Libenter homines id quod volunt credunt

When you or I think of Christine O’Donnell we think of a socially stunted teenager just back from Summer Jesus Camp who wants the whole world to be just like Jesus Camp forever and ever but then the secular world has to go and harsh her spiritual mellow with it’s rules and obligations and paying bills and reality and gravity and stuff. And then she runs for the US Senate because she has no marketable skills. The end.

To some guy named Michael Knox Beran, Christine O’Donnell is a Rousseauian creature; innocent and pure, but blessed with preternatural political skills that may well  strike a chord with an electorate seeking a savior who will save the Republic from socialists, Islamists and a super-race of braniac micemen.

Writes Mr. Knox Beran, after pointing out that O’Donnell shares certain beliefs with Immanuel Kant (no, really) :

O’Donnell has been compared to Palin, but she has nothing like Palin’s record of accomplishment. Palin, when she became John McCain’s running-mate in 2008, had in succession run a business, a town, and a state even as she raised a family.

We will pause here briefly.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Oh, Jesus. Good one. Awesome….. Please continue:

O’Donnell, by contrast, has been little more than a gadfly and a perennial office-seeker.

True dat.

Yet she has, undeniably, a political gift; her gaffes can be plausibly explained, and perhaps her finances as well; gadflies have their virtues, of which courage is not the least. Her critique of the statist policies of the “ruling-class elites” has touched a nerve.

It is true that the word “elite” is apt to be tossed around a little casually in hard times. No simple definition of the term is likely to prove satisfactory, and the pathologies O’Donnell is concerned to isolate are more characteristic of certain members of the leading classes than others. Her bête noire is the elitist who has embraced the intrusive social state. The social creed was once the philosophy of rebels against established order; but, as Lionel Trilling long ago showed…

Okay. There were about fourteen words in the preceding with which Christine O’Donnell is unfamiliar and that includes “hard”. Hey-o! Rim shot. Thanks, I’ll be here all week.

But do go on…

The instinct to back her during the primary and accentuate the positive now seems to me right. O’Donnell’s political élan, at this point, probably helps the cause to which she adheres more than her naïveté hurts it: indeed, in this election cycle naïveté holds a certain charm for voters, and attempts to ridicule hers could well yield a Checkers-like moment that will redound to her advantage.

Shorter: pity vote.

John Henry Newman, when he led the Anglo-Catholic Oxford Movement that shook the Church of England in the 1830s, went so far as to argue that naïve enthusiasm is more valuable, in reform movements, than the sophisticated tactical expediency that finds its “beau idéal” in “safe, sound, sensible men,” and in “a timid cautious course” charted by “second rate” characters “with low views” and “tame dull” ideas.

Newman conceded that the enthusiastic naïf is likely to have his foibles. But while “incidentally faulty in mode or language,” he is “still peculiarly effective.” The “very faults” of such an individual “excite attention; he loses, but his cause, if good, and he powerful minded, gains . . .”

John Henry Newman also once wrote that “…dull-witted men oft times find great promise and potential in anything with two tits and a flag pin”. Don’t bother looking that up. He wrote that on an autographed Anglo-Catholic Oxford Movement trading card (1832 Topps #177, rookie card) that I own.

O’Donnell knows how to excite attention, but are her faults more than foibles — will they be a decisive liability? Is she “powerful minded” enough to vindicate her cause in the Senate? These are legitimate questions….

But we already know the answer.

“Castle would have had a significant ideological and geographical advantage over O’Donnell,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Castle would have had a 24-point lead among independents, but O’Donnell appears to have a seven-point deficit among them. Castle would have also had a 19-point edge in New Castle County, the most populous part of the state, but O’Donnell is losing that key region by 18 points.”

According to the survey, a small but significant chunk of Republican voters may be helping to put Coons over the top. “CNN has conducted polls in nine other Senate races this fall, and the Democratic candidate has never gotten double-digit support among Republicans in any of them. But 15 percent of Delaware Republicans are choosing Coons. That may not sound like much, but in today’s polarized political environment, it’s a big advantage that any Democrat would like to have,” Holland said.

The poll also indicates that Coons, the executive of New Castle County, holds a nearly two to one advantage among female voters, and takes 49 percent of the male vote to O’Donnell’s 46 percent. Coons also has a 15 point advantage over O’Donnell among voters 50 and older, who tend to make up a larger percentage of the electorate in midterm elections than they do during presidential election years.

So, to quote Thomas Aquinas:

“A man has free choice to the extent that he is rational. Like not betting on the horse that’s limping, because that would be pretty fucking stupid”

You can look that one up.

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Yeah. Like I would tell you....