Christine O’Donnell’s fading hopes in her US Senate race were likely completely killed off last night, when SNL perfectly spoofed her first campaign ad, with SNL’s O’Donnell saying, “I’m not a witch. I’m nothing like you heard. I’m you and just like you, I have to constantly deny that I’m a witch.”
Here is the video from NBC:
They got the tone of the ad right from the moment they opened with, “Hi, I’m Christine O’Donnell and I’m not a witch. I’m nothing like you heard. I’m you and just like you, I have to constantly deny that I’m a witch. Isn’t that what the people of Delaware deserve? A candidate who promises first and foremost that she is not a witch, that’s the kind of candidate Delaware hasn’t had since 1692, and that’s why if elected to the human senate I promise to fly straight down to Washington….on a plane, and do exactly what you would do, not spells…..I know the problems facing our nation, because I’ve been living among you since I moved to Delaware from the Black Forest of Germany almost 3,000 years ago.”
Out of all the clips that have surfaced from Christine O’Donnell’s past, I thought that the witchcraft one was the least harmful of the bunch. To me, the clips where she questions science and evolution, and admits that she picked Christianity because she did not want to become a vegetarian would have been much more politically damaging, so it is always fascinating to see what pop culture adopts and uses as a defining characteristic for our political figures.
The SNL parody of O’Donnell’s “I’m You” ad picked up on the bizarre decision by the O’Donnell campaign to have her address, and therefore validate, the witchcraft image. It would have been a much better decision to release a more generic positive ad, and then book Christine O’Donnell on Real Time with Bill Maher, which would have had the benefits of letting her address this in the proper forum, given her tons of positive free media coverage, and gotten Bill Maher to stop airing those old embarrassing clips. A ten or fifteen minute sit down on the air with Maher could have reversed this whole thing.
In my mind O’Donnell had three options for dealing with Witchcraft Gate. She could have ignored everything associated with her witchcraft comment. She could have spoken about it right away in the appropriate venue, or the worst thing she could have done was mention it in an ad, so that her entire message gets lost, as the image O’Donnell the witch is given new life, and we all know which one she chose. This image has now become ingrained in the public perception of O’Donnell. She will forever and always be known as the witch who ran for Senate in Delaware.
One of the few ways that SNL is still relevant is their ability to do political humor. They perfectly took apart Christine O’Donnell’s ad to poke fun at the absolute of absurdity of a candidate for the United States Senate having to deny that she is a witch. The fact that she felt compelled to state such a denial should disqualify her from ever holding political office anywhere in the United States of America. The true insanity was the fact she cut a get to know me ad, when she is already known by 97% of the voters in the state. After SNL last night the ad was not only a misstep, but it cemented a public image that will now haunt Christine O’Donnell for the rest of her life.