carbone on September 17, 2010 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, she's employing the 'youthful indiscretion' defense. That's never worked for anyone.

Posted by: doubtful on September 17, 2010 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

UI: No thanks necessary. I have been arguing recently that the 'national Left blogosphere' has become so 'Village-ified' that it has been existing in its own bubble this campaign, and that, to really know what is happening people should be looking more at state-centered ones. And Delaware Liberal is -- along with My Left Nutmeg, The Blog for Arizona and a few others -- the best of the bunch.

I know full well about Urquel, and have quoted his 'Nazi' quote several times.

(And I will get caught up on my state-by-state posting over the weekend.)

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on September 17, 2010 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

OK, Steve, I'll bite. You listed four crazy things O'Donnell said. Aside from the mouse-brain thing, they're all pretty standard, mainstream Republican positions. I'm betting on the mouse-brain one to become their next talking point.

I'm a big fan of snark, obviously. But snark alone will not win or hold Democrats' seats. Actual popular policy plans fighting for the poor and middle class in the midst of this recession -- if Democrats produced those, if they fought for the people who elected them, they might hold on. But all this Tea Party mockery -- deserved as it is -- reminds me all too much of Democrats who were sure that Ronald Reagan was much too ridiculously clueless to get elected. And boy, George W. Bush was sure stupid, ha ha, no one would vote for him twice. And a Republican Senator from Massachusetts? LOL!

Posted by: Tom Allen on September 17, 2010 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

On some points I agree with you but ya know Paulie Carbone's right. Dude your a jackass. I don't really care which party run sthe dountry as long as they are competant and at least try to show a modicum of concern for their constituents. Unless you have your head so far up your ass that you need a window in your stomach to see where your going you'd have to at least make a small effort to notice who the culprits are that are fighting like madmen to hurt the american people. At some point in time you have to get off the fence.

Posted by: Gandalf on September 17, 2010 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK


For the record, someone like Paulie Carbone (see his *first* comment referring to Palin) is probably never right about anything.

And Gandalf, the culprits are the Democrats, depending on what question is being asked.

If the question is "why are there stupid laws in America" then the culprits are the Republicans.

If the questions is "why hasn't something been done about it" then the culprits are the Democrats.

You cannot sit there and complain about the Repubs being a-holes, retards, shills for billionaires, killing poor people etc and then in response sit back and make fun of people. Dude, that's not a rational response.

Take the case of O'Donnell. Her opponent Coons has a 52% plurality in the polls. So she cannot close the gap. So there's no point to wasting time on her. Just let the Delaware election people do their thing.

But instead, *every single Democrat controlled media outfit* be it a blog or something else, is caught up point out her silliness. Yes, it's fun but she was 23 when she was on MTV with the masturbation stuff. Obama admitted he did cocaine when he was 20. Which is worse? Nobody freaked out about that.

In the link to Digby, she laments that's about the misinformed voter regarding Social Security. Here's a link to Somerby about that.

So the "professional left" had a choice: it could spend it's time talking to America about two-time loser who's going to lose again or it could spend it's time trying to correct the record about what's going to happen to the gov't program when everybody retires. You folks go for the snark every single time. It's actually a twofer because when SS gets gutted, you can snark on about how the average voter is so stupid to have fallen for the misinformation.

So it's not me who needs to get off the fence. It's you. People like Benen are enablers.

Benen has written more posts about Christine O'Donnell then Democrats have spoken about Social Security mistruths on, say, CNN. Benen has written more posts about Rand Paul than all the posts combined he has written about progressive Democratic candidates.

Again, it's not me. It's you. Quit making fun of people. Start trying to convince the voters of what you believe in.

Posted by: Observer on September 17, 2010 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

So, why has she been able to raise more than $1 million between Tuesday night and Thursday? Is this the measure of how many truly crazy people are out there? All of us in the rest of the country have to hope that the good people of Delaware will soundly reject this woman and her ideas regardless of how much corporate or national money her campaign raises.

Regardless of whether she wins or loses, this is exactly the problem with this country.

Posted by: jackything on September 17, 2010 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK
. . . infusion of the Cro-Magnon brain into lemmings

Anthropology fail. Cro-Magnons were fully modern humans with brains, on average, slightly larger than our own. (Timesonline: Cro Magnon skull supports theory that human brains have begun to shrink). Neanderthal brains were also as large as ours, though perhaps configured a bit differently.

Homo erectus, though -- now there's a model for the modern teabagger brain. Or maybe Australopethecus; I can't decide.

Posted by: noncarborundum on September 17, 2010 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

The cherry picking and "quoting" of the Bible is the cheapest trick in town..

This lady, the media and the people who want her in the Senate are insane..

America: Epic Fail No. 23,972 and ounting!

Posted by: God's Trollop on September 17, 2010 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Chritine O'Donnell - Forty-One year old Virgin.

I mean, she's never been married right? And she believes in abstinence before marriage?

So, right? The Tea Party's Virgin Sacrifice?

Posted by: Lance on September 17, 2010 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

So for you Obsrever pointing out the deficiencies of people who are hellbent on destroying us is irrelevant? The voters don't seem to be showing the ability to discern between good and bad simply by saying were good and we're gonna help you out with all of our great ideas. Sometimes you have to call a spade a spade. But on the other hand at this site it's really not going to change anybody's mind.

Posted by: Gandalf on September 17, 2010 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

There are likely a lot of voters in her state that voted for her and a lot of teatard types that gave her money just because Sarah Palin "endorsed" her. There are likely also a few that voted and gave because they wanted to "send a message" or whatever. I would hazard a guess that they had not a clue about how crazy she was. Of course a certain percentage of them they won't care because they are just as crazy. But I wonder what the next couple of weeks will bring her?

Posted by: ET on September 17, 2010 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK


But did you even *read* the Digby link? The problem is that politics is a sales jobs; you need to get people to vote for you.

The Repubs are always out there trying out their silly salespersons lies, just like a lot of sales people do. The Democrats do not try to sell voters anything. Making fun of O'Donnell doesn't sell the voter anything.

They just sit back and make fun of the Republican as he/she is going around trying to make the sale. This strategy has been a losing strategy for 40 years now.

So you get things like Obama creating a commission to gut SS because he just "knows" that it's in crisis. No one challenges this false fact.

You really should read the Somerby link and the Digby link.

If, one by one, so-called progressives start to acknowledge that you have to actually go out and try and make a sale, then things will improve. Unfortunately, there's too much money in making fun of people.

Posted by: Observer on September 17, 2010 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Observer/Paulie Carbone: Why are you posting under both these handles?

Posted by: on September 17, 2010 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, scientists have been doing this since before Lady O'D's parents sinned. The proof of course is her fully functioning MOUSE brain

Posted by: cwolf on September 17, 2010 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

I'm confused about why everyone seems to think this is her first general election campaign. This is the 2nd time she's been the Delaware GOP candidate for Senate, the first being just 2 years ago.

Posted by: zahadum on September 17, 2010 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

...they graciously submit to a servant leader.

This is what the conservatives are all about. If you want freedom, graciously submit to your conservative leadership.

And these people have the gall to lay claim to "liberty."

Posted by: chrenson on September 17, 2010 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

The woman is batshit crazy. That there are people who will vote for her we already know. That she will be supported we also know. The question is why does the reality based community spend so much time wringing its hands and lamenting her candidacy? Why are we always in reaction mode? Might it be because we don't have attractive candidates or a resonating message?

Sure, find all the stupid things she's done and said, but giving the Palins, Angles, Bachmanns, O'Donnells, and their male counterparts, all the media attention is equally stupid.

Posted by: rrk1 on September 17, 2010 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

And Paulie, that Palin comment sounds like something a conservative would say. It's beneath you and everyone here.

Posted by: chrenson on September 17, 2010 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Hmm. Comment thread is a bit more acrimonious than usual...

Obviously the O'Donnell thing is a bit of a fluke and there probably shouldn't be too much effort expended on it. One Dem seat now easily saved but a lot of other work to do.

That being said, C O'D is a bit of a fascinating creature. I had the seen the quote yesterday about biblical wifely subservience and chalked it up to standard born-again sort of thinking, and then I saw this in her wikipedia entry:

"In 2003, O'Donnell moved to Delaware to work for the conservative Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) in Hockessin, and bought a house in Wilmington. She registered a gender discrimination complaint against ISI with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), after which she was terminated by ISI in 2004. She then sued the institute in the federal court for $6.9 million for wrongful termination claiming that she had been fired in retaliation for filing the discrimination complaint and due to ISI's conservative philosophy that women must be subordinate to men."

(The sourcing is Delaware Online/Daily Record and the Weekly Standard, FWIW)

The level of cognitive dissonance in this (mouse) brain must be off the charts.

Oh, and the wiki (again sourced to the Daily Record) also answers the virginity question: she is NOT a 41 year old virgin.

Posted by: cthulhu on September 17, 2010 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

I do want to thank the Republicans for making the elections of 2010 the most interesting one I have EVER had the privilege of participating in!
Not the sanest, perhaps...
Oh, and Observer, there's the old saying: "Actions speak louder than words." Maybe it's the reason some Democrats aren't out "proselytizing" as much as you wish; they are presuming the voters can also see what they see; possibly a mistake, but there it is. I do know that saying summarizes why I support the Democrats.
That and "You're known by the company you keep"...

Posted by: Doug on September 17, 2010 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody would know better than Christine about the mice with fully functioning human brains. I mean, if you had escaped from such a program, how hard would it be to get a human body to conceal the fact that you were a really, really smart mouse?

Posted by: Mark on September 17, 2010 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK



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