October 20, 2010

ANN ALTHOUSE ON Coons, O’Donnell, and the Separation of Church and State.

Suffice it to say that it was not stupid for O’Donnell to say “That’s in the First Amendment?” — because it’s not. Coons was presenting a version of what’s in the cases interpreting the text, not the text itself.

The 2 were talking past each other, trying to look good and make the other look bad. It is a disagreement about law between 2 individuals who are not running for judge. It’s not detailed legal analysis. It’s a political debate and this is a political disagreement. An important one, no doubt. But it can’t be resolved by laughing at one person and calling her an idiot, something I find quite repellent.

Bah. O’Donnell is so stupid, she probably thinks the Boston Tea Party took place in 1773. Dumb wingnut.

Plus, from the comments:

I don’t think they were talking past each other so much as O’Donnell was trying to get Coons to speak precisely whereas Coons wanted to speak in more general colloquial terms.

The real problem is the ignorance of the reporters and the people in the audience who couldn’t understand the point O’Donnell was trying to make and so just assumed she was being stupid. The irony being that she was right (and, on this point at least, smarter than them).

Once you understand that to the credentialed-instead-of-educated, the Constitution is a wish-fulfillment device rather than, you know, an authoritative text, it all makes sense. And there’s no real need to know or care about the words in the text, since it means whatever you want it to mean at the moment.

Meanwhile, here’s the video.

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