Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Senate Candidate Learns Important Lesson About Constitution

She's learningTo the Delaware Senate race, where Republican Christine O'Donnell squared off with Democrat Chris Coons in a debate this morning:

Coons said that creationism, which he considers "a religious doctrine," should not be taught in public schools due to the Constitution's First Amendment. He argued that it explicitly enumerates the separation of church and state.

"The First Amendment does?" O'Donnell asked. "Let me just clarify: You're telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?"

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," Coons responded, reciting from memory the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

"That's in the First Amendment…?" O'Donnell responded.

Chris Coons, you are blowing this thing! What kind of an egghead knows the First Amendment by heart? Who wants to have a beer with that guy? Loser.

58 Comments / Post A Comment

AdamantFire (#4,916)

I literally saw a story two seconds ago that said that while O'Donnell doesn't know her ass from third base, Coons blew it when he was asked what the other freedoms in the first amendment were besides freedom of religion and he couldn't name *one.*

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

Speech and assembly. DISASTER 2012!!!

Let me clarify: You're telling me that O'Donnell's ass and third base are separate?

cherrispryte (#444)

There are six of them, right? freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, the right to petition the gov't, ……. and that one I always forget.

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

Religion is divided into establishment and free exercise, if you want to get fancy.

cherrispryte (#444)

I always want to get fancy.

KarenUhOh (#19)

"I understood there would be no math."

gumplr (#66)

"What you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul."

TCJunior (#1,099)

If someone were to actually use that in a debate, I might have to move to that state just to vote for them.

MSP (#7,417)

I mean, if the Framers had really wanted it in the Constitution, it would have been in there–not in an Amendment–right?

cherrispryte (#444)

Are you calling me an idiot, sir?
No, the brand-new state of Georgia is.

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)


KarenUhOh (#19)

"It's okay. I have White-Out."

HiredGoons (#603)

why did you White-Out your computer screen?

Well, in fairness: witchcraft is more of a vocation than a religion.

garge (#736)

Earlier in the debate, O'Donnell accused Coons of constitutional ignorance, saying that "perhaps they didn't teach you Constitutional law at Yale Divinity School."

aklfhljahjladksfhk I wish I knew the ending so I could enjoy the arc of the saga, instead of shivering with anxiety like a caged rabbit.

cherrispryte (#444)

O'Donnell has absolutely zero chance of actually beating Coons. Coons has like a 19 point lead, and two-thirds of Delaware's registered voters are Democrats. There's really nothing to worry about – sit back, get some popcorn, and watch the insanity unfold.

garge (#736)

But the intonation and red blazer gives me pre- and post-traumatic Palin stress as the newsreel shifts to her 2012 rhetoric, and I just can't find any enjoyment from it. Which is really sad, because the witch stuff is really the best of the midterm season!

hockeymom (#143)

O'Donnell is amusing…but not a threat. People should be looking more closely at Ron Johnson in Wisconsin who is going to beat Russ Feingold.
Johnson not only is an apologist for big business and insurance companies, he's a tacit supporter of pedophile priests (uber Catholic) and a climate denier.
Johnson is a Tea Party candidate who will probably be going to Washington.
O'Donnell will just be going to FOX.

KarenUhOh (#19)

HM, Ron Johnson is a stone-cold spooky white man. He has the corporate oppression package down.

garge (#736)

That's exactly it, hockeymom. It's the actual threats like Ron Johnson that makes me humorless about the rest.

barnhouse (#1,326)

You guys, though, Feingold is going to win. Instead of providing cover for the other Tea Partiers, O'Donnell is dragging 'em down with her.

Matt (#26)

Hey man we will take care of our own, okay? Thanks for your concern, that will be $5 for passing through.


KarenUhOh (#19)

The CBS News website comments section in the link apparently won't let you type "Coons." It prints as "C****."

saythatscool (#101)

Niggardly lover

LondonLee (#922)


boyofdestiny (#1,243)

Apropos of not much, I'll be dressing up as Christine O'Donnell for Halloween. I'll post pics!

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

Oh. My. God.

May steal this.

KarenUhOh (#19)

That's a great idea, but how are you doing the invisible head?

garge (#736)

I don't even need a wig, and I have just the pentagram! Lets get a troupe of Christines together and video gchat conference the whole thing.

garge (#736)

But, umm, for the record I do not wear my hair like that.

Mindpowered (#948)

It's merely empty.

A balloon on top of a broomstick should suffice.

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

The defining accessory will be the copy of the Constitution that I won't be carrying around.

How will you not be mistaken for Sarah Palin?

cherrispryte (#444)

@Captain- By bumpit size. O'Donnell's clearly a mini bumpit at the moment. Once she shoots something from a helicopter, she'll be allowed the prestigious "hollywood bumpit" of Palin.
Thusly: http://www.lovemybumpits.com/images/product_bnr_size.jpg

@cherri: a;ldkjfdkjf;akdfj

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

You do like to get fancy.

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

To be clear: I am not wearing a bumpit.

NominaStultorum (#1,638)

Without fail, I look at that word and see "bum-pit" rather than "bump-it." Then I laugh, then I shudder, then I laugh again.

EvilMonkey (#1,063)

Delaware legislature considering change to state motto: "Sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here."

joshc (#442)

In fairness, they never specified that they were talking about the US Muggle Constitution.

Abe Sauer (#148)

Ha ha ha. Crazy person; but sadly, she is not technically wrong… yet. Thanks to how education standards are set at the local level, if a district or state's board wants to teach creative design, it is constitutional (for now).

While her reasoning for asking it may be flawed, she's not technically wrong on the separation of church and state question. The long-standing practice of using "separation of church and state" as shorthand for what the constitution actually says re: "congress shall make no law blah blah blah religion" is coming back to bite progressives in the ass. Sadly, many people who think themselves smarter than O'Donnell (and who, in fact, are) are themselves sorely ignorant about the term "separation of church and state."

This technicality is a cornerstone of tea party arguments to get religion (Christian only!) back into schools. And because of the oppositions' misunderstanding about what's actually in the constitution re: religion, it's working.

Here's Constitutional professor Bradlee Dean explaining exactly the talking points O'Donnell is quoting, and which are becoming increasingly popular and widespread.

Just like our "right" to privacy. No such thing exists, exactly.

erikonymous (#3,231)

Well, it is and it isn't. While the exact wording promoting a "separation of church and state" is not in the Constitution, the Supreme Court has upheld time and again that such a separation is constitutional, based largely on interpretation of the 1st amendment, especially when applied to public schools.
I'm troubled by those who trot out the Constitution too regularly, as the document itself proscribes very little. People who rely on it too heavily in argument seem insistent on glossing over the past 200+ years of legislative and judicial action in this country, action which, honestly, has a lot more bearing on the way the country looks now.

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

I was brought up on the "separation of church and state isn't in the constitution" argument, and I believed it, dare I say, religiously. Then I discovered it was horseshit as soon as I was old enough to have a copy of the constitution in the appendices of my history textbook. I read the first amendment and was like, "Wait, what? It's right there!"

I had been led to expect that it was buried in some letter one of the founding fathers wrote, but it's right in the first fucking amendment staring you in the face. No amount of denying history or bitching about shades of meaning and exact turns of phrase can change the text that is right there in front of you.

erikonymous (#3,231)

When I was back home a few years ago, I foolishly got into a conversation with my parents concerning the right of government to proscribe certain types of marriage, what with marriage being a religious institution. I brought up the first amendment, saying something like, "The first amendment protects the freedom of religion!" And my stepfather fired back with, "But it also protects us from the freedom of no religion." Which is when my brain exploded.

Mindpowered (#948)

Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

Remember when Mitt Romney said "Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom" and was rightly lambasted for it? Good times!

Abe Sauer (#148)

@erik: "While the exact wording promoting a "separation of church and state" is not in the Constitution…" That's when tea partiers stop listening and declaring themselves right.

Abe Sauer (#148)

and *start* declaring…

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

@erik: I get into that kind of conversation with my parents almost every time I see them.

@Abe: In the long run, it's not a bad thing to have them making those declarations. As with me, some percentage of their kids are going to actually go read the bill of rights and get an ice-cold bucket of reality in the face.

There's a reason conservatives are petrified of "indoctrination" schemes targeted at children: a ton of conservatives' kids do switch sides, especially on social issues, when they get older. They end up doing crazy shit like quiverfull in a desperate attempt to beat the numbers.

The more blatantly, verifiably false core beliefs a group professes, the more followers they're going to shed over the years, and the less traction they'll have recruiting people to their cause. The crazier your movement is, the faster it will starve.

erikonymous (#3,231)

@ABE I know! That's what makes me so ragey! The Constitution is not the final word on law in this country! It was the first! (If you don't count the Articles, of course. I don't!)

Abe Sauer (#148)

@Dr. "to actually go read the bill of rights and get an ice-cold bucket of reality in the face."

I'm not so sure. The funny thing about so much of our funding docs is that they are VERY open to interpretation. The 2nd amendment being a prime example. And if you are dead set on historically justifying your belief system you will find a way to reason it.

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

I agree that, like the bible, the oldtimey language of our laws makes them easy to willfully misinterpret. But I'm talking about passing that entrenched belief system from one generation to another, and that changes the dynamics a lot.

Every kid goes through the process of discovering their parents' failings. It's inevitable, considering the way we deify our parents for the first few years of our lives. During that period, it's really common to discover that some of your parents' belief systems that you took for granted are flawed, and worth rejecting.

Sure, some kids will take to the belief systems anyway because of their effects, and continue the cycle of twisting the evidence to fit the desired result — but not all. It doesn't even have to be a THEY WERE FUCKING LYING TO ME ALL ALONG thing to stick, but damn does that help.

barnhouse (#1,326)

@DoctorDisaster, I am very fond of you. (Not in that objectifying on the Internet way! But I am.)

KarenUhOh (#19)

I think her insightful retort–which aptly recognizes the absence of the literal, thus opening the floor for interpretation more in keeping with the spirit of our Founding Fathers–was obscured by her clumsy failure to follow her question with Nyah nyah nyah nyn nah nah!!

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