Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 28, 2010

CHRISTINE O'DONNELL'S MARK KIRK PROBLEM.... Extremist Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell (R) has a record of quotes and beliefs that make it awfully difficult to take her seriously. But the Delaware candidate has made an effort to boost her credibility by pointing to her associations with prestigious universities, including having "Post Modernism in the New Millennium" at the "University of Oxford."

Greg Sargent reports on the problems with the academic claims.

[I]t turns out that was just a course conducted by an institution known as the Phoenix Institute, which merely rented space at Oxford. [...]

By itself, O'Donnell's Oxford claim might not matter too much. But the larger context is that O'Donnell has already been nabbed fudging her education record not once, but twice. She claimed for several years to have graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University, but she actually obtained her bachelor's degree last summer. And in a lawsuit she suggested she was trying for a Master's degree courses at Princeton -- but subsequently acknowledged she hadn't taken a single Princeton graduate course.

OK, so when O'Donnell said she studied at Oxford, that appears to be a lie. When she said she had earned a degree before she actually had, that was a lie, too. When she pointed to post-grad work at Princeton, that was also a lie.

I suspect O'Donnell is rather self-conscious about the fact that she's not very bright, and has very little working knowledge or understanding of any subject, so it becomes necessary for her to, Mark Kirk-like, fabricate a background that doesn't exist. It's kind of sad, actually.

But I'd extend the larger context a little more, and note that O'Donnell has presented herself to the public as someone who's borderline obsessed with telling the truth in all instances. In one of her more notorious TV appearances, she insisted that "telling the truth is always the right thing to do, I believe, and that's what always gets you out of a situation."

Asked if she would lie to Nazis during World War II who showed up at her door looking for homes harboring Jews, O'Donnell replied, "You never have to practice deception."

Unless, apparently, you're trying to deceive people about your academic background.

Steve Benen 12:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (25)

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....[Spudette:]"You never have to practice deception."

[SB:]Unless, apparently, you're trying to deceive people about your academic background.

Doubt if the MSM comes close to that. Brilliant!

Posted by: Bob M on September 28, 2010 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

The only Oxford she could get into would be loafers.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on September 28, 2010 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Ms. Redshift teaches at a local community college, and one thing she's observed is that the students who cheat are invariably the ones who are not bright enough to cheat well. (If they were, they wouldn't have to try to cheat to pass.)

Posted by: Redshift on September 28, 2010 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

C'mon, now; there's no need for such incivility and rudeness. There's a simple and obvious explanation for the apparent discrepancy:
talking about one's own educational accomplishments is mere gossip, and so a tiny bit of creative embellishment is of no import, and attempting to make an issue of it just shows how desperate the libs /LIEberals / hippies and Dumbocraps / Dimocrats / Dhimmicrats are.
But concealing Jews from Nazis -- there you go with the Nazis again; really, is that all you stupid liberals ever think about? I guess so, since they were, by their own admission, "National Socialists." Just like you.
Where was I?
Oh yeah -- concealing Jews from Nazis is serious business, and you never lie about something serious.

In anticipation of the impending new reality in Washington, I've been working real hard on my wingnut; how do you think I'm doing?
Must say, though, the accent's a bitch. I just can't get that damn draaawwwwwl raaghhht, no matter how much I watch those "Beverly Hillbillies" clips on the YouTube.

Posted by: smartalek on September 28, 2010 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Churchillian? Truth is precious, it must be protected by many, many lies...

Posted by: golack on September 28, 2010 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Not only does she seem to be sensitive to her own lack of intellectual and academic prowess (therefore lying about it), she also seems to be sensitive to others noticing her penchant for lying, and therefore and ironically, emphasizes honesty as a talking point.

With O'Donnell, saying it makes it so. And just saying it magically changes the truth that she is a dimwitted liar.

But she is cute with nice teeth, and she lies for the right people and for Jesus. That is all the fundie wingers need to know.

Posted by: jcricket on September 28, 2010 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

I'll say one thing for the republican party, they have great depth in their potential field of presidential candidates for 2012...

We probably should add Ms. O'Donnell to the short list of highly qualified candidates for the rethug nomination. She is right up there with Palin, Pence, Engle, and a large field of highly stupid candidates who are not afraid to make things up to meet their political needs.

O'Donnell is still a dark horse candidate. However, I am ready to trade in my 'Palin in 2012' button for a 'Pence & Palin in 2012' button! Looking for that button with a subtitle of 'Why take one P when you can P twice!'

The new motto for republican presidential candidates is "We may be really stupid, but not if you compare us to our base!"

Posted by: SadOldVet on September 28, 2010 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Delusions are 'the truth' to her.

Posted by: TheBigRagu on September 28, 2010 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

All these folks with less than stellar pasts, need only turn to Henry Ford:

"History is more or less bunk. It's tradition. We don't want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker's dam is the history we made today."

Posted by: DAY on September 28, 2010 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Asked if she would lie to Nazis during World War II who showed up at her door looking for homes harboring Jews, O'Donnell replied, "You never have to practice deception."

The reason she wouldn't have had to lie to the Nazis is that she would never have harbored Jews in the first place.

Posted by: Col Bat Guano on September 28, 2010 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

@ SadOldVet

You forgot to include Jan Brewer, who's density of stupid broke my meter.

She's my new fav for gauging how fast the U.S. will slide to second rate status.

Posted by: Oh my on September 28, 2010 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Time to update my resume! I am going to follow the O'Donnell school of education and claim I have a MBA, after all, I was registered for grad school 27 years ago but then got a job offer in another state before taking one class. But that's just semantics right?

Posted by: Joe D on September 28, 2010 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Am I the only one to notice the irony of O'Donnell lying to bolster her academic cred; when her most rabid supporters are turned off by those with all that high-falutin' book-learnin and such?

Posted by: bikelib on September 28, 2010 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Don't make me defend this lunatic again. Stop with the 'she lied about her college degree' stuff. She couldn't pay off her bill for a while, that is a problem for millions in this country, especially those people blogs like this one claim to care about the most. If she lied about Princeton and Oxford, call her out - that's fine. But stop with this she's a liar because she only finished all her course work but didn't have her diploma crap. THis woman's record has enough holes in it without playing into that snobbery. She has said and done some crazy stuff this decade too, which is why I don't understand why everyone cares about her 90's persona, except that Bill Maher put her on TV a bunch.

Posted by: me on September 28, 2010 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK


For several years she's claimed to have GRADUATED from that college when she hasn't until just recently. In my world, that's lying.

Like Kirk, this woman is a congenital liar. Why you feel a need to defend it is beyond me.

Posted by: bdop4 on September 28, 2010 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Again -- a university doesn't not issue a diploma because you haven't paid your tuition bill. They might hold onto it until you paid your library fines or some such, but not for the tuition bill you took a loan on. That argument's a no-go. It's more likely they didn't issue a diploma because of that pesky class she didn't take until 17 years later. Without the correct number and kinds of credits, you don't graduate. Very simple. The problem isn't the diploma, it's the lie.

Posted by: Fess on September 28, 2010 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

This is pretty easy stuff. How does one not remember if/where/when they went to college? Why IS ANY MEDIA outlet letting her get away with this? WHy isn't there a followup -

" So you don't recall whether you studied at one of the most prestigious universities IN ANOTHER COUNTRY ???"

"Have you taken drugs?"

I mean, c'mon.

Posted by: bigtuna on September 28, 2010 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

If you want to play semantic games, O'Donnell had her ABD from Fairleigh Dickinson, "D" referring to diploma, not dissertation. She didn't get her diploma until recently. However, instead of saying that she had her degree, an honest person would have said, "I finished the course work, but don't have my degree yet." Anything else is "practicing deception."

On the other hand, trying to pretend that a course from the Phoenix Institute at Oxford counts at all as an Oxford course is not in any way justifiable. And I bleed light blue (Cambridge) as well as maroon, so my opinion of Oxford is similar to my opinion of tu.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on September 28, 2010 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

To be fair, if she'd been in the situation, she would have also told the Nazis that Anne Frank had studied at Oxford.

Posted by: biggerbox on September 28, 2010 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Remember, the Tea Partiers often believe they're the modern torch bearers for Ayn Rand's philosophy of uber-selfisheness and megalomania. At the end of Atlas Shrugged, she writes:

"I trust that no one will tell me that men such as I wrote about don't exist. That this book has been written--and published--is proof that they do."

By creating a story/fiction/lie, the author of it makes it become true and factual. If Christine O'Donnell states something, the fact that she stated it proves it to be truth in her Randian universe. Therefore, it is impossible for her to lie. Thus sayeth Ayn and evermore shall it be.

Posted by: GringoNoraca on September 28, 2010 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

I't clear, anyone who claims to be holier than thou or a Repuglicant is a goddam liar.

Posted by: tommo on September 28, 2010 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK


O'Donnell didn't finish her course work, that's why she didn't get her degree. She quietly finished her course work last summer. The university doesn't hold your diploma because you haven't paid your student loans, they don't care about your loans.

Posted by: Unstable Isotope on September 28, 2010 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

A new word: To Kirk -- to lie about one's educational/military/work background. Example: She's kirking her college degree. Or, he kirked his combat medals.

Posted by: Athena on September 28, 2010 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

I wish college educated people would quit looking down at people with less formal education. I don't have a high school education but am successful in life anyway. Quit being snobs. No one likes puffy chested intellectuals. I'm not saying a good education is not important but some of the best leaders have no formal education. Not that long ago, parents in this country, with an eighth grade education, could handle raising eight healthy kids. Now days, quite smart eduated people can't handle two. Common sense doens't come from books. Lay of Ms. O'Donnell. She's got more common sense then most of you!

Posted by: le pelerin on September 29, 2010 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

@le pelerin: If O'Donnell has more sense than me...hmmm...you know, if that was meant to be satire, then you done good.

I strongly suspect, though, that it wasn't. And what's with the bashing of those with a college education? Jealous?

And the day O'Donnell makes sense, I will look out the window for flying pigs. I suspect that I will not have to do that for a long, long, time though.

Posted by: Marc McKenzie on September 29, 2010 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK



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