She Did It Again

Remember how I said that I liked the way that Christine O’Donnell would say things that were common in conservative christian circles, but uncommon in the rest of America? Well, she got in a good one during a debate with her opponent Chris Coons: “Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?”

This line is a staple in certain circles, and I’ve heard it any number of times on political call-in shows. But O’Donnell was foolish enough to bring it out at a law school. From The Caucus blog at the NYT:

The audience at the law school can be heard breaking out in laughter. But Ms. O’Donnell refuses to be dissuaded and pushes forward.

“Let me just clarify,” she says. “You are telling me that the separation of church and state is in the First Amendment?”

When Mr. Coons offers a shorthand of the relevant section, saying, “government shall make no establishment of religion,” Ms. O’Donnell replies, “That’s in the First Amendment?”

The worst part is that she comes across as completely clueless. That line, “Where in the Constitution &tc,” is supposed to just be the lead-in to a long diatribe about how “Separation of Church and State” is just a liberal anti-christian hoax. But when Coons repeats the First Amendment to her, she doesn’t seem to know how to proceed to the next stage.

Via Slacktivist, here’s the video. The laughter is at 2:50, then a reprise at 7:05. The post at The Caucus linked above has a condensed audio clip.

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  • Custador

    Beat me to it – was about to write this little gem up myself :D The whole video is a catalogue of stupidity on her part, let’s be fair: ID is not Creationism, there is no separation of church and state, the borders need to be closed, evolution is “just” a theory… The woman is a posterchild for fucking idiots

    • Len

      To be fair to her she has ceiling cat on her side, so why should she worry about little things like facts?

      • Qwertyman

        Or maybe it’s basement cat tricking her into thinking that she has ceiling cat on her side? The level of anti-intellectualism demonstrated by her and others like her makes me fear for the future of this country.

  • slantrhyme

    I know we’re trying to raise the tone here, but let’s be honest….she is bat shit stupid.

    • JohnMWhite

      I don’t think the onus is on us to raise the tone when the Republican candidate for a Senate seat is astonished to find out what is in the first amendment of the US Constitution.

  • mikespeir

    Now her campaign is, predictably, trying to make out that she was only questioning the “separation of Church and State” inference from the First Amendment, a common Evangelical/Fundamentalist objection. But no. It’s clear that she really just had no clue about the First Amendment.

    • Reginald Selkirk

      When Christers point out that the words “separation of church and state” do not appear in the first amendment, I like to ask them where the word “trinity” appears in their Bible.

      • nullefide

        Omg I have to remember that for next time my parents bring up the “no separation of church and state” argument! Genius! :D

      • wintermute

        Yeah, I’ve been known to ask where the words “thou shalt not have hot, steamy buttsecks” appear in the Bible, and when they can’t point it out that obviously means that God has no problem with homosexuality, right?

  • KEY

    Ah americans and their old amendments! get with the times!

  • WarbVIII

    Has she read any of the ammendmants in question,or indeed the constitution in the last 20 years( she had to have read it at least once and been tested on it at her age,no matter what schools she went to, my point being has she actually read the unedited document including ammendments since that time)? If I had been the man asking the questions I would have thrown the 19th into the string to see how clueless she actually is as far as the document and it’s ammendments go….then again I am an asshole,but taking to their logical coclusion of “taking the country back” and “returning to our roots as a christian nation” she couldn’t vote or hold political office and would be little more than a mans property…although I am sure she doesn’t want that factoid reported widely or those concepts given that much scrutiny,even though mastribation for her equals adultery…which is a hellacious statement taking that practice to a ridiculous conclusion that also makes no logical sense…but hell if they can do it why can’t I?

    • Sunny Day

      “( she had to have read it at least once and been tested on it at her age,no matter what schools she went to”


      (ducks the bricks)

      • LRA


  • Sunny Ng

    Smoking Jesus titty cinnamon! I’m not a US citizen and even I know the First Amendment.

    • Shrubber

      Smoking Jesus titty cinnamon!

      thanks, I’ll be having that!

  • KidClyde

    I no longer find any humor in the stupidity of these people. It has been replaced by the fear that such idiots can so easily make it into the highest levels of our government, and what that portends for our future.

    • Andy

      Wake up…. they’re already at the highest levels of government!

    • Brian M

      I know this was a standard conventional wisdom throwaway statement, but…but…but… It ain’t just the religious nuts. The common sense, conventional wisdom, bipartisan consensus in this country is arguably equally insane.

      President Hopey-Changey is as dangerous. Let’s see…we are expanding the wars to Pakistan and now Yemen, President Hopey Changey has cobbled together some legalistic language to justify and continue the Bush Doctrines of unlimited Executive Power, we have transferred a trillion bucks to the banking gambling criminals, sending more and more missiles to blow up civillians, running up huge budget deficits, refusing to prosecute war crimes by the previous administration, passing an utter debacle of a health care plan….on and on and on. “Progs” are still laughing at the stupidity of those like O’Donnell? Pot…meet kettle.

      • wintermute

        Yeah, Constitutional Lawyer Candidate Obama and President Obama seem to be very different people…

        • Reginald Selkirk

          Yes, but I remind myself that “both sides are wrong” does not imply that “both sides are equally wrong.”

          • Bill

            While I understand what you are saying, I doubt that’s much comfort to the families of soldiers dying in these ridiculous wars.

  • Klaus

    Painful to watch.

    • Sunny Day

      It’s because of the Weapons Grade Stupid she’s using.

  • rachel

    I’m almost embarrassed for her.

  • Alexis

    I once proposed that all candidates for public office certify that they have read and understand the Constitution. Furthermore, all sessions of congress and of the supreme court should open with a reading of the U.S. Constitution and its amendments. Imagine the sonorous tones of James Earl Jones ringing throughout the hall “We the People of the United States…” and “Congress shall make no law…”

    • Yoav

      Have them certify they understand wont help since obviously many of them don’t have a problem with lying. Maybe they should be forced to be able to pass a highschool level civics exam before being allowed to make laws for other people.

  • Scott

    Is there any surer sign of the ignorant and uniformed in any sort of debate than continually attempting to interrupt and cut their debate opponent short, usually with snide remarks and condescending rhetorical questions… and more often than not, if this person gets cut off then watch out!

    Complete ignorance and total lack of active listening skills lead to fundamentally misunderstanding many issues, the inability to learn, and being able to do little more than regurgitate the stupid from Ma and Pa.

    If I was an American I would be totally pissed that an idiot like this could hold any sort of office that made decisions concerning my city, state, or country.

  • D’n

    Did anyone catch the comments at 1:52. O’Donnell “The theory of evolution is not a fact, it is indeed a theory…If local school districts want to give that theory [evolution] equal credence to intelligent design it is their right.” So the next step is revealed. Here she is saying that evolution is not as good as intelligent design, but schools should be allowed to teach it anyways. I know that we are meant to think she worded it badly, but the way people say things is very important. It often helps reveal what they really feel.

    • Kodie

      She began, at the start of the video, to say that it’s not important how she feels about the theory of evolution, and that she would still defend a local right to teach whichever theory they want. Even without the benefit of the rest of the video, that is pretty much to disregard facts as facts, and let communities decide what facts are, not science.

      Who agrees with the theory of evolution would still leave it up to communities to teach something false? What is the purpose of schools? You would have to believe the theory of evolution is false or label it as questionable, and demonize people who are calling it a fact because you understand so little.

    • Alexis

      What is the purpose of schools? In fundie land the purpose is to train the sinful little beasties in the ways of blind obedience and in christoamerican mythology. Remember Parson Weems? How can we teach honesty? I know, I’ll write a false biography of our countries father, turning him into a pure idol, incapable of even the most modest lie. I’ll invent a lie about his strength, throwing a silver dollar across the Rappahanock (oh heck make it the Potomac), and about his honesty, chopping down a prized cherry tree and then confessing!

  • Brian

    The words separation of church and state aren’t in the constitution but the concept sure is. What does she think it means when the government can’t promote or prohibit religion. It means the government has no legitimate role when it comes to religion.

    She makes Palin and Bachmann seem normal.

  • nazani14

    And what if that local community is predominantly Santeria, Scientologist, or Muslim?

    • Paul

      Can’t be. That’s just a local xtian community with an unusually high minority population, and of course minorities must assimilate.

      • Kodie

        Or they would, meaning the church and not the state, mission or witness to those communities, and bully themselves onto the school boards. Then they could tell the state this is what the community wants, because with their freedom of religion, they could transform communities to want what they want.

  • Agentsmith

    This is a masterful play to her base, the religious xtian rightwing batshit crazies. Her seemingly ingnorance is her shout out to her base that her faith is so strong that it will defeat facts. The laughters from the law students and the press will be seen as an attack on their collective faith since they all have this persecution complex.

    I don’t think this will hurt her chances becuase any sane person will not vote for her. And her batshit crazy base will rally around her no matter what.

  • claidheamh mor

    The worst part is that she comes across as completely clueless.

    I’m thinkin’ that’s because she is.

    Why does “marital” status (which supposedly includes “single” though the phrase belies that) and one’s religion break one’s political career, but stupidity doesn’t?

    We need to make them take some kind of test. Although stupidity actually can be apparent, y’know, like with her. How did she manage to get this far and last this long?

    • Kodie

      How did she manage to get this far and last this long?

      Because she’s you, with values of ‘you’ being equivalent to the people who promoted her. I thought it used to be you know you don’t know enough, that you want someone who demonstrates they know more to represent you, but now people distrust anyone who knows what they’re talking about to vote accordingly, and they want someone dumb. It’s too elitist to be educated, and elitist people don’t vote the way a dummy would, what a dummy believes they know enough to know what they want and don’t want some elitist telling them they know what’s better.

      To put this in the usual biblical context, it’s more virtuous to be a fool who defers curiosity, rationality, and wisdom to an almighty god, and foolish to be curious, rational, or wise, in essence, to deny the existence of god, to insist it doesn’t make sense but only to a fool. However, this makes me think what isn’t elitist about god. He’s smarter than you, and no matter what happens, he knows what’s better for you than you would want for yourself, and his reasons are superior to human reason, and he hides those reasons. You’re not supposed to try to investigate or understand this, but on earth, we’re not all ok until we manage to govern ourselves pure stupid. Any person breaking the Christian mold of humility and intentional ignorance is suspect. But god is not suspect.

    • Yoav

      How did she manage to get this far and last this long?
      By using the spells she learned when in her time as a witch.

      • JohnMWhite

        She is not a crook… I mean witch.

      • claidheamh mor


  • khal82

    Not laughing with you, laughing AT you, mmkay?

    I give Coons props for not gloating, spitting out water, etc.

  • Bill

    The sheer ignorance of this is appalling. Even if you are the most rabid evangelical, conservative tea partier on earth, you should be offended by this. This woman is seeking an office, which if she gets it, will require she take an oath to uphold the constitution. That oath requires at least a passing understanding of what’s in the constitution.

    Moreover, to make these statements at a law school is beyond stupid. She’s in a room full of people who have dedicated themselves to the study of the constitution. If any audience is going to call her on this it’s this one.

  • Yoav

    Apparently the idiot still think she won.

    • Jabster

      … because is someways she has. The Constitution doesn’t explicitly state that there should be a separation of church and state. That’s just been decided by the US’s elitists rulers … and you see how they sneered at her just because she’s a real American, well that’s why we need to take the country back from the Nazis who want to turn this pround Christian county (as it was founded) into a Marxist state.

      See, it all depends on how you look at something and who you’re trying to impress!

      • Kodie

        She seems to think that the freedom of religion means that communities should decide what they teach in the public schools per their local school board, and doesn’t see any conflict with that and the establishment clause. I buy that if that’s what she’s claiming (not that I agree with it), and I can see the will of the people who don’t think she’s a complete dumbass would agree, but she didn’t quite get that across in the debate as well as she thought, at least not in this clip, which is really to juxtapose herself saying stupid stuff and law students laughing at her, and her seemingly oblivious to it. What happened in the rest of the debate, did she sound like she got her shit together? I mean, as dumb as she is, she must have rallied some appearance of competence or at least boringness if it was clipped down to this bit.

    • Kodie

      I thought it was funny how they censored the word “Coons” in all the comments. Liberal bias overboard!