Of course Tea Party classic Christine O’Donnell walked off Piers Morgan


“You” is looking good! (Mark Wilson/GETTY IMAGES)

Most of Christine O’Donnell’s life in the public eye can be best summarized by the phrase, “Christine O’Donnell does something that causes people to Google Christine O’Donnell.” She’s always been the extreme case (right after Abercrombie and Fitch and the Situation) that people cite after someone says “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

“But what if the only publicity you are getting for your Senate campaign is because they found video of you saying you once dabbled in witchcraft?” people ask.

“Nope, still better than nothing,” they say. “Maybe make an ad about it.”

Christine O’Donnell has had the opposite of most people’s life goals — to go from being a Fun Person saying Kooky Things on Bill Maher to a Real Person with Game-Changing Ideas. “All I’ve ever wanted was to be taken seriously!” she insists. This is the opposite of what has happened.

It’s almost as though someone placed a curse on her: all the attention you could ever hope to have but none of the respect. Most people just have awkward phases in high school that they find difficult to live down. She has an entire career commenting on Bill Maher. No matter where she goes and what she does, or how many books she writes, she will always be that lady who Isn’t A Witch. The book she wrote is called “Troublemaker.” If it were called, “Still Not A Witch,” I’m afraid it would sell twice as many copies.

I have to say, I’ve missed having Christine O’Donnell in the public eye. Even a shoddy interview with Piers Morgan in which he seemed to think that she was Michele Bachmann (which makes me worry that all conservative women look identical to him, something that must be awkward at parties when he asks Sarah Palin if she’s “still in touch with all 23 of those kids”) is better than nothing.

Ostensibly, she was promoting her book. It contains a lot of ideas for the Tea Party movement, she told Morgan. Admittedly, the only idea that has made its way into the public eye is the idea that “if you want people to listen to you, don’t make an ad in which you specifically state that you are not a witch.” But I’m sure there are other, better ideas in there too! And she was going to tell us all about them if Piers Morgan hadn’t kept asking her questions about Topical Social Issues in the hope that some controversy might emerge.

People are down on Morgan as well, what with all the phone-hacking swarming about in his native land (O’Donnell jocularly tweeted about it afterward), and it’s probably accurate to say that the only way to get publicity from being interviewed on his show is to walk off halfway through. No wonder he was asking all those questions. “Say something!" he seemed to be begging. “Say something controversial that people will Google later! Hex me!”

O’Donnell did even better than that. She invoked the law of Vastly Disproportionate Responses and hit the road. Free publicity for all involved! Now we can spend the next day trying to decide whether he crossed some invisible line or not, and whether the walkout was silly. Good idea? Bad idea?

It’ll definitely sell the book.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences".

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