It’s fitting that Christine O’Donnell, the woman who just pried the Republican nomination for a Delaware Senate seat out of the grasping hands of the party establishment, started her public career in the never-ending battle against teenage masturbation. If you don’t believe me take a look at this video from the mid-90s.
The war against sin isn’t what it used to be. O’Donnell doesn’t come off as some aspiring puritan with a pile of scarlet “Ms” to sew onto the backpacks of adolescent Hester Prynnes. She looks more like one of the good-looking, but disarmingly innocent, teenage daughters you’d see in a critically disparaged, but top-rated, prime-time sitcom.
That raises an interesting (but given what the polling experts are telling us, probably academic) question: will wide dissemination of the video showing O'Donnell as a young culture warrior help or hurt her Senate candidacy? The video will undoubtedly inspire ridicule from people who wouldn’t have voted for her anyway. But it will certainly mobilize social conservatives in a low-turnout election, and might even endear O’Donnell some to the Independents who watch the sort of sitcoms I’m thinking of—at least those who don’t spend an excessive amount of time pleasuring themselves. Perhaps a goodly number of them are ready to tolerate a little over-the-top social conservatism from someone who isn't hard on the eyes in order to express their opposition to the Obama agenda.
There probably aren’t enough people like that in Delaware to make much of an electoral difference, but Democrats should tread carefully anyway. Their disdain has already created one Sarah Palin.