CHRISTINE O’DONNELL’S MARK KIRK PROBLEM…. Extremist Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell (R) has a record of quotes and beliefs that make it awfully difficult to take her seriously. But the Delaware candidate has made an effort to boost her credibility by pointing to her associations with prestigious universities, including having “Post Modernism in the New Millennium” at the “University of Oxford.”

Greg Sargent reports on the problems with the academic claims.

[I]t turns out that was just a course conducted by an institution known as the Phoenix Institute, which merely rented space at Oxford. […]

By itself, O’Donnell’s Oxford claim might not matter too much. But the larger context is that O’Donnell has already been nabbed fudging her education record not once, but twice. She claimed for several years to have graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University, but she actually obtained her bachelor’s degree last summer. And in a lawsuit she suggested she was trying for a Master’s degree courses at Princeton — but subsequently acknowledged she hadn’t taken a single Princeton graduate course.

OK, so when O’Donnell said she studied at Oxford, that appears to be a lie. When she said she had earned a degree before she actually had, that was a lie, too. When she pointed to post-grad work at Princeton, that was also a lie.

I suspect O’Donnell is rather self-conscious about the fact that she’s not very bright, and has very little working knowledge or understanding of any subject, so it becomes necessary for her to, Mark Kirk-like, fabricate a background that doesn’t exist. It’s kind of sad, actually.

But I’d extend the larger context a little more, and note that O’Donnell has presented herself to the public as someone who’s borderline obsessed with telling the truth in all instances. In one of her more notorious TV appearances, she insisted that “telling the truth is always the right thing to do, I believe, and that’s what always gets you out of a situation.”

Asked if she would lie to Nazis during World War II who showed up at her door looking for homes harboring Jews, O’Donnell replied, “You never have to practice deception.”

Unless, apparently, you’re trying to deceive people about your academic background.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.