Wednesday, September 22, 2010

In Praise of Christine O'Donnell

I knew I had seen her somewhere.

When I heard her name as the longshot Tea Party candidate from Delaware, I thought it was familiar, but I just couldn't place who she might be. Then, when I saw her picture, it became clear--and happily so.

Listen up, conservatives. If you don't vote for this woman to go to the Senate, you might as well tear up your membership card. Christine O'Donnell is the real deal--a true-blue, traditional values, strong defense, minimal government Reagan Republican. She is the change you've been waiting for, as the President might say of almost anyone else. And Bill Maher can prove it.

O'Donnell did 22 episodes of "Politically Incorrect" in the politically radioactive 90s, the era of impeachment, when all of politics seemed to be personal destruction. She went toe to toe with rabid liberals, celebrities three times her Q-rating, and Maher himself. Right now, she has more television time under her belt--and certainly more debate practice--than most sitting Senators have by the end of their first term.

What's more, she never gives up, and she never compromises a principle to get along. The clip that's caused the current kerfuffle is a perfect example. In all the breathless media hysteria shrieking about whether she was a witch, whether that's forgivable, and whether the Tea Party troglodytes will recoil in primitive horror and burn her at the stake--the entire context of her remarks has been ignored.

First, here's the clip:

Let's start with Point One: what is she doing there? Answer: Christine O'Donnell is on Maher's show as the Founder and President of The S.A.L.T.--the Savior's Alliance for Lifting the Truth. Focus, now. She's the head of a Christian ministry--not a witch.

Point Two: What are they talking about? Answer: It is the end of October. The discussion is about Halloween. Maher wants to use her as his Christian pinata so he can accuse believers of intolerance and stupidity because of their skittishness about the Wiccan holiday and other occult things. But O'Donnell won't let the group get away with it. She stands up for the proposition that there are real witches, and messing around in the occult can be a real bad idea. To the howls of derision from panel and audience, she gives what we call her "testimony"--that she knows whereof she speaks because she "dabbled into witchcraft." It is an endearing moment, one of many in which Maher solicits her fundamentalist input, knowing she will say things that shock his over-tolerant relativist audience's sensibilities, and she does. (Just FYI, another great moment is when she tells "psychic" James Van Praagh--in the sweetest yet firmest way possible--that he is "deceived.")

Point Three: Since she is a religious leader at the time, why don't we read in history of the great occult scandal of Christine O'Donnell? Answer: Because there's nothing the least bit alarming about it, then or now. Christians of the "SALT" variety live for this kind of confession. The Christian world is full of "used to be's"--"I used to be a drug addict," "I used to be a prostitute," "I used to be a thief." The Apostle Paul is perhaps the most famous "used to be" of all, having persecuted and killed the followers of the One he became one of the greatest servants of. This does not tarnish her Christian credentials--it polishes them.

I recently went looking for more clips of Christine and found an amazing bit of history. I really do have to hand it to Maher; he has quite an instinct for future celebrity. This is a P.I. clip on youtube with Maher chatting up Christine, Star Parker (currently running for Congress in California,) and future Senator Al Franken. (Rick Schroeder is there,too, but please don't give him any ideas.) They're talking about sex education (warning: this clip is ten minutes long):

The point here is that future Senator O'Donnell is not a media dunce that can't figure out the value of doing Sunday morning chat shows. She is, instead, a savvy political observer with a deep understanding that the kinds of people she needs to show her face to don't watch chat shows on Sunday. They go to the church picnic.

If you want a staunch defender of conservatism, you won't find one more sincere, or more adept. She can best a bearded Marxist in debate any day. She knows the issues, the arguments, and the right and wrong of both. She believes in things not because they are expedient, but because they are true. She will go to the Senate for the people of Delaware, and the entire nation will be the better for it.

P.S.: Send Star Parker to the House for good measure.

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