Of Course, I Was Going to Vote for Christine O'Donnell Before This

If I lived in Delaware. And I was seized by a spirit of Theater of the Absurd. And I thought having her in the Senate might make CSPAN live coverage more fun. And if I hadn't read via Chris Good the latest gem, unearthed by the AP from 2006:

>>She said China had a "carefully thought out and strategic plan to take over America" and accused one opponent of appeasement for suggesting that the two countries were economically dependent and should find a way to be allies.

"That doesn't work," she said. "There's much I want to say. I wish I wasn't privy to some of the classified information that I am privy to."<<

Thumbnail image for chinese-military.jpgIt's not the concern about takeover that's so far-fetched. Who knows how the world will look in 50 years. It is the "privy to classified information" riff that, to anyone who knows anything about the world of politics, instantly signals, "I am completely insane."

"Dabbling" in witchcraft, mice with human brains -- yeah yeah, I don't care. But the idea (a) that there would be a secret document laying it all out, (b) that it would have come into her hands, and (c) that her confidentiality oaths would bind her to protect it -- all this  instantly connects her with the vast reserve armies of conspiratorialist lunatics that anyone in any branch of public life (media, politics, civil service) encounters over the years. I'm never sure which is worse: the person who says, "If you will just spend six hours with me on the phone discussing my single-space document with handwritten marginalia, you will finally understand the true conspiracy!" Or, the person who says, "I wish I could show you the single-space document that contains the final proof, but They would come to get me if I said another word." It's a close call.

Either way, Ms. O'Donnell, I now have a familiar category into which to fit you. It's been fun until now.  UPDATE: There is more to the story than I thought! More here.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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