Where do Conservatives find these candidates? That is the troubling question that we wake up to the morning after the final state primaries. Christine O’Donnell—newly anointed as the GOP candidate for the senate in Delaware this fall—actually makes Sarah Palin look like a genius. True, she did have the support of the sometime Governor of Alaska, but you have to ask yourself why. Was this blessing simply because Palin realized that O’Donnell would make her look smart for a change?
O’Donnell, who may be the weirdest (read the most naive) person ever to be listed on a ballot for such high office, is, apparently, exactly what the Tea Party admires. She’s one step above poverty, living on campaign donations, with a train wreck past concerning tax questions, lies and distortions which are the centerpiece of the Tea Party Peeps. Make up your own reality. If you can’t get the United States to eliminate all taxes, well, then, bilk the system in whatever way you can.
But, these actual gaffs and distortions of O’Donnell’s life and career pale in the face of some of her beliefs. Obviously she doesn’t believe in evolution but creationism—hardly a big surprise given the percentage of people in the United States who share that belief–but, worse, she believes that the Bible is to be taken literally. Presumably, that means that she also supports slavery, though no one has yet asked her.
With such Biblical literalism, consider Christine O’Donnell’s feelings about masturbation. She’s against it. Why? As she said several years ago when she was the head of a splinter abstinence group, masturbation is the same adultery. This may be news to eleven or twelve-year-old boys who have just discovered that their penises actually have two functions. The question is: Are these boys marked for life as adulterers?
One thing is certain: O’Donnell’s anti-masturbation platform is going to add some levity to this fall’s political morass.
CHARLES R. LARSON is Professor of Literature at American University, in Washington, D.C.