First the liberal elites represented by the Kos himself and PBS anchor Glenn Ifill gleefully pounced on that bone-headed Sarah Palin for a tweet warning conservatives to continue working to win the upcoming election rather than partying “like its 1773.”
Obviously, thought the great big leftwing brains, she must mean 1776. After all, nothing of any significance happened in 1773. (Except the original Boston Tea Party, of course.)
Then, as William Jacobsen describes, liberal America was laughing itself sick over Christine O’Donnell ‘s ignorance of the First Amendment’s wall of separation between church and state.
[At] Widener Law School …as soon as O’Donnell questioned whether “separation of church and state” was in the First Amendment, the crowd erupted with gasps of disbelief and mocking laughter.
And if O’Donnell’s imperfect — or perhaps nuanced? — understanding of the First Amendment w[as] so outrageous, how about the inability of Chris Coons, a Yale Law School graduate, to identify the other freedoms protected by the First Amendment, and his misquoting the text of the First Amendment in his challenge to O’Donnell:
“Government shall make no establishment of religion,” Coons responded, reciting from memory the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (Coons was off slightly: The first amendment actually reads “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”)
Ann Althouse has more on how Coons simply was wrong in his quotation of the First Amendment which led to O’Donnell’s supposed major gaffe about the Establishment Clause, and how the press has taken O’Donnell’s comments out of context:
O’Donnell reacts: “That’s in the First Amendment?” And, in fact, it’s not. The First Amendment doesn’t say “government.” It says “Congress.” And since the discussion is about what local school boards can do, the difference is highly significant.
Also, it isn’t “shall make no establishment of religion.” It’s “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” There’s a lot one could say about the difference between those 2 phrases, and I won’t belabor it here. Suffice it to say that it was not stupid for O’Donnell to say “That’s in the First Amendment?” — because it’s not. Coons was presenting a version of what’s in the cases interpreting the text, not the text itself.
A literal reading of O’Donnell’s comments reflects that she was correct, but of course, the press and the blogosphere don’t want a literal reading, they want a living, breathing reading which comports with their preconceived notions.
In an age of an increasingly sophisticated public in which alternative information channels, like Fox News, AM talk radio, and the blogosphere exist, it is becoming more and more difficult to succeed in winning debates on the basis of crude sloganeering and oversimplification of complex issues and the leftwing mob winds up looking stupider and stupider when it tries relying on its traditional tactics.