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Posted at 5:50 PM ET, 12/ 8/2010

Christine O'Donnell, tragedy, and the rule of three

By Alexandra Petri


"Tragedy comes in threes," Christine O'Donnell said to a gathering in Virginia. "Pearl Harbor, Elizabeth Edwards's passing and Barack Obama's announcement of extending the tax cuts, which is good, but also extending the unemployment benefits."

I almost hate to poke fun at this. It's like shooting a low-hanging puppy in a barrel.

But this being said, really, Christine? One of these things is not like the others! The last time I saw anything that came close to such a woefully incongruous combination of things was when I found myself sitting next to two Walter Cronkites. I can't imagine Christine O'Donnell scored well on the part of the SAT's in which you have to pick which one doesn't belong. "The Titanic, the death of FDR, and the passage of the 19th Amendment." "The Hindenberg, the demise of John Lennon, and the passage of McCain-Feingold."

The rule of three in tragedies implies that two like things are followed by another of the same kind. But Christine O'Donnell's remark is actually a fairly accurate illustration of what, in comedy, is known as the rule of three. As New York comedian Harrison Greenbaum once told me, seeing two skinny men walk out of a car followed by another skinny man isn't funny. Seeing two skinny men walk out of a car, followed by a fat man -- that's more like it! Christine O'Donnell's juxtaposition of these three things is so awful it almost seems like a joke.

I don't know whether she meant to make light of the tragedies, but it's like the old saying, "If you ever can see yourself saying the phrase 'I certainly didn't intend to make light of the tragedies,' because of a remark you're about to make, maybe you should reconsider that remark." Assuming it's not a failure to understand the gravity imbalance, maybe Christine legitimately doesn't understand how to group things.

With this in mind, here are a few other things I assume Christine O'Donnell Thinks Should Be Linked Together.

  • Fish gotta swim, bird gotta fly, man gotta shop at Zales.
  • Athos, Porthos, and Bob Dole
  • "Star Wars," "The Empire Strikes Back," and "Burlesque"
  • Planes, Trains, and Waxman-Markey
  • The Father, The Son, and John Kerry, who is good, but also extending the unemployment benefits.

By Alexandra Petri  | December 8, 2010; 5:50 PM ET
Categories:  Epic Failures, Petri, Worst Things Ever  | Tags:  Christine O'Donnell, Too soon?, trains  
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I can't think of anything to say about Ms. O'Donnell's comments other than "Holy Crap". Is there no end to the Tea Party idiocy?

Would at least one tea bagger who is poised to use this blog as another excuse to take a shot as Obama the Muslim or some other such nonsense at least FIRST acknowledge that this woman is a dolt.

Posted by: tradeczar | December 8, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

This idiot has no political career to speak of, much like $arah Palin. Let's stop talking about either.

Posted by: SmallBusiness | December 8, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

a) Sarah Palin, b) Christine O'Donnell, 2) erudition

Posted by: tradeczar | December 8, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Until today, the three greatest tragedies of modern times were:

1. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

2. The Holocaust

3. No more crazy statements from Christine O'Donnell since the election.

But I just found out that CHRISTINE O'DONNELL IS BACK!!! Right after her latest gaff, which you so ably described, she stated that she is following in the footsteps of Sarah Palin (SarahPAC), and now has her very own ChristinePAC!

"The Republican and tea party favorite says the PAC will allow her to endorse candidates, do independent expenditures in certain races and lobby on issues."

This is great news for the ComPost. But the only thing that worries me is that there is now an empty slot for a new disaster. And the only thing I can think of that would be as bad as the first two is:

3. Petri stops writing for the ComPost. (hypothetically)

Posted by: divtune | December 8, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

divtune. Until today, the three greatest tragedies of modern times were:

1. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

2. The Holocaust

3. No more crazy statements from Christine O'Donnell since the election.


Posted by: veritasinmedium | December 9, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

O'Donnell is a Palin wanna-be, but I don't think she can make it. For which I am grateful - one Palin is enough.

Of course, there is also Michelle Bachman, though one does hear more about Palin. Maybe Bachman hasn't figured out how to tweet.

Posted by: vklip | December 9, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Looks like someone opened the gates to the loony bin again. Why should the press or anyone else pay any attention to what these whackos say?

Posted by: inewsmaster | December 9, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

When nobody rules, everybody rules. When everybody rules, there will be more options. I'm rolling with 3 Jims. Bond, Beam and Dean. Hope I die before I get old. Rock option, depends, granite is forever. A diamond is debt, then comes divorce. Promises in the dark. Kids end up with hearts of stone. Family tragedy. They're not dead, just half dead.

Posted by: jobandon | December 10, 2010 5:20 AM | Report abuse

You're insanely great, jobandon. Just watch out for the 4th Jim. (Jones)

Posted by: divtune | December 10, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I believe Christine O'Donnell is inferring the common denominator of December 7th to the three events, but the tax cut deal was announced on December 6th. She'd be more interesting if she claimed she were a witch, vice not a witch.

Posted by: fester_adams | December 12, 2010 7:10 AM | Report abuse

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