O'Donnell's Not 'Authentic,' She's Ignorant

Joe Klein thinks it's sad that our culture confuses those things
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2010 12:37 PM CDT
Democratic candidate Chris Coons and Republican candidate Christine O'Donnell, right, respond to a question during a televised Delaware Senate debate at the University of Delaware, Oct. 13, 2010.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

(Newser) – America loves the Mr. Smith Goes to Washington fantasy, the idea of a common person speaking common sense to power. But Mr. Smith knew his stuff. “Christine O’Donnell is not like that. She is attractive to some, because she doesn’t know anything,” writes Joe Klein of Time. She couldn’t even name a Supreme Court case she disagreed with. “There is no way she could ever be confused with a member of the elites; there is no way she could be confused with an above average high school student.”

That, in our current political culture, makes her “authentic.” She’s not alone, of course—she’s in a “lifeboat filled with other Tea Party know-nothings” piloted by the “exemplar of ignorant authenticity, Sarah Palin.” It’s easy to see the appeal; for a generation, our leaders have relied on elite financiers, who have now been utterly disgraced. But “there is something profoundly diseased about a society that idolizes its ignoramuses and disdains its experts,” Klein argues. “It is a society that no longer takes itself seriously.”

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