Christine O’Donnell, Delaware’s controversial Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, is dead. And the Tea Party mourns.
But O’Donnell’s lunacy— her legacy lives on in the hearts of those nutty Delaware citizens who would have cast their votes for the anti-masturbation, witchcraft-dabbling, sexual-purity touting, resume-embellishing pauper — had she not dropped dead on the campaign trail Friday.
Yet O’Donnell’s death is testament to her passion for the causes she embraced during her 41 years. After playing the strumpe — the trumpet in college, she dedicated her life to abstinence, a dedication so fervent, it killed her: O’Donnell died of an apparent saltpeter overdose.
Saturday, at a Republican Party event celebrat — announcing O’Donnell’s death, with a backdrop of balloons and “Happy Days Are Here Again,” Delaware Republican Party Chair Tom Ross said:
“We’re in shock. At first, I thought Christine couldn’t get elected dogcatcher. But her ability to dodge past indiscretions, well that was really something to behold! I’m not at all surprised she would die trying to stay in character — er, in control of — well, whatever. She was something, all right. Say, have you tried the Cool Whip ambrosia? It’s pretty darn good!”
Although O’Donnell’s death was met with a sigh of relief — of remorse from GOP quarters, Democrats were devastated by the news. They could not have manufactured a better opposition candidate for their senatorial nominee, Chris Coons.
And those of us in the media will sorely miss the unbridled entertainment O’Donnell brought to the political stage. Who could ever forget her explanation of the evils of human cloning?
“American scientific companies are crossbreeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains!”
Or the press release she purportedly wrote for Concerned Women for America, in which she opined that homosexuality was an “unhealthy lifestyle” and described AIDS education as:
“… a platform for the homosexual community to recruit adolescents and lure teens into a self-destructive sexual lifestyle.”
Whooeee! We would normally have to make this stuff up, but not for O’Donnell. She wasn’t known for her generosity, suffering from chronic indebtedness as she did, but what a gift she was on a slow news day!
O’Donnell regularly tossed verbal alms that fed hordes of hungry commentators and journalists.
Her 1996 statement on MTV’s, Sex in the 90s, when she headed The Savior’s Alliance for Lifting the Truth, is particularly memorable:
“The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery. So you can’t masturbate without lust. … You’re going to be pleasing each other. And if he already knows what pleases him, and he can please himself, then why am I in the picture?”
Yes, O’Donnell had a gift for posing the perfect question — and for thinking out of the box, as she did in a 2006 interview in which she redefined the psychology of homosexuality:
“People are created in God’s image. Homosexuality is an identity adopted through societal factors. It’s an identity disorder.”
Although media curiosity was piqued by O’Donnell’s morbid obsession with others’ sexuality, in-depth reporting on a probable cause was regularly derailed by Bill Maher’s obsession with embarrassing the candidate by revealing a series of video clips of her more startling pronouncements.
However, sexpert Dr. Ruth speculated that, unlike the “nature” of homosexuality, O’Donnell had a problem that likely stemmed from a “nurture” crisis in her developmental years.
“First of all, let me tell you that Christine’s concept of sexual purity was stupid,” Dr. Ruth explained. “Her childlike perception was typical of those who step off the healthy path at the religion-sex crossroads. Human sexuality is actually pure in whatever way we express it — gay, straight, bi — as long as we honor our safewords and, of course, unless we repress our sexuality into a teeny tiny ball, tighter and tighter and tighter — until it explodes in a gooey mess all over us! You could take one look at that poor woman and know she was horny as a toad. I would posit that it’s not the saltpeter that killed her; it’s the denial!”
Nonetheless, O’Donnell did have a fun side. She was a delight at cocktail parties, sipping her Virgin Marys and expounding on her sexcapade— her escapades while earning her bachelor’s degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University (which she did not actually achieve until this September after finally finishing her coursework and paying her tuition debt), her time at the University of Oxford (which was not as an Oxford student), her Constitutional Government studies at Claremont Graduate University (of which the university has no record) and the Princeton University masters degree program she indicated attending (but for which she wasn’t qualified to apply).
Yes, O’Donnell occasionally two-stepped around the truth, and Dr. Phil was asked to weigh in on this self-harming behavior, but he was too busy telling a depressed cancer patient to “Get real!” On the other hand, O’Donnell looked like Sarah Palin, which made everything OK — that and her faith.
She once reported that God had said “credibility” to her, “audibly — it wasn’t a thought in my head.”
Indeed, O’Donnell trusted God to just nudge her in the right direction and then she would march forward with the confidence of the crazed— of the saved.
Her commitment to small government and fiscal conservatism resulted in her rejection of the liberal establishment’s unreasonable fiscal dictates. She bravely declined to pay the IRS’ usurious tax bills. She daringly attributed personal expenses to her campaigns. And she deftly shifted blame for her insolvency to her political opponents — possible comeuppance for demeaning her candidacy.
Yes, O’Donnell’s bold stances were perched on a firm foundation of evangelical faith. As long as she had an audience, she was ever-eager to confront the most treacherously complex of faith-based topics with an unusual idioc— an unusual intelligence, topics such as evolution:
“Evolution is a myth,” she declared on “Politically Incorrect” in 1998, offering as proof, “Why aren’t monkeys still evolving into humans?”
And she drilled head-on into virginity in her article, “The Case for Chastity.”
“I know many physical virgins who are not sexually pure,” she wrote. “I know many virgins who are into pornography or who are ‘doing everything but’ with their boyfriends. On the flip side, I know many non-virgins who live beautiful, holy, pure lives through the power of Christ’s blood.”
Hmm, profound … profoundly … profound.
Whatever she is or was, controversy has inevitably followed O’Donnell to her grave. A former campaign aide, David Keegan, minced no words while reveling at Saturday’s Republican gathering:
“God smote her down. When God said, ‘credibility’ to Christine, it was a criticism, not a compliment. She was an embarrassment, a liability to His cause, so He just smote her down!”
Whether it was saltpeter, sexual denial or God that did her in, O’Donnell was a true American character. Only in the United States could such a candidate get so far with so little.
Kit-Bacon Gressitt is a writer and host of Fallbrook’s monthly Writers Read open mic. Her commentary and political fiction can be read at www.ExcuseMeImWriting.com. She can be reached at [email protected]