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Politics, Pop Culture and Ponderings

Christine O’Donnell: Don’t Hide From Your Witchy Generation X Past

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Christine O’Donnell is the Forrest Gump of politics.

In 1996, she popped up on MTV in a special talking about the sin of masturbation. In the late 1990s, she appeared on Bill Maher’s Politically Incorrect 22 times, according to Maher, and once even cracked sex jokes with Ben Affleck.

O’Donnell, 41, is the new Republican U.S. Senate nominee in Delaware. She is also a Generation X candidate, leaving a cyber trail like many in the Rock the Vote generation. They supported a host of causes – anti-apartheid, AIDS treatment, sexual abstinence and, in O’Donnell’s case, anti-masturbation.

Christine O'Donnell, Republican candidate for Senate in DelawareHer appearances on Maher’s shows in the heyday of the Monica Lewinsky scandal are now being scrutinized. Maher says he will release an episode a week until O’Donnell agrees to come on his HBO show “Real Time.” As Politics Daily’s Matt Lewis reported Maher put out a clip Friday that had not previously aired showing O’Donnell discussing — gasp! — witchcraft.

“I dabbled into witchcraft — I never joined a coven. But I did, I did. … I hung around people who were doing these things. I’m not making this stuff up. I know what they told me they do,” she said.

She continued: “One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar, and I didn’t know it. I mean, there’s little blood there and stuff like that. We went to a movie and then had a midnight picnic on a satanic altar.”

Oh, Christine. Don’t feel bad. I have a pack of tarot cards hiding in a drawer somewhere. Friends of mine congregated in cemeteries in high school and held séances while listening to The Smiths. (So far, none of them has decided to run for public office, however.)

As many Generation X’ers have discovered, comments and actions made at 20-something, sound crazy when you’re 40-something and in politics. In the age of mass media, it’s as hard to undo youthful Goth and Satan indiscretions as later reconsidered love for Amy Grant or Stryper. (For whatever comfort it’s worth, it’ll be even harder for the Facebook app-happy generation Y when they decide to run for office. Stay tuned for status updates about anarchy, the high school principal and sex will return to haunt them in an opponent’s campaign ad.)

Regardless of her prior position on masturbation or witchcraft, O’Donnell is to be admired and feared by Democrats. She’s quickly become a household name in the vein of Sarah Palin, and she’s raised more than $1 million dollars in a few days. Compared to the fem phenom, who even knows her opponent’s name? (It’s Chris Coons.)

O’Donnell seized her Christian causes and ran straight to national TV with them. The often acerbic Maher has said she could go further than Palin because she’s not as mean. IShe landed on Maher’s shows numerous times to debate some of the biggest stars of the 1990s. In one segment, she appeared with Rev. Jerry Falwell discussing Christian fundamentalism and the Bible.

In 1999, on Maher’s “Politically Incorrect,” she ordered Ben Affleck around like he was her houseboy while discussing Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial.

According to a transcript (so far a video has not surfaced), Affleck said, “I just want to ask you one question.”

O’Donnell responded, “Yeah, get on your knees.”

Now that’s a bold woman. Affleck was then one of the biggest stars in America, having just won an Academy Award a few years earlier for “Good Will Hunting.”

Of Clinton’s questionable ways, O’Donnell said, “Let me tell you, that’s a sad commentary about our country, if adulterers are fighting for their rights now.”

Affleck retorted, “I got it. I know what it is. You know why it bothers you so much? ‘Cause you have a certain, like, Monica flair about you.”

Where will O’Donnell’s past turn up next? Will she embrace her earlier incarnations or flee them? On Saturday, her campaign announced she had canceled two scheduled appearances on national Sunday news shows, (CBS’s “Face the Nation” and “Fox News Sunday”). Instead, her campaign said she would be attending church functions.

As if she could suddenly avoid TV, Christine declined the limelight.

For someone who has never been shy expressing opinions, it seems disingenuous to become demure now that she has a shot at real political power. Meantime her campaign should be a lesson for future Generation X candidates. Watch out. Your virtual chickens — along with the big poodle hair — are coming home to roost.

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Written by suziparker1313

March 8, 2011 at 9:38 pm

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