O’Donnell’s witchcraft problem

(Further update, 9/19, 6 p.m.: O’Donnell says she was in high school was she “dabbled” in witchcraft.”)

(Update: some of the L-dotters whom I quote below made a good point which I misunderstood and incorrectly rejected: O’Donnell could well have been in her teens when the “dabbling” occurred, which would render this “scandal” absurd and make John of Powerline look ridiculous for instantly washing his hands of her and writing off her candidacy [“Christine O’Donnell’s Career, RIP”]. See Paul K.’s comment.)

Bill Maher says that he has tapes of Christine O’Donnell appearing as a guest on his show in the late 1990s and saying:

I dabbled into witchcraft—I never joined a coven. But I did, I did … I dabbled into witchcraft. 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’s little blood there and stuff like that…. We went to a movie and then had a midnight picnic on a satanic altar.

Ok, ok, so Christine O’Donnell dabbled in witchcraft when she was an unformed young woman in her twenties. Her main antagonist, Karl Rove, age 59, for seven years the top advisor to the most powerful political leader in the world and now a ubiquitous political commentator, is a witch.

Seriously, in O’Donnell’s defense, if a defense is possible (and we will not know that until more facts are out), she said that she wasn’t doing these witchcraft type things, she was socializing with people who were doing them. Specifically, she says she wasn’t aware that her midnight meal with her date was on a satanic altar. So the sentence,

We went to a movie and then had a midnight picnic on a satanic altar.

is not as damning as it appears (pun not intended). Also, Maher’s quote provides no context. I’m sure the context was that she was speaking as a Christian denouncing witchcraft. She was telling of her past contacts with witchcraft in order to convey to the audience that witchcraft exists in our society, that there are people who practice it, and that this is very bad. (Update: my supposition about the true context was correct. As shown at Michelle Malkin’s blog, which has the tape of the 1997 Bill Maher program on which O’Donnell appeared, her whole point was to say that witchcraft is bad, and that she knows what she’s talking about because she was around it.)

At the same time, the phrase, “I dabbled [in] witchcraft” means more than that she was hanging out with people who did witchcraft; it means that she herself was doing witchcraft-type things.

But again, let’s wait until more facts are out before we pronounce definitively on the meaning of this. Let’s not be like John at Powerline, instantly panicking, expressing horrified disgust, and running away from anything beyond his little neocon / Rockefeller Republican ken (just as every name conservative in the country instantly expressed kneejerk horrified disgust at Terry Jones).

This is the kind of story for which Lucianne.com is a must place to go. Here are three comments I especially like:

Reply 13—Posted by: neenbean, 9/18/2010 3:24:32 PM

This from the people who hate “witch-hunts.”

Does this mean it is OK to go after Obama’s birth certificate again?

Reply 14—Posted by: TomTC, 9/18/2010 3:26:50 PM

Being on Maher’s show is the bigger indiscretion.

Reply 23—Posted by: jimmy2, 9/18/2010 3:32:58 PM

To put the matter into perspective, it’d be worse if O’Donnell were, say, a witch dabbling in statecraft. And yet this has not hurt Hillary Clinton.

Here are more comments I’ve selected from the same thread:

Reply 4—Posted by: WimeTarmerFable, 9/18/2010 3:15:43 PM

Hillary Clinton, Helen Thomas and Fancy Nancy Pelosi have been dabbling in it for a lot longer….

Reply 5—Posted by: flybynight, 9/18/2010 3:17:32 PM

I’m not sure … why don’t we find out how OLD she was when all this was going on? If this is a 17-year-old’s curious go-along-with-the-crowd thing, that’s perhaps not worthy of a hissy fit. Adolescence is for trying out new experiences to see what fits, what works, what’s fun. If she’s still dabbling in witchcraft at age 30, that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish. [LA replies: O’Donnell is now 41. So in the late 1990s (‘97-‘99) she was between 27 and 30.]

Reply 7—Posted by: blackeagle, 9/18/2010 3:18:02 PM

Maybe she dabbled in witchcraft—but I’m sure she ”didn’t inhale”.

Reply 9—Posted by: ARKfamily, 9/18/2010 3:21:46 PM

Sometimes we all get caught up in stuff that we shouldn’t have been doing. Especially in our youthful days. How about George W.? He battled with his problem but overcame it.

The media is really good at digging into a conservative person’s private life and exposing it. Of course, this would never be done with a liberal. When the same treatment is done for both sides, I’ll have a different attitude. Did anyone look into Obama’s drug habit? Of course not.

RIP? Only if we let that happen.

Reply 10—Posted by: stjohnswood, 9/18/2010 3:22:17 PM

OMIGOD!!! She was once a teenager??? Oh, horror of horrors.

Did she smoke crack?? Did she at least smoke pot?

Oh, if ONLY she had.

At least that would provide an acceptable counter-balance to the unspeakably unpleasant information coming out that she may have been for one brief moment in time, a spiritually curious teenager. And a ”dabbler”, at that!

Reply 11—Posted by: anewme800, 9/18/2010 3:22:54 PM

She’s probably as much a witch as 0bama is a Christian

Reply 12—Posted by: chance_232, 9/18/2010 3:23:48 PM

I see…. freedom of religion only applies to muslims?

I was interested in witchcraft, magic, the occult etc etc when I was in my teans. So…. based on my own experience, I’ll withhold judgement.

Unless it can be demonstrated that she is conducting human sacrifice, like flying planes into a building, abusing children and animals, mere dabling in the occult when she was young is insufficient. If it were sufficient, Clinton, Bush and Obama should have been arrested, tried and sentenced to prison for their youthfull indiscretions.

Reply 15—Posted by: obamunism, 9/18/2010 3:27:03 PM

Heard all this weeks ago, and it’s pale compared to obama’s drug use and muslim roots, kennedy alcoholics and murders, barney frank’s gay cathouse of pot farm, the clinton murder portfolio, and the massive treason committed by the democrats in general, let alone maxime waters and charlie rangel. And o’donnell’s opponent, is a white obama.

Reply 16—Posted by: obviousity, 9/18/2010 3:27:13 PM

Having experience politics in my youth, successfully making smoke filled room deals, I swore off and never went back and that was high school. Next we will find out that Christine has read Alinski and attended a community organizer orientation meeting. Maybe there was an alter there also.

Never trust Bill Maher announcing that he has previously-unseen clips. Why Previously unseen? Not good enough for the show? But then who am I to judge having never seen the show.

Reply 17—Posted by: ruready?, 9/18/2010 3:28:39 PM

You have to interpret this statement from a Bible-believing Christian’s perspective. Witchcraft can be anything from Ouija board to Tarot cards to “what is your sign”.

Reply 18—Posted by: Scotty, 9/18/2010 3:28:41 PM

Considering that the source of this “shocker” is satan’s own handmaiden, bill maher, I’ll wait for the whole truth to emerge before declaring RIP (and even then circumstances have to be accounted for—after all, we all make mistakes and it is how she thinks towards witchcraft TODAY that matters).

Reply 19—Posted by: cruiseluv, 9/18/2010 3:28:48 PM

And the guys from Powerline blog can’t hide their glee to pronounce her career “RIP”. [LA replies: As I said, the Powerline guys inhabit a tiny little mental universe defined by the Claremont Institute and the desire to serve as courtiers to Republican presidents, and they are disgusted and terrified at anything that lies outside it.]

We have a President that is involved in more damaging endeavors than any “witchcraft”, so why should I get excited about this?

Reply 20—Posted by: Bull_Dozer, 9/18/2010 3:30:43 PM

“It’ssss … Witchcraft … ” Old Blue Eyes noted, as a JFK pal & group sex partner of his … along with Mafia molls …

Next thing ya know, the New Christine will admit that the Old Christine once believed a man could walk on water …

Reply 22—Posted by: PageTurner, 9/18/2010 3:31:39 PM

She dabbled in witchcraft, lotsa people do, and she had a conversion afterward.

Nice try, but I don’t see what the problem is. We all know she’s not wrapped very well, but she’s what Delaware’s voters wanted, so I am sticking with her. As long as she isn’t doing it now, I don’t have a problem. Scandal over!

Reply 24—Posted by: andyboy, 9/18/2010 3:34:24 PM

Lacking any substantive response to O’Donnell’s positions on the key issues, the Delaware Dems will now make their entire campaign about witchcraft.

This will also now be the cover story on TIME and NEWSWEEK, although no one will notice.

Reply 25—Posted by: Susannah, 9/18/2010 3:35:28 PM

Poster 17, I have to ask: What is the Bible-believing Christian’s perspective on having a midnight picnic on a Satanic altar with a bit of blood on it? Which is what she says she did.

What does it matter if she did this in her adolescence or adulthood? If you don’t think the Coons campaign is going to beat her to a pulp with this, you’re wearing rose-colored blinders.

Reply 27—Posted by: ruready?, 9/18/2010 3:39:55 PM

“and I didn’t know it”. Take off the brown-colored glasses.

Reply 28—Posted by: RepublicanGopher, 9/18/2010 3:56:11 PM

She may lose for other reasons, but I don’t think the “dabbled in witchcraft” comment will amount to much. She says it was a boyfriend that was trying to get her involved, and the boyfriend wasn’t successful. Delaware doesn’t burn witches anymore.

Reply 29—Posted by: PMASHER, 9/18/2010 3:56:44 PM

Agree with #19, the lawyers at Powerline are gleeful. They get all hot and bothered over Tim Pawlenty,too. [LA replies: Finally, after five years, conservatives other than yours truly are criticizing the Powerline writers! My day has been made.]

[Update and correction: Recently there was an all-out fight between Mark Levin and the Powerline trio, with Levin using very strong and insulting language (“John Hinderaker wears black tights”). I condemn that kind of low putdown, which has no place in political discussion, but I do note that Levin’s main criticism of Powerline is similar to my own, though harsher: “I never gave these boys much attention in the past and I honestly think they contribute very little to the debate. They’re essentially mouthpieces for the Republican establishment. They step out now and then, as best I can tell. That’s fine, but they ought not pretend that they’re deep thinkers or even coherent thinkers. They’re a mess.” That’s a bit too hard. The Powerline guys are rational, informative, and often useful, but only on the surface level of things. Their Rosenkranz and Guildenstern-like establishment loyalties keep them permanently excluded from any intellectual depth. I also note Levin’s point (which was the issue of his bitter argument with Paul Mirengoff), that Paul defended the Harriet Miers nomination until the day before her nomination was withdrawn. That puts Paul in the same class of Bush sycophant as Ed Morrissey, then known as Captain Ed.]

[On another point, I have been calling them “the Powerline guys” for years, and now notice that others are doing so as well. I wonder if they got it from me.]

Reply 30—Posted by: donnieboy60, 9/18/2010 3:57:08 PM

thinking this over, maybe the senate could use some witchcraft. anything but that warlock reid!! i am ok with this. i am sending her another 10 bucks, just ‘cause.

Reply 31—Posted by: kiwikit, 9/18/2010 3:59:58 PM

Let’s see … I’m a young beauty trying to get time on a show owned by a known Catholic hater. What would be appealing to him? I’m not bothered… At least she can think outside the box!

Reply 35—Posted by: wra13, 9/18/2010 4:03:07 PM

I don’t know if this is true or not, but if it is, some of you here making excuses are as wacky as the liberals. You sound just like them, spinning your arses off. She’s been a crap shoot from day one, and last night on another post I said she had baggage and the liberal media was going to rip into her like a pack of screeching Hyenas, and they will, but if this is true, she’s dead. Period. No recovery possible. Write it off.

Frankly, after all of the other stuff, including the mice with human brains thing, and now this, if it’s all true, I think she’s a wackjob and needs to go. Just concede and go.

Reply 38—Posted by: Catherine, 9/18/2010 4:04:55 PM

Maybe she was a good witch, like Glenda.

Reply 39—Posted by: Polecat49, 9/18/2010 4:05:36 PM

Just think, of all the people NOW telling us how dumb or clueless Christine is, are the same ones who backed and voted for obama. THEN, after bo was elected,THEY SAID, “we don’t know who bo is”. Is it possible to think of anyone more stupid than our “political elite”?

Reply 41—Posted by: ruready?, 9/18/2010 4:06:58 PM

Some on this site have been whining like “Tokyo” since all of this happened. You can determine your level of greatness by finding the thing that it takes to discourage you.

Reply 42—Posted by: StormCnter, 9/18/2010 4:07:18 PM

I saw this a couple of days ago and knew better than to post it unless I wanted to spend the day fending off the true believers. That said, I’m glad OP put it up. It’s always interesting to watch the O’Donnell fans strain to explain, justify, and redirect (Obama did WORSE) anything and everything.

Reply 43—Posted by: mcvn6789, 9/18/2010 4:07:20 PM

If dem Bill says it, (any of them) then it must be so.?

Reply 44—Posted by: ynaught, 9/18/2010 4:07:28 PM

10 years from now, young people will look back on the days when they “dabbled” in vampirism. You can’t turn the tv on without seeing a vampire related show. Maybe she was caught up in some pseudo-devil-worship silliness. I’d like to hear her side of the story. [LA replies: This is a good point. The reality is, our culture has been for a long time soaked in various kinds of demonism. Young people are surrounded by it from an early age. So it is inevitable that many people by the time they reach 30 will have had contact with things that are repellant.]

Reply 47—Posted by: Urgent Fury, 9/18/2010 4:08:27 PM

Man our side is so quick to jump all over our own candidate. I’d vote for the Wicked Witch of the West before any RAT.

Reply 48—Posted by: StormCnter, 9/18/2010 4:08:49 PM

2nd thing…. I don’t think the Powerline folks qualify as O’Donnell-bashers. They’re smart and discerning over there. I scan them every morning and haven’t noticed an anti-O’Donnell bias.

- end of initial entry -

Paul K. writes:

You wrote: “O’Donnell is now 41. So in the late 1990s (‘97-‘99) she was between 27 and 30.”

In the late 1990s, when she was between 27 and 30, she appeared on Maher’s show and described a date that could have occurred ten years earlier. It’s not clear, but from the way she talked about it it sounded as if it was not a recent experience.

LA replies:

You’re absolutely right. She could have been in her teens when this “dabbling” occurred.

Roger G. writes:


I have indeed noticed your occasional recent musings on secession. What? Reasonable, honorable, and enlightened men being driven to that end by desperation? Nah, no way.

So if we can just get you started off by reading diLorenzo’s debate against their paladin Jaffa, you’ll be on your way to getting your views of Lincoln, the Civil War, and WWII aligned with your otherwise mostly impeccable traditionalist conservative philosophy.

LA replies:

You’re not going to get anywhere with me on this front. The only way secession can be reasonably and honorably advanced today is by NOT associating it with the unreasonable, dishonorable, and calamitous actions of the Southern states in 1860-61.

I read things by diLorenzo years ago that convinced me he’s an insane hater. Nothing you say is going to interest me in him or the rest of the Rockwell group, which I have condemned since the earliest days of this blog.

Also, why is your day made by me criticizing Claremont? I’ve been doing so forever. I have also been pointing out forever that I am neither a neocon, nor a paleocon/paleolibertarian. Why is that so hard for people to understand? Why are so many intelligent people unable to count beyond two?

Roger replies:

Awhile back I went through your Civil War posts in detail, and I’m pretty (not completely) certain that at some point you said you’d never read him. I guess you did after that.

I was not advocating the rest of the Rockwell group. It’s unjust to call diLorenzo an insane hater; I can’t point to anything insane or hateful in what I’ve read. I respect him and you, and your works. I’d love to read or hear a debate between you two.

I didn’t know you had ever criticized Claremont. I’m not an expert on them. I know they’re conservative and very pro Lincoln.

LA replies:

I read a few blog articles by diLorenzo, for example one about Theodore Roosevelt. He didn’t just criticize Roosevelt as a statist. He expressed an insane, drooling hatred of him. It was unsettling.

Perhaps in other, longer writings of his, he is more rational. But I must tell you that I doubt it very much, because the Lincoln hatred pouring out of lewrockwell.com seemed to be largely inspired by him. It was that same kind of hatred that prevented the paleocons from offering any useful criticisms of the Iraq war, because the main thrust of their writings on that subject were not to say why the war was a bad idea, but to attack neoconservatives as evil, monstrous enemies. Such talk poisoned the debate, drove out useful debate, and permanently discredited the anti-war right. To my knowledge, not a single member of that faction has ever expressed regret for the hate campaign they unleashed from 2001 forward.

And if any paleocons say that my attacking “hate” is a liberal, PC tactic, they are wrong. Beyond the lies of PC, there really is such a thing as hate—hatred of statists (someone at Rockwell once suggested that Americans who support the modern state deserve to die), hatred of neocons, hatred of Israel, hatred of Jews, hatred of America. And not a single paleocon I’ve ever seen (though maybe there are a couple of exceptions I don’t know about) has said that such hate is wrong. To the contrary, their only response is to whine about “PC,” thus signifying for them there is no such thing as immoral hatred.

LA writes:

Despite Michelle Malkin’s taking him to task for instantly writing off O’Donnell, John at Powerline, in an update of the earlier post, keeps to his position and repeats that O’Donnell is a terrible candidate and that the witchcraft business dooms her. His colleague Paul backs him up. I don’t get it. Apart from her lack of a substantive work background, she seems like an excellent, even inspiring candidate, and I don’t know what the Powerline people think they are gaining by investing themselves so thoroughly in the prediction that she must lose. It’s especially odd, given that these fellows’ hallmark has always been their conformity and caution. They never stray far from whatever is the generally accepted line among Republicans. And at this moment, the generally accepted line among Republicans is being defined by support for the Tea Party. By going so far in contemptuous dismissal of a candidate who positively embodies the Tea Party idea, they are triggering widespread dislike for themselves in the Republican base. Nothing could be more uncharacteristic. It’s as though they had switched from being Rosenkranz and Guildenstern, sucking up to the powerful, to being three Marie Antoinettes, telling the Republican grass roots (as embodied by O’Donnell with her flawed personal background) to eat cake.

September 19

Roger G. replies to LA:

When you wrote “insane, drooling,” I thought you were referring to Roosevelt; I myself have a negative view of him (and of Churchill, for that matter). But whether or not DiLorenzo went over the top on Teddy, I never read anything by him on Lincoln or the Civil War that I did not think was spot on.

James N. writes:

Subject: O’Donnell a witch?

After the election, if she loses, there will be time for recriminations.

For now, I sent her $100 and a pail of newts to cast a spell on Coons.

I mean, seriously: let’s pay attention to the way the game is played. Whenever a Democrat candidate for office is caught out, no matter what the offense, all the Democrats form a phalanx and shout “SO WHAT?”

Yes, I know we’re “better than that.” The prize for being “better than that” is Obama, Pelosi, and Reid (oh, yes, also Sotomayor and Kagan).

It’s our job to drag her across the finish line. This race is extremely important for many reasons.

So it’s time to say, “Double, double, toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble…. ” Or something like that. Until November, we’re all witches.

Tim W. writes:

You wrote:

“It’s especially odd, given that these fellows’ hallmark has always been their conformity and caution. They never stray far from whatever is the generally accepted line among Republicans. And at this moment, the generally accepted line among Republicans is being defined by support for the Tea Party. By going so far in contemptuous dismissal of a candidate who positively embodies the Tea Party idea, they are triggering widespread dislike for themselves in the Republican base.”

I think they’re more concerned with what the Republican establishment thinks of them than the Republican base. Taking back the Senate is a longshot this year, because the GOP has to defend so many seats (2004 was a good Republican Senate year) relative to the Democrats. But Obama-Reid-Pelosi are so unpopular that it appears to be possible that the GOP can pull it off. To the GOP establishment, getting power is more important than maintaining principle. They’d rather hold 51 seats, with half of those seats being liberals like Susan Collins, than hold 49 seats with principled conservatives.

Delaware is an establishment state. The voters there don’t often rock the boat. Biden’s a buffoon but he was elected Senator there over and over, starting in 1972, and never had a serious challenge once he became part of the Senate hierarchy. The Republicans elected there are usually patrician “moderates” who lean conservative on some spending issues but faddishly support social liberalism and chic environmentalism. Mike Castle is a typical Delaware establishment Republican, supporting abortion, homosexual “rights,” and cap & trade. He opposed Obamacare, but once it passed he decided it was a done deal and thought it would be too divisive to try to repeal it. He hadn’t lost an election for forty years and was probably a certainty to win the old Biden seat this year over a little known Democrat named Coons. But O’Donnell, a principled conservative, upset him and the race is no longer a sure thing for the GOP. With the margin of error for regaining the Senate so narrow, replacing sure-winner Castle with longshot O’Donnell was a huge disappointment to people whose only concern is that the Republicans regain control. And they’re venting their rage on O’Donnell. She must lose so they can say afterward that we should have backed Castle.

LA replies:

This is an excellent analysis. You have made everything clear.

Karl D. writes:

While I would prefer to see both the House and Senate taken back in a stunning upset that would include many of the Tea Party candidates. I cant help but feel the same way as I did about Obama being elected. Depending on what the actual numbers are, even if we lose we win. The Republican establicons are on notice, the left will continue its long march, and the country will continue turning right. If two years of Obama brought us to where we are now, just imagine what another two of him and a Democratic government will bring. Add to that a small but vocal group of elected conservatives chomping on their heels? Granted, it is a dangerous proposition. But it may be just what the doctor ordered for a new American Renaissance.

LA replies:

You wrote:

“If two years of Obama brought us to where we are now, just imagine what another two of him and a Democratic government will bring.”

It could bring utter conservative defeat and demoralization. If Obamacare is not repealed, the country will have passed through a transition that cannot be reversed.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 18, 2010 05:59 PM | Send

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