Is O’Donnell Crazy, or Just a Republican?

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67 Responses

  1. Robert Cheeks says:

    …yes, but she’s not a commie-Dem. And, even in the People’s Republic of Delaware, this cycle, that may be THE salient point of the election.Report

  2. Jaybird says:

    Dude, *I* have said worse *ON THIS VERY SITE*.

    It’s not about what she said.

    It’s about what she represents.Report

  3. Michael Drew says:

    I don’t get the impression she actually cares that much about limiting government, but I’m sure she’ll vote the way they tell her to, so what else really matters?Report

  4. Mike Schilling says:

    It’s interesting that David defends her more than once with “She’s no crazier than other conservative Republicans”.

    Anyway, I don’t know why people are mad at that fellow who looks so much like Ringo Starr. Are we positive that the US isn’t behind 9/11? Politics is strange sometimes.Report

  5. Her comments on Tolkien’s anti-industrialism are easily the most interesting thing here. O’Donnell, were she not apparently unreliable, would deserve praise for winning without the support of the major coporations that dominate Delaware. While she does have a degree of financial independence from these big players, she nonetheless appears to be the usual sort of Republican who would consistently vote to advance a corporatist agenda.Report

  6. greginak says:

    “American scientific companies are crossbreeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains,” warned Delaware senate candidate Christine O’Donnell on the O’Reilly Factor in 2007.

    This is pretty crazy, well “no crazier than the other conservative Republican’s”

    I’d trust her musings on Tolkien a bit more if i could see some proof of geekitude, like a 20 sided die.Report

  7. Rufus F. says:

    I think liberals need to get away from playing the snob card, for lack of a better term. Ridicule is really tough to do right; if you’re not attuned to the opinions of your audience, you can just come off as petty and arrogant. I remember thinking that the best thing liberals could have done for Bush was making fun of how he conjugated verbs because it made everyone who has ever been inelegant in public a bit sympathetic.

    A much better strategy would be to disagree respectfully with the woman’s opinions, or better yet, not make the race about the culture war issues that everyone claims to be sick of anyway.Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to Rufus F. says:

      @Rufus F., I agree. In this case, the political environment is so extreme, and some of this stuff is so eye-grabbing (if not so crazy on examination), that I think they pretty much have to use it in a political campaign. But in general, I agree – over the long term, condescension is a horrible political strategy.Report

      • greginak in reply to Michael Drew says:

        @Michael Drew, I think condescension and demonization has worked pretty well for Faux News, Rush and the Repub’s.Report

        • Sam M in reply to greginak says:


          Has it? They lost the White House, the Senate and the House. In fact, the Dems have held an astonishing 59 seats in the Senate for some time now.Report

        • Rufus in reply to greginak says:

          @greginak, Do they specialize in condescension though? To be honest, we don’t get Fox News here, but from the few times I’ve seen it, I got the impression it was more about, “Look at how condescending they are! They think you guys are a bunch of rubes!” rather than, “Would you look at how unsophisticated those rubes are!”Report

          • Michael Drew in reply to Rufus says:

            @Rufus, It’s ressentiment that they do (and that SP perfected and now heads their industry-leading enterprise in), the inverse and complement of condescension. And it’s precisely liberals’ inability to distinguish between the two that makes them so inept at practising either, and that gets them into trouble.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Rufus F. says:

      @Rufus F.,

      I’ve never quite understood this complaint. “Sure, I think they’re commie, pro-terrorist, socialist, elitist bums who’d rather steal from successful people than do an honest day’s work, but what really bothers me is their lack of respect.”Report

      • Rufus in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        @Mike Schilling, I think the lack of respect is seen as the justification for the nefarious behavior. So, whether or not they’re really trying to use the state to micromanage your life, it seems like they would be since they don’t respect how you’re managing your own life. Rhetorically, it’s not a bad strategy at all.Report

        • Mike Schilling in reply to Rufus says:


          I suppose so. Still, calling me five different times of scum at the same time as saying that my biggest fault is failing to respect other people’s values is a bit croggling.Report

  8. Simon K says:

    Is it wrong that I like her more the more “crazy” quotes get produced? I mean she’s really starting to remind me of friends of mine … I mean, I’d never vote her into high political office, but she’s starting to seem almost interesting.Report

  9. I don’t have a huge problem with her based on the little bit i have heard. She’s easy on the eyes (hey, it’s MY criteria dammit) and she sounds more articulate than Palin did at this point in her VP run. I’m just upset that we’re going to lose Deleware (probably). Polling shows her down by 20 points. The same poll shows that if Castle were still in he would be up 20 points. 40 POINT SWING….ugh.

    I’ve always favored the Buckley approach which is to run the most rightward-leaning candidate that can win. Redstate would prefer a loss and maintenance of ideological purity. Bummer.Report

  10. Lyle says:

    The socialism comment relies on a re-definition of the word. It no longer means the communal ownership of the means of production, but a society more oriented to the community than the individual. The rights of the community override the rights of the individual in this model. Of course this basic question of community or individual is at the root of a lot of todays politics, and has been around for at least 2000 years. I found this redefinition by discussions on another board, and we must recall that we are living in a world where words mean exactly what the person saying them intends them to mean, not what the dictionary says.Report

  11. Jason Kuznicki says:

    Your section on “Health” strikes me as disingenuous. You’re basically saying that we don’t know what O’Donnell’s views about sexuality are. Who knows? — you practically declare — She could be a radical feminist. It’s a mystery!

    But we all know this to be false, and there is no mystery. The reason Christine O’Donnell dislikes abstinence is because she is a supporter of chastity, and because people who abstain after transgressing once or twice are bad people to her.

    This is not only hypocritical, because it (charitably) describes one Christine O’Donnell, but it’s also an attack on pretty much everyone who came of age after the 1960s. That fully qualifies as crazy in my book and is quite deserving of ridicule.Report

    • @Jason Kuznicki,

      It wasn’t entirely clear from what David quoted, but that’s about the opposite of O’Donnell’s position. Talking Points Memo provides helpful elaboration:

      “Not only because I think I’m right,” she said in 2004. “I know what it’s like to live a life without principle.”

      But although she believes in no sex before marriage, she has also said time and again that what she strives for is not abstinence, not virginity, but chastity.

      “I don’t encourage anyone to seek ‘abstinence.’ I cringe at terms like ‘secondary virginity’ or ‘recycled virgin.’ One of my goals is to get the body of Christ to stop proclaiming these words. I would rejoice if I never heard ‘abstinence’ from a pulpit again,” O’Donnell wrote in Cultural Dissident in 1998. “As Christians, virginity is not even our goal. Purity and holiness are our calling in Christ.”

      Making virginity the goal, she wrote, “seems to classify certain people as second-rate Christians.”

      • David Schaengold in reply to Matthew Schmitz says:

        @Matthew Schmitz, I left my comment below without seeing this one. This quote certainly clarifies her view.Report

      • Jason Kuznicki in reply to Matthew Schmitz says:

        @Matthew Schmitz,

        So what you are saying is not that she makes a distinction between lifelong and intermittent chastity — but that she makes a distinction between the mere sounds of “abstinence” and “chastity” — even though their content in morals and praxis is indistinguishable?

        How exactly is that not crazy?

        (Forgive me if I’m showing my Catholic roots here, but when one takes a vow of “chastity,” it’s for life. Or so I’d thought.)Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

          @Jason Kuznicki, Chastity is not Celibacy.

          Maribou and I have a chaste relationship. We do not have a celibate one.

          The basic idea is that God created sex and wants us to enjoy the bejeezus out of it… in terms of a life-long partnership. Chastity is something to be celebrated. Celibacy sucks.Report

          • Jason Kuznicki in reply to Jaybird says:


            Chastity is refraining from sex. Celibacy is refraining from marriage. Celibacy may also be a synonym for chastity, but this is not strictly speaking correct. Chaste marriages are those in which the partners avoid sexual intercourse.

            Do I understand you correctly that you have a marriage in which you avoid sex?Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

              @Jason Kuznicki, no, not at all.

              Celibacy is sex within very specific parameters.

              It is *NOT* abstinence.
              It is BSTINENCE.

              Full participation in the wonders of what two people can do with each other. Yes, First Base. Yes, Second Base. Yes, Third Base. Yes, Home Plate. God Yes. One Thousand Times Yes.

              And if it happens within a life-partnership marriage: IT IS STILL CHASTE.

              It ain’t celibate. Not by a damn sight. But two people who live each other in a life partnership relationship can donkey punch, spiderman, bel biv devoe, and big wiggle and it’s chaste.

              If one wants a word substitution, “monogamy” might fit (but imagine “monogamy” to be a word loaded with religious baggage).

              Maribou and I have a monogamous relationship. We have sex. It’s pretty good.

              It’s also chaste. (But it ain’t celibate.)Report

              • Jason Kuznicki in reply to Jaybird says:

                Do you really think that “monogamy” has more religious baggage than “chastity”? You’ll commonly find the word monogamy in secular scientific publications, and even abstinence. But chastity is pretty rare.

                Also, the Catholic Encyclopedia (alas, my source on such things) describes marital chastity as (at best) “imperfect,” at least if it includes sexual relations.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

              @Jason Kuznicki, no, I was asking you to imagine monogamy as having religious baggage.

              As for marital chastity being “imperfect”, I don’t know about that, being raised Babtist. We were always taught that God gave us these gifts for us to enjoy them… using the instruction manual He gave us. (This was one of the few areas where Genesis had more emphasis than Paul.)Report

        • @Jason Kuznicki,

          Yeah, I think she’s trying to acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes, and that it’s misguided to talk of “second virginity.”

          Her larger point is primarily rhetorical. She seems to fear that talking about abstinence instead of chastity (which may involve a fair amount of lovemaking, with one’s spouse) gives the impression that the Christian view is anti-sex.

          You could consider her view crazy, I suppose, but chastity (which includes sex within marriage) is certainly distinguishable from the radical support for abstinence once advocated the Shakers. Or, more recently, Morrissey.Report

    • David Schaengold in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

      @Jason Kuznicki, I’m not saying we don’t know. I’m saying I don’t know, since I’ve done no research on her apart from reading the article. Truthfully I am not sure what she’s getting at in the quote. Your interpretation is plausible, but I feel like TNR would have given us the fuller quote if that’s really what she meant, because it’s much more extreme than what we can definitely infer from the quote. But she could easily have been making a claim like “abstinence is the wrong paradigm because it’s framed as simply not doing something, as opposed to talking about ‘chastity,’ which implies a sexuality integrated into one’s whole way of living.”Report

    • Sam M in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

      @Jason Kuznicki,

      Across the board, advocating for chastity is “crazy”? I’m no advocate myself, but I hardly think that position is INSANE.Report

  12. RTod says:

    I get your basic point, David, and it’s a point well taken. But it also seems a bit cherry picked.

    I agree, for example, that saying that Obama is anti-American is, while I think silly and hyperbolic, pretty mainstream GOP. But saying that the evil scientific community is already creating mice with fully functioning human brains for some nefarious purpose? On TV, as an “expert” on ethics of science issues?

    In what world is not not totally wacko?Report

  13. Andy Smith says:

    “most people who don’t believe in evolution have no problem trusting aerodynamical engineering in practice to Science.”

    Which makes them not crazy, but definitely hypocritical.Report

  14. North says:

    Is the fact that the GOP has lowered the mean so much on the right that the views of this fruitbat are arguably “average” significant in any way? I mean a quarter of the defenses of her in this post are “hey everyone on the right is doin it”. Is that an argument for her sanity, or their collective insanity?Report

    • Jason Kuznicki in reply to North says:


      I think you’re being disrespectful. Stop it, you’re hurting their feelings!Report

    • Jaybird in reply to North says:

      @North, Fruitbat? I see crazier shit in the newsletters I read while tying my shoes in the morning. Imagine an essay talking about the *REAL* reasons Andrew Jackson is on a Federal Reserve Note.

      This chick is small-time.Report

      • Rufus in reply to Jaybird says:

        @Jaybird, You know, if you place the twenty dollar bill next to a bottle of whiskey, Jackson smiles.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Rufus says:

          @Rufus, heh.

          But, seriously, isn’t the definition of crazy “significantly different from all of the other nutbars”?

          It ain’t crazy if everyone in your church says “sure, it totally transubstantiates”. It ain’t crazy if everyone in your reading group says “Mao just wasn’t implementing it properly”. It ain’t crazy if you just have enough howling barbarians nodding along in time.

          “Everybody is like that” is the *PERFECT* defense against insanity.Report

        • Jason Kuznicki in reply to Rufus says:


          Can hardly hold it against him. I react just the same way.Report

      • North in reply to Jaybird says:

        @Jaybird, She seems on par with Bachman which makes me consider her demented. I don’t grade crazy on the curve. A crazy person who’s only as crazy as a group of crazy people is still crazy. Wait I’m making myself dizzy. take me away Jackson.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to North says:

          @North, it’s not a “grading it on the curve” thing.

          It’s like asking whether it’d be crazy to believe in Creationism in 1850 or Geocentrism in 1550.Report

          • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

            @Jaybird, Or HCR in 2010,Report

          • CaptBackslap in reply to Jaybird says:

            @Jaybird, Keeping in mind that about one in six Americans believe in geocentrism TO THIS DAY, would you consider it a “crazy” view to hold right now?Report

            • Jaybird in reply to CaptBackslap says:

              @CaptBackslap, I guess it would depend on your peer group, wouldn’t it?

              Given that, in 100 years or so, people will look back on us the way we look at the people from 1910 (however well-intentioned they may have been) as a bunch of moral busybodies who pushed through Prohibition and thought that Eugenics ought to be public policy.

              It’s hard for me to really have perspective on this to say that, no, *WE’RE* really spectacularly enlightened compared to Tea Partiers and Muslims.

              We’re all a few steps away from howling barbarism, dude. We’re bragging about centimeters.Report

          • North in reply to Jaybird says:

            @Jaybird, Hmm still doesn’t work for me Jaybird. I think there’s an excellent arguement to be made that republicans have become significantly ~less~ sane over the past 1-2 decades. I mean I look at Bush senior to Bush Minor to Sarah Palin and that looks like devolution to my eye.
            I mean near on everyone on every side of things believed in geocentrism in 1550. Certainly most everyone believed in Creationism in 1850. But how many people ever believed Obama is a secret muslim plotting to steal America’s prescious bodily fluids? Maybe a quarter of the population tops? I don’t see the equivalence.Report

            • Robert Cheeks in reply to North says:

              @North, Dude, for intelligence take a look at Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Mr. NO Grades Available, Imam Barry. These are not the sharpest knives in the drawer..hope and change my ass. Barry is a cultural Muslim, and a epigonic there! Barry’s trying to make the USA a third world country and doing just fine..thank you!Report

    • Robert Cheeks in reply to North says:

      “…the GOP has lowered the mean so much on the right that the views of this fruitbat..”
      Northie, I’ve got feelings, you know! Plus, she’s not a commie-Dem…it’s all good. Actually, I’m looking forward to her pithy comments in the senate. She’ll have the same effect on you that Joe Biden has on me!Report