Teabagger sweetheart and losing candidate for the U.S. Senate in Delaware Christine O'Donnell is back in the news in a big way. This week, she appeared on Piers Morgan's show to promote her book, which is titled Troublemaker. Gee, I wonder if she took a page from Sarah Palin's Going Rogue? Its an unfortunate title, and probably quite inaccurate. Did she really cause trouble? She was hardly taken seriously. Her gaffes were worse than Palin or Bachmann. The biggest being the news that she had told Bill Maher on the Politically Incorrect talk show back in the late 1990s that she had "dabbled in witchcraft" when she was younger. This revelation automatically branded her as the Sabrina-type witch and late night talk show hosts had a lot of fun with it.
Even though Christine O'Donnell is now part of the "Tea Party" and through this astroturf movement that came into existence one month after the inauguration of our first black president, she is associated with Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, my personal gut feeling about O'Donnell is that her heart is in the right place. She has neither Palin's vindictive diva streak nor Bachmann's emotional coldness and rigid ideology. Yes, O'Donnell is a Christian activist and a conservative, but she is completely adorable and likable and doesn't appear to have a mean bone in her body. She's the epitome of sweetness and "the girl next door."
In college, I watched Nightline and Politically Incorrect religiously. I remember her on the show because while I did not agree with her views, she came across as a likable lady who had the Katie Couric cuteness factor going for her. She wasn't a raving ideologue like Ann Coulter, who has always scared me by her harshness (I've read that Coulter has a following among single, young Republican males who just love her and for the life of me, I can't see what they see in such a gangly, ugly-looking, unfunny, lying propagandist). O'Donnell was someone I could see being friends with, despite our political and religious differences.
Last year on the campaign trail, Bill Maher wanted his old friend to appear on his weekly show. He used blackmail, which did not work. He said that he would release an old clip of one of her kookier comments each week until she appeared on Realtime with Bill Maher. That's how the public came to know about her views on masturbation (that she considers it adultery if a married person does it) and her dabbling in witchcraft where she had went on a date with a Wiccan priest where they had a picnic on "Satan's altar" with blood all over the place. Bill Maher did the country a favour by exposing her and rendering her unelectable. All her candidacy did was prevent the Republican Congressman Mike Castle from a promotion to the Senate, as everyone expected him to easily do. Congressman Castle's popularity in Delaware (which only has one member of the House of Representatives since it is one of our smallest states in both size and population) practically guaranteed a promotion and it was enough to scare off Beau Biden (the son of the Vice President) from seeking the Democratic nomination to face him in the general election.
The extremist views of the Tea Party meant that they were able to affect the Republican primary and elevate O'Donnell over Castle. Because of the ignorant strategy of these teabaggers, Democrat Chris Coons became the unlikeliest Senator (everyone had expected him to lose to Mike Castle in the general election). That's cool, though, because what I learned about Coons, I like. He was a Reagan-loving college student who did a study abroad program in Kenya and based on what he saw and experienced in Kenya, he returned to the U.S. a committed Democrat. Rush Limbaugh tried to paint Coons as a "bearded Marxist" based on a college editorial he had written for his school's paper. I'm certain that Senator Coons has no hard feelings at all against O'Donnell. He owes his promotion to her and the teabaggers.
Christine O'Donnell made news for walking out of the interview after Piers Morgan asked questions she did not want to answer. His first question that "offended" her was about her views on gay marriage. To O'Donnell's credit, she said that she did not want to talk about it because there was no current legislation about it and she was not an elected official. Fair enough. However, Piers kept pushing the issue and Christine got more irritated. She wanted to talk about her book and Piers claims that gay marriage is in her book, though she did not seem to verify that. She called him rude for pushing the issue.
Remarkably, she actually asked him: "Don't you think as a host that if I say that's what I want to talk about that's what we should address?"
He responded, "Not really, no."
When he asked about her views on gays in the military, she decided to end the interview, saying that there was some other event she was planning to attend at the same time, so she bagged out of there.
Wow. I'm almost speechless. This represents how deeply ingrained the Fox Propaganda Network has become for rightwing candidates. They expect softball questions and deference, even a fawning media (such as Palin's relationship with Greta Van Sustern). If someone asks a question they don't like, they pack their bags and bolt out of there like children at the neighbourhood sandbox.
Why couldn't she just answer the question? Politicians spin answers all the time and the press gets bored and moves on. But refusing to answer the question, she was only encouraging the interviewer to press the issue even more. Maybe O'Donnell figured that because ignoring questions worked for Sarah Palin in the V.P. debate, that she could get away with it to. She was there to promote her book and Piers was supposed to be a fawning promoter, asking softball questions, not controversial ones!
I'm sensing a trend. Palin, Bachmann, and O'Donnell have all gotten annoyed by the media asking them questions about issues they don't want to discuss. They don't seem to understand how the media operates. Just answer the question and if you can answer a question in a humourous way, you actually score points. Reagan was masterful of cracking a joke when asked a tough question. That was part of what made him a beloved president. These female Republican politicians all aspire to carry the mantle of Reagan, yet they lack his sense of humour. If they developed their wit, they just might be able to charm the media. Storming off the set only guarantees that O'Donnell will be remembered as a quitter who couldn't handle the heat.
I'm pretty used to questions and I love being asked questions. If I had a political career, I'd love to be asked questions about whatever the interviewer wants. I would see it as an opportunity to be creative in how I could respond. Cracking a joke often diffuses any tension or discomfort. It puts people at ease and it wins fans. People respond to humour. O'Donnell should try it next time.
The one claim that I most object to, however, is O'Donnell claiming that we are on the verge of a Second American Revolution and that the Tea Party are leading the charge. Really? If these teabaggers really believe that they are carrying on in the spirit of our Founding Fathers, they truly are as deluded as I think they are. Our Founding Fathers would roll in their graves if these imbeciles manage to sweep into power their ultra right wing agenda. The America we love would cease to exist. The teabaggers are less like the Founding Fathers and more like the people that participated in Iran's Islamic Revolution of 1979. This historical revisionism is disturbing. Our Founding Fathers were men of the Enlightenment and they valued lofty debate and compromise. Intelligence was considered a highly prized virtue. The teabaggers pride themselves on their ignorance and religiosity. They are about as opposite as you can get from our Founding Fathers. America doesn't need a second political revolution. A spiritual revolution is more important. But this doesn't mean a theocratic police state like the teabaggers seem to want.
I dream of the day when ignorance is not viewed as a badge of honour, but as a disease to be cured of through serious study. Christine O'Donnell is not a leader who could pull off another revolution. She should return to private life as soon as possible. I predict that her book will barely make a ripple. I intend to read it someday...but I won't be buying it (unless she does a booksigning at Powell's City of Books). My wish for her is to get a thicker skin. Don't be a Palin clone when you can be so much more. Your sweet disposition should be used as a force for good, rather than as a tool for the teabaggers. Best of luck to you, Christine O'Donnell.