THANKS, SCHMUCK. I'M GOING TO BE REBUKED FOR THIS FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE
I woke up to find out that Gawker has published a creepy, repulsive story by a guy claiming to have gone out to a bar with Christine O'Donnell and some friends, after which he brought her back to his apartment and ultimately went to bed with her, though they didn't have sex. It reads like the worst letter to Penthouse ever; I want to mock it, but it comes off as an act of hostility that has nothing to do with politics or even culture-war hypocrisy, and it's understandably infuriating NOW and making other feminists and liberals feel sympathy for O'Donnell. It's nasty for reasons that transcend my political views or yours or anyone else's.
Nevertheless ... for a moment I did loathe the anonymous writer -- since outed as one Dustin Dominiak -- for short-term political reasons. Does what this guy wrote and Gawker published make it possible that Republicans will take over the Senate as well as the House, with a delegation that includes O'Donnell as well as Sharron Angle and Ken Buck and Rand Paul and possibly Joe Miller?
Nahhh. I don't see this changing votes in Delaware. I think voters there have made up their minds about O'Donnell; they're rejecting her for flightiness and goofy public pronouncements rather than ideological extremism, but I'll take it.
But this is going to be thrown in the faces of liberals and Democrats forever. Even though a lot of us have condemned it, this is going to be our fault. It's a little past three in the morning in Alaska right now, but the Palin Twitter/Facebook machine is going to be running on all cylinders in a matter of hours. It's going to be that much harder top condemn legitimately evil acts by Republicans in the future because this happened and, well, how dare those liberals complained when their "smear machine" does this?
I could easily see it having some effect even this year, far from Delaware, as, say Sharron Angle or some Angle surrogate (Palin?) makes the argument to wavering right-centrist female swing voters that they should vote for Angle because this just shows that Democrats hate women and conservatives are the real feminists. This just shows that liberals don't really believe in "choice" because they mock O'Donnell's choice to remain a virgin. (You know the drill.)
This won't have a huge effect. But it will show up in many indictments of the crimes of liberalism for years to come.
(And I should add that liberals aren't just going to be accused of misogyny. They're going to be accused, yet again, of hating Christianity.)
Jezebel's Jessica Coen argues that our interest in this story is inevitable and unsurprising, and strictly gender-based:
...If the politician in question were a man, this wouldn't be a story -- an anonymous woman probably wouldn't even think to contact a gossip site with her story about how she once played spin-the-bottle with Mr. Candidate....
Wait -- let me revise that a bit: perhaps a lady from Mr. Candidate's innocent past would step forward with such a small faux-scandalous tale, and we'd briefly pay attention to it -- but only if Mr. Candidate were viewed as patently ridiculous as is O'Donnell.... And that brings us back to the Would Never Happen column, because even the most absurd male candidates aren't considered half as loony as their female equivalents are....
But a woman? Well, that's different. First of all, she's a Crazy Bitch, and nothing holds our attention more than a hilariously Crazy Bitch. Oh, she's not, like, a bitch bitch -- more like we've transformed her into our silly bitch, our punchline bitch (and no, Jezebel is not innocent here). Crazy Bitch isn't necessarily crazy because she's a woman, mind you -- but the fact that she's a woman does make her craziness seem a lot more funny, doesn't it? ...
I'm not 100% persuaded by this. First of all, Christine O'Donnell isn't just a "crazy bitch," she's proudly celibate. I can easily imagine a socially conservative Republican man proudly declaring that he's a fervent Christian and therefore a virgin -- there's a fair amount of that out there in the heartland. (Remember the Jonas Brothers and their promise rings?) In a crazy, teabagger year like this one, couldn't a male virgin win a GOP primary? To me that's the question: Do righties really admire this kind of sexual purity across the board, or would they think, in a man, it was kind of ... unseemly?
I'm not sure. But if a proud-virgin male got through a GOP primary, I think opponents would be trying really, really hard to show him up as a hypocrite.
As for male craziness -- well, a lot of us on the left are connoisseurs of the weirdness of Alan Keyes. However, it's true that he's never become a household name in non-political America the way O'Donnell has. So maybe that means we treat women worse. But what if he'd never emerged until this year, and he burst onto the scene as a standard-bearer for the tea party? What then?
Maybe we still mock women more. But I think he'd be a big, fat target for derision.
OH, AND: It just gets worse.
The Delaware GOP Senate nominee has nearly halved the lead Democratic rival Chris Coons holds over her in the First State's widely-watched Senate race, a poll released Friday shows.
In a Monmouth University poll, Coons now leads O'Donnell 51-41 percent, whereas two weeks ago, the New Castle County executive led the conservative activist 57-38 percent....
And that's before Gawker-gate.
Well, you know what? If we get Senator O'Donnell, we deserve what we get. It means we're a once-great country that's now a joke and an embarrassment.