Running for political office? Check your morality at the door, if you want to avoid the disdain of Newsweek.
This scrutiny of O'Donnell's morality came after comedian Bill Maher released video footage of a young O'Donnell appearing on his “Politically Incorrect” show in 1998. Newsweek stated correctly that “O'Donnell appeared on the show as the moral absolutist foil to Maher's liberal guests.” People painted as foils often are given the benefit of the doubt, since they are in situations where they are made to look ridiculous. Newsweek extended no such kindness to O'Donnell.
On one clip O'Donnell admitted she had “dabbled in witchcraft.” She clarified that, “I was never in a coven,” and has laughed off the revelation in recent campaign appearances.
Witchcraft aside, Newsweek was took issue with O'Donnell for arguing “that one should never lie under any circumstances.” Generally honesty is a desirable attribute in a politician, but to Newsweek it is a sign of extremism.
O'Donnell was also criticized for once stating that homosexuality is an “identity disorder”. Newsweek misrepresents this as an extreme view. A 2008 Gallup poll shows that Americans are equally divided over the morality of homosexuality.
Regarding the election, Newsweek admitted that “[I]t's doubtful O'Donnell's support will erode because of things she said on TV during the 1990s. The more pressing concern for her campaign has to be how moderate voters will react to an emerging theme, that of apparent moral absolutism.”
O'Donnell has stated that her faith has “matured” since the time of those clips. Hopefully, it hasn't matured away from valuing honesty and taking traditional morality seriously.