CNN host Soledad O’Brien finally had an Inigo Montoya moment on Monday, and all it took was former Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell misusing the word “Marxist.”
Granted, it’s not the first time O’Donnell, a longtime anti-abortion activist, has called the president or Democrats “Marxist.” She even used the term to describe her Democratic opponent, Chris Coons, drawing exclamation points across the conservative blogosphere. But when she rolled it out on O’Brien’s show Monday, describing the president’s public statements as “Marxist sound bites,” it was little more than a nonstarter.
“Why do you think they’re Marxist?” O’Brien asked. “I mean, you kind of throw the words socialist and Marxist around that are not necessarily, I think, anchored in definitions of socialism and Marxism. So give me the definition.”
“Well, they absolutely are,” O’Donnell replied. “They absolutely are. But let me, I’ll get to that…”
O’Donnell instead began speaking about an upcoming tea party event where a staged debate between tea partiers and occupy supporters is planned. She finally added: “And I would say that they’re Marxist because of the things that you hear coming from him about share the wealth, economic equality. And these soundbites might sound good and noble on the surface, but the problem is there’s quantifiable data that prove that they simply don’t work, and we’re a free market economy that’s supposed to empower the individual, let each person use their gifts, use the rewards to create a better life for themselves instead of what Barack Obama is posing – a tax code that punishes hard work, a tax code that reduces everybody to exactly the same.”
Unfortunately for O’Donnell, “sound bites” aren’t acts of policy, the president’s tax proposals do nothing of the sort, and encouraging people to share and be civil isn’t even close to the definition of “Marxism.” Even so, she’s not likely to stop saying it any time soon.
One mistake she probably won’t make again is calling herself a “policy wonk” in front of O’Brien. Earlier in the segment she’d mentioned that “policy wonks like me” read a lot of statistics and figures that apathetic youth don’t. “You’re a policy wonk now? When did that happen?” O’Brien asked a moment later, prompting O’Donnell to change the term, then change the subject.
“Well, I’ve been involved in politics for 20 years,” she tried to explain. “I mean, that’s what… Policy junkie. Political junkie. You know, I mean… We read these reports. We read when people say, that person is gonna destroy Medicare or, you know, worse than the other. But most don’t. Especially the young people. That’s why they’re so apathetic. That’s why those statistics are so so alarming.”
This video was broadcast by CNN on Monday, August 20, 2012.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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