Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Christine O'Donnell Schools Chris Coons

Christine O'Donnell scored big points against Chrissy "Chrome Dome" Coons in a debate on Tuesday during which Christine and Chrissy discussed the First Amendment. Coons misquoted the First Amendment and showed that he's blissfully unaware of about 80% of its content.

The willfully blind left-wing media refuse to acknowledge that their candidate was punked, but the video evidence speaks for itself:

As O'Donnell correctly points out, Coons' words are not in the Constitution.

Note that Coons timidly and inartfully misquotes the establishment clause of the First Amendment:

“Government shall make no establishment of religion..."

I have no idea what the heck that's supposed to mean, but the First Amendment is crystal clear. Contrast Coons' stupid with the Constitution's sublime:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

The distinction between the phrases "Separation of Church and State" and "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" is critically important (and so is the distinction between "government" and "Congress"), and it's clear from the video that Christine O'Donnell very deliberately highlighted this difference:
  • "Where in the Constitution is the 'Separation of Church and State?'"
  • "So you're telling me there's a separtion of Church and State, the phrase 'separation of Church and State' is found in the first Amendment?"
  • “Let me just clarify: You’re telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?”
Here's the crux of their discussion of the matter:

Coons: "The First Amendment, the First Amendment establishes the separation, the fact the Federal Government shall not establish a religion, and decisonal law by the Supreme Court over many, many decades clarifies and enshrines..."

O'Donnell: "The First Amendment does?" [smiling tauntingly and speaking with a didactic tone]

Coons: "...clarifies and enshrines that there is a separation of Church and State that our courts and our laws must respect."

O'Donnell: "So you're telling me there's a separtion of Church and State, the phrase 'separation of Church and State' is found in the first Amendment?"

...and then Coons pontificates about the Court's sacred right to legislate from the bench.

Coons and O'Donnell were debating in parallel, focusing on two separate issues. Coons was fixated on a hackneyed statist meme, i.e., "the text of the Constitution means whatever liberal judges want it to mean," and O'Donnell was focused on a more sophisticated point, i.e., the constitution is NOT a living, breathing document to be raped and abused at will. Every single word of the Constitution is critically important, as the Constitution is the only thing standing between the American people and an abusive Congress or a tyrannical majority.

Dan Riehl reminds us of what all this means, specifically as it relates to the First Amendment:
While the amendment is clear on the government establishing a religion - no doubt driven by previous events in England, the amendment itself does not mandate that all religion be driven out of government. Separation and establishment are two distinctly different things.
Coons' brand of willful ignorance has real-world consequences and implications:
The First Amendment was designed to protect religion from governmental interference and obstruction. Today, by contrast, the courts seem intent on protecting the people from religion.

Thus the ACLU and other far-left groups use the courts to banish religion from the public square. Christian conservatives like O'Donnell naturally find this disconcerting. The First Amendment, after all, protects the free exercise of religion. Yet the courts increasingly have been infringing upon this basic Constitutional liberty.

So while the elites cluck in disapproval at what they believe is O'Donnell's faux pas, the reality is she knows and understands the Constitution better than they do.
Lefties (and even some squishy Righties) do appear to be sincerely convinced that O'Donnell's didactic interrogation of Chris Coons indicates that she didn't know the answers to the questions she was asking. I'm not buying that. Later in the debate, O'Donnell demonstrated her in-depth familiarity with the First Amendment by challenging Chris Coons:
O’Donnell was later able to score some points of her own off the remark, revisiting the issue to ask Coons if he could identify the “five freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment.”

Coons named the separation of church and state, but could not identify the others — the freedoms of speech, press, to assemble and petition — and asked that O’Donnell allow the moderators ask the questions.

“I guess he can’t,” O’Donnell said.
I'm guessing the same. As Michelle Malkin put it, "When he got caught with his own intellectual pants down, Coons runs to the moderators for cover."

Neo-neocon provides astute analysis:
I have noticed a trend in the MSM that goes like this: the press decides that certain candidates on the right are idiots (Palin and O’Connell come to mind, and Bush before them). There is then a sort of lying-in-wait for the absurd utterance to reveal the utterly moronic nature of that person. However, since the press and pundits are not necessarily brilliant critical thinkers themselves, the utterance they fasten in is often (not always, but often) actually more intelligent than they realize. They may not agree with it, but it is seldom based on nothing, and they reveal their own ignorance in their laughing derision of it.
The controversy surrounding 1773-gate is another excellent example of this phenomenon. HillBuzz: "Whenever the Left attempts to attack and ridicule anyone, they normally just damage themselves, without realizing it."

Excellent discussion at neo-neocon and Michelle Malkin.

Cross-posted at Left Coast Rebel

Update: Christine O'Donnell may be as "stupid" as Justice Scalia:


nacilbupera said...

Coons thinks he's smart.
MSM act like they're smart.
Progressives view themselves as innately smarter.
Whereas O'Donnell simply is smart.

And I think RK is not only smart but has a masterful command of vocab. Great Post!

RightKlik said...

Thanks, nacilbupera. I appreciate that!

Winston said...

The lawyers in the room (and the future ones) are smart too; they know the law, which is why they laughed at her comment (and not at Coons' reply), while she smiled thinking she was ever so clever.

Nice try to turn a train wreck into a summer holiday.

Look on the bright side: O'Donnell now has Supreme Court cases she can be against. You know the Supreme Court? Those robed people that make rulings on Constitutional Law (like the separation of church and state, which Republican dominated Courts have upheld).

RightKlik said...

You're so smart, Winston! Thanks for gracing us with your presence.