Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 21, 2010

THE LEAST OF HER TROUBLES.... Christine O'Donnell, the extremist Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in Delaware, has quite a record of unhinged madness. Her background in having "dabbled into witchcraft," for example, and having a date on a "satanic altar" with "blood and stuff" seems to be generating quite a bit of interest.

That's not surprising, since most U.S. Senate candidates haven't "dabbled into witchcraft," but when looking at O'Donnell's genuinely scary worldview, there are other aspects that are even more disturbing.

"People are created in God's image," [O'Donnell said in 2006]. "Homosexuality is an identity adopted through societal factors. It's an identity disorder."

O'Donnell's suggestion that gays suffer from a psychological disorder is far worse than other comments about gays that have already gotten media attention, such as her claim that the government spent too much on AIDS and her insistence that "gays get away with so much."

While some have suggested that O'Donnell's craziest quotes came from obscure '90s-era activism, it's worth emphasizing that in 2006, while she was condemning gays as suffering from some kind of illness, O'Donnell was an announced U.S. Senate candidate. (She's run for the Senate three times in five years. Before 2010, O'Donnell was considered one of those crazy/fringe kooks who runs every cycle. This year, the Republican base decided to embrace her.)

O'Donnell's apparent background in embezzlement also seems pretty interesting.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, today filed a pair of complaints concerning Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell's use of more than $20,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses.

"Christine O'Donnell is clearly a criminal, and like any crook she should be prosecuted," CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in a release. "Ms. O'Donnell has spent years embezzling money from her campaign to cover her personal expenses. Republicans and Democrats don't agree on much these days, but both sides should agree on one point: thieves belong in jail not the United States Senate."

If the thief has an "R" after his/her name, I think the Republican establishment would disagree.

Regardless, my point is not to defend O'Donnell on the witchcraft stuff; my point is that on the list of things that makes her look like a lunatic, "dabbling into witchcraft" would seem to rank fairly low.

Steve Benen 10:15 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (38)

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I thought I was joking when a couple of days ago I said that a Tea Party candidate could get elected even if she was a Satan worshiper or embezzler, as long as she promised to cut spending, taxes and business regulations.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on September 21, 2010 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

I think that what the whole "witchcraft" episode shows is that O'Donnell suffers from an extreme lack of good judgment.

This should be the meme that gets pushed against her.

What I see is that her critics are attacking her on the whole anti-masturbation, creationist, witchcraft angle and are hoping that this makes her unappealing to the voter.

This should not be the sole avenue of attack. Her past should be used as examples of her poor judgement, and then should segue directly into her current examples of poor judgment -- tax increases for the rich, deregulation of the financial sector, dismantling the safety net, and all the other Tea Party policies that will be disastrous for America.

"If you couldn't trust her then, can you trust her now?" should be blaring from every TV.

Posted by: GOPhuckYourself on September 21, 2010 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

The silly witchcraft stuff will get way more coverage than anything else, because it is novel and interesting, and because it feeds into the existing narrative that O'Donnell is a lunatic.

Whether it will be enough to stop her is another question; 10% unemployment will create a lot of GOP officeholders this year, many of whom are spectacularly unqualified. Kind of like the ones that are already there.

Posted by: jimBOB on September 21, 2010 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Oh come on, the "witchcraft" business doesn't sound like anything worse than typical college hijinks. Didn't we all get intrigued by some silliness like the occult, or psychic powers, or UFOs at some point, even if we may be embarrassed to admit it now? Embezzling campaign funds, now, THAT'S serious.

Posted by: T-Rex on September 21, 2010 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Awww come on ...she has good teeth, nice hair , what more do you want? Adding to what Daryl McCullough said. With the approval of the Supreme Court , these lunatics will have sufficient funds to run enough ads to poison the minds of the low info voters. They will win while we watch a reality based version of Idiocracy unfold.

Posted by: john R on September 21, 2010 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK


Dabbling in witchcraft only adds to Saint Gidget's reputation.
She got tempted by the dark side, but Christ-like she overcame...

As for charges of embezzlement...
Those funds were tithes made in support of her ministry.
The faithful will consider them as alms to be used by Saint Gidget as necessary.

Posted by: koreyel on September 21, 2010 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

It's a heartwarming story of a little girl lost on an utter fringe of society, waiting until society went crazy enough to meet her.
It's a 'girl meets Satanist meets outraged Teabaggers' story.
All is forgiven. The little girl says she denied Satan, took up Jesus, wins the election, and it's the country that goes to Hell.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on September 21, 2010 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Witchcraft dabbling will go the way of AquaBuddha. If the Dems can beat this loon on issues they deserve to lose.

Posted by: martin on September 21, 2010 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

Personally I think her insistence in 2007 that scientists are creating mice with fully functioning human brains has to be near the top of the Christine O'Donnell Loony List.

Posted by: 3reddogs on September 21, 2010 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

You're missing the point!

She's some kind of Manchurian candidate from a secret conclave of Witch-Satanists.

She's under some kind of spell that causes her to say all the right the things to get elected!

And then what happens?! What?!

What time of year is it, people? It's almost Halloween!

Posted by: cld on September 21, 2010 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

I wish I'd said what Martin just said.

In fact, I probably will say it plenty.

Posted by: chrenson on September 21, 2010 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Part of reason the R's are able to command their minions and force "unified votes" are because of all the swords they hold over their congress-critter's heads.

Hence, the R's need for criminals like O'Donnell. Vote this way, or else the Beck/Limpdick media circus will metaphorically tar and feather you.

Pretty effective, wouldn't one say?

Posted by: IntelVet on September 21, 2010 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

O'Donnell is claiming she used campaign funds to pay half her rent for her residential property since it was used as campaign headquarters.

She lives in what appears to be a townhome. Has she violated any local zoning laws or codes, covenants, and restrictions that may have been in place when she purchased the property?

Posted by: flyonthewall on September 21, 2010 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone else think that it doesn't matter how crazy this crop of right wing candidates is, as long as a huge chunk of the electorate thinks that raising the marginal tax rate on the rich to Nixon-era levels equals socialism? Or that Obama is a sekrit Muslim? Or that burning Korans is okay, and Muslims who object are radical? Or that creationism should be taught in schools?

My point is, we often talk about these candidates as if they are appearing out of thin air. They're not, they reflect the electorate, and we, as liberals, should not be happy that they're getting nominated. They may not be electable this year, but the arc of politics in modern America is a short one, and it bends towards crazy.

Posted by: BrendanInBoston on September 21, 2010 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

But she looks like Sarah Palin, doesn't that count for anything ?

She is simply getting far too much air time. This witch business isn't going to work against her in Delaware, there is a large Wicca population there.

Going after her craziness isn't going to work, the Teabaggers love crazy. Ditto for her stupidity.

The best bet is to get her off the front page. This is Delaware's entertainment. Get her back to 5th page in the entertainment section where she belongs. Enough, focus man, focus. I can't remember the last Feingold story I have seen her, who is down double digits. TWM is getting pretty fricken gossipy.

Who cares about this idiot, seriously. Can we have more political stories and less entertainment ?

Posted by: ScottW714 on September 21, 2010 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

No, the point is that she is a liar.

I don't know why the press is actually taking her at her word that she "dabbled into" witchcraft, that she had a midnight picnic on a satanic altar, which was marked by blood.

It's utter bullshit. Complete fabrication. She doesn't know the first thing about witchcraft or satanism, or much of anything else apparently.

It's the ignorance and the lying, not the possibility that she was actually a witchcraft dilletante that is the problem. Once you start makin' stuff up to make yourself seem more important and interesting, it's hard to break that habit. If she came clean about it and admitted that, I could say let's move on, but she's just chalking it up to youthful indiscretion. She's just a flat out liar who jumped into the paranoia a few years back about Satanic rituals, lying in order to give herself more credibility about a contrived issue.

Posted by: ajaye on September 21, 2010 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Damnit! I also wish I'd said what BrendanInBoston just said.

Also, what SadOldVet said on May 28th.

Posted by: chrenson on September 21, 2010 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Excuse me for saying so, but I think it's utterly ridiculous for us to be making such a big deal about the whole "satanism" thing. It's based on an offhand comment in a semi-comedic context from 13 years ago about an incident or incidents from high school days. There is simply no reason to suppose from what she has said or anything else that she has ever in any meaningful way "dabbled in witchcraft."

Far, FAR more telling is her comment just three years ago in a serious discussion about genetic engineering that researchers have created mice with "fully functioning human brains." Try even to imagine the magnitude of the feeble-mindedness ignorance that would be required for ANYONE to say make such a ludicrous comment with a straight face.

Posted by: John Mallinckrodt on September 21, 2010 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, but: She's sure to be elected, since she is apparently RUNNING UNAPPOSED !

Posted by: DAY on September 21, 2010 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

That just proves she saw The Secret of NIMH on her Satanist Witch date.

Posted by: cld on September 21, 2010 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

How sad is this woman? I don't even believe her about the witchcraft. And I don't see how anyone else can, either--friend or foe.

It's the late 90s. She's a peppy junior culture warrior who stumbled into a chance to be on the teevee with Bill Maher and a bunch of other pundit-celebs. A camera is staring her in the face for 44 minutes, and she's surrounded by people who are much better than her at being funny or outrageous. They've all got hilarious stories about hanging out with Sinatra or typing up Nixon's enemies lists. Tick tock, time's running out, better grab some attention. Think, Christine, think! What's edgy and dark and guaranteed to keep the camera on me and not Elayne Boosler for ten seconds?!

"YEAH YEAH YEAH OKAY BUT DID I EVER TELL YOU GUYS ABOUT THE TIME I WAS A SATANIST? ...um... but I got better... but, uh, that's how I know Satan-worship is a huge problem in our schools. Also."

Aaaaaand... scene!

Posted by: Matt on September 21, 2010 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

St. Gidget News Network

Day: She's sure to be elected, since she is apparently RUNNING UNOPPOSED !

Will actually, TPM (aka: Saint Gidget News Network) actually has a picture showing someone named Coots or Coons or something like that...

He doesn't have nice hair.

Posted by: koreyel on September 21, 2010 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

An embezzling witch? There are still some countries on this planet where they'll burn you at the stake for that....

Posted by: S. Waybright on September 21, 2010 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

GETTING laid on a satanic altar at midnight, with or without handcuffs, sounds really HOT, especially if the guys are cute.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on September 21, 2010 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

I just can't wait for her to say "I am not a crook."

Posted by: Gregory on September 21, 2010 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

"...just as long as you spell my name right."

There's no way she can lose. The witchcraft thing? It's already being presented ans funny, almost disarmingly charming...like she's a madcap. She's been gift-wrapped and presented to the Senate, there's no real need for an election.

Maybe it would have been a good idea to ignore her. People like her live on publicity.

Posted by: SaintZak on September 21, 2010 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

So, is she sayin' that God has a penis, and He likes the ladies?

I think that's the clear implication of her assertion that we were made in God's image, and therefore homosexuality is wrong.

Posted by: jvwalt on September 21, 2010 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Batshit crazy.

Are we really going to add more looney tunes to DC?

I thought that we had enough of them already.

All politicians need to be thoroughly vetted for past tax issues.

Law makers shalt not be tax cheats.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on September 21, 2010 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK
Regardless, my point is not to defend O'Donnell on the witchcraft stuff; my point is that on the list of things that makes her look like a lunatic, "dabbling into witchcraft" would seem to rank fairly low.

Well the witching thing may be BS to you and I but---
I betcha that among the Tea addled eloctorate,
she loses more votes over Dabbling in Satan than for being a petty thief.

Posted by: cwolf on September 21, 2010 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Actually I think she fell asleep while reading "Flowers for Algernon" as a high school English assignment.

Posted by: T-Rex on September 21, 2010 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

au contraire - the witchcraft thing is clearly the looniest.

Embezzlement isn't loony, its just illegal.

Being anti-gay isn't loony, its just bigoted.

But going out on a date and climbing atop a bloody satanic altar? That, my friend, is lunacy.

Posted by: The Fool on September 21, 2010 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

all those who say bad things about christine are serial masturbators.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on September 21, 2010 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Not to put too fine of a point on it, but the embezzlement allegations aren't looney - they are criminal. I hope a grand jury is empaneled before November and stops this flaky bitch in her tracks. God forbid we have to impeach this twit and waste taxpayer dollars on human garbage like this....

Posted by: Sam Simple on September 21, 2010 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

All this talk about bringing embezzlement charges against Christine O'Donnell is just a liberal witch hunt.

Posted by: josef on September 21, 2010 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

More likely some guy told it was a Satanic altar, and told her it was really blood.

Because he thinks that will really impress chicks.

Posted by: cld on September 21, 2010 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Is it really possible to get elected to the US Senate, for god's sake, when you've got ex-aides, staffers and campaign managers coming out of the woodwork and denouncing you as a complete fraud and in it only for the money? Is it?

Posted by: sceptic on September 21, 2010 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Democrats, bloggers, and others have focused on Broomstick O'Donnell, Angle, Rand Paul, and other whackos. I'm beginning to think we should start focusing on the voters. What has brought about this combination of ignorance, misinformation, twisted logic, and inability to recognize one's own enlightened self-interest? And what can be done about it? We're on the verge of committing civic suicide. The whacked-out candidates are the pistol, but the voters are the fools pulling the trigger.

Posted by: James Conner on September 21, 2010 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

This witch business isn't going to work against her in Delaware, there is a large Wicca population there.

That is some dumbass shit.

A "large" Wicca population in Delaware is what? A dozen people?

Not to mention that Wiccans don't take kindly to portrayals of their faith as Satanic blood rituals.

O'Donnell's campaign has 99 problems, but losing the Wiccan vote ain't one of 'em.

Posted by: hamletta on September 22, 2010 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK
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