Noted comedian and liberal talk show host Bill Maher played a clip Friday evening on his HBO program, “Real Time,” of U.S. senatorial candidate Christine O’Donnell talking about witchcraft in 1999 on his old show, “Politically Incorrect.” The clip has received considerable airplay and become a viral video on YouTube.
But Republican candidate and surprise Delaware primary winner Christine O’Donnell has lately become a target of both Democrats and mainstream Republicans for her past and more recent statements. In fact, Bill Maher wants her to appear on “Real Time” and talk about her views and candidacy — and to get her to do just that, Maher has threatened to reveal a new video clip every week until she actually comes on the show. What could he have on video that makes her look worse than “dabbled in witchcraft,” “masturbation is adultery,” the ’60s sexual revolution led to people dying of AIDS, coed dorms are a “radical agenda,” and women in military institutions “cripples” our “defense readiness”?
“I created you,” Maher said to the non-present O’Donnell, referring to the 22 episodes of “Politically Incorrect” on which she appeared.
In the video clip from “Politically Incorrect,” a younger-by-a-decade O’Donnell cheerfully recounts her witchcraft days:
“I dabbled into witchcraft,” she said. “I hung around people who were doing these things. I’m not making this stuff up. I know what they told me they do. One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar and I didn’t know it. I mean, there was a little blood there and stuff like that.
“We went to a movie and then had a little picnic on a satanic altar.”
She said she wasn’t making “this stuff up.” But dabblers in witchcraft would be quick to refute such a comment, noting that witches are not Satanists and generally do not hold with a god/Satan duality. Theirs is a natural approach to religion, more in lines with pantheism and naturalism. However, Christians and Muslims allow for heresy and apostasy in the form of witches, sometimes manifested in those who cast spells, study demonology, or practice paganism.
Christine O’Donnell shrugged off reporters’ questions about the video over the weekend, asking the rhetorical question: “Who didn’t have interesting friends in high school?
Her point of equating “interesting friends” with “dabbled in witchcraft” may be an allusion to a guilt by association argument, but it may not be enough to quell the growing number of questions surrounding her often confusing and extreme remarks. Commentary about O’Donnell and her mindset and/or worldview runs the gamut from “nutty things” she says (Karl Rove comment to Sean Hannity) to direct derogatory remarks like “wingnut.”
Talk about her witchcraft video and the media firestorm it generated prompted speculation that the true reason O’Donnell canceled two appearances Sunday — CBS’ “Face The Nation” and an interview with Fox News — was primarily due to damage control. She bowed out, saying she had scheduling conflicts.
Still, not just Democrats and liberals and the media are asking questions. Republicans are as well. Other voices are being added to Karl Rove’s, who has not minced words that he believes Republicans who actually listen to her will not vote for her.
Senator Mike Pence (R-IN) told “Good Morning America” Monday that O’Donnell “has an obligation to explain those public statements.”
Ed Rollins, the Republican strategist who masterminded the Ronald Reagan re-election campaign, told “Face The Nation” that “at the end of the day, people in Delaware — it’s a small state — are going to focus on her, her past statements, what she’s saying now, and — this is not a good start.” Rollins, like many conservatives, worries that Christine O’Donnell’s more extreme views will ultimately see her defeated in the general election in November.
For his own part, Bill Maher has noted that he believes that O’Donnell may be more successful (politically) than Sarah Palin because “Sarah Palin is mean and Christine is not.” Cultivating a little meanness of his own, Maher has resorted to video blackmail to get O’Donnell back on his show (with a different name).
“Every week you don’t show up,” he challenged, “I’ll throw a body out.”
Who is to say he won’t anyway? Who is to say a sitdown with Maher might end up being O’Donnell’s “Couric moment”? Or perhaps that might have been what O’Donnell was afraid of, prompting her to cancel on CBS and Fox News.
Still, again, how much worse could another (and another…) “body”/revelatory statement be?
“Real Time,” HBO Television via YouTube.com
CBS News via YouTube.com