Posted on | April 5, 2012 | 68 Comments
“You watch, they’re going to throw the Mormon church at him like you can’t believe.”
— Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, April 3
Just a quick follow-up on last night’s post about the the predictable emergence of an anti-Mormon message in the MSM, which they held back until they thought Mitt Romney was really “inevitable”: A lot of Republicans seem shocked by the suggestion that our tolerant liberal friends would actually employ appeals to religious bigotry against a Republican, and further seem to assume that all Republicans have to do to deflect this is to point it out for the cheap partisan trick it is.
Good luck with that.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz fired back Wednesday at Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch’s claim that Democrats would attack Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith in the fall election, saying the charge was “nonsense” and that the issue of religion was off-limits.
“That is just preposterous,” the Florida Democrat, who chairs the Democratic National Committee . . .
“That suggestion is utter nonsense. Let’s remember that President Obama has had so many things hurled at him – birth certificate questions, whether he is or is not a Christian,” Wasserman said. “For them to suggest that religion will be injected [into the election] by President Obama and the Democratic Party, I mean, I think they need to take a look inward at the accusations that their party and their supporters have hurled before they take that step.”
Translation: “Turnabout is fair play.”
And, while Debbie denies that Obama and the Democrats will themselves “inject” the Mormon issue into the campaign, her pledge doesn’t obligate them to muzzle their media allies, does it?
Unlike Da Tech Tech Guy, who saw this coming long ago, some Republicans were shocked — shocked! — by Lawrence O’Donnell’s Tuesday night anti-Mormon rant. Others were mystified as to why, in an appearance with Jay Leno, Meet the Press host David Gregory casually asserted that Mormonism “is the core of who Mitt Romney is” and — oh, just by the way, Jay — did you know Mitt was actually an LDS bishop?
These remarks by O’Donnell and Gregory were rather unsubtle hints of what our liberal media friends are chatting about amongst themselves, and perhaps some Republicans are too stupid to imagine how this meme might make its way into Serious Journalism. But here’s the trick: Rather than raising the subject themselves, liberals will introduce the topic of Mitt’s Mormonism by referencing criticism from evangelical Christians. This two-birds-with-one-stone tactic gets an early workout today from Tim Murphy at Mother Jones:
The Mormon issue has been dogging Romney since he began his first presidential race five years ago. According to a Gallup poll, 18 percent of Republicans say they wouldn’t vote for a Mormon for president — and it’s not a coincidence that throughout the 2012 contest, Romney’s success has been inversely proportional to the percentage of evangelicals voting in a given state. . . .
[I]n December, [Texas Baptist minister Rick] Scarborough explained in a radio interview that nominating Romney would take the GOP to “a place I don’t want to go.” He continued: “There are some aspects of the doctrines of Mormonism that are so outside the realm of normal theological boundaries that I think it will be a real issue if he got the nomination.” . . .
Bill Keller, a Florida-based internet evangelist who sends his devotional out each morning to some 2.4 million subscribers . . .
“If it’s Romney and Obama, as far as I’m concerned, Satan’s flipping a two-headed coin and his head’s on both sides,” Keller says. There’s no such thing as lesser of two evils. “I hear that from Christians all the time: Well you know we’ll just take the lesser of two evils and hold our nose and vote for the Mormon. And I just try to remind people: The lesser of two evils is still evil.”
Lots more where that came from, including this kick in the head:
And according to Gallup, liberals are actually more likely to hold Romney’s faith against him — a full 27 percent say they would never vote for an LDS member.
See what I mean? By using evangelicals as the “hook” to talk about Mitt’s Mormonism, the media cleverly raise an issue that hurts Romney more among secular liberals than it does among religious conservatives. (Dude, if you think Santorum’s Catholicism offends feminists, wait until the media start doing their Serious Journalism coverage of what Mormon doctrine teaches about women.) There are all kinds of angles from which to fit the “Mormon Mitt” meme into the media narrative, and yet some Republicans are so stupid they can’t imagine how the liberal MSM will manage to turn this stuff into legitimate news.
The possible story angles are numerous, the basic materials are plentiful, and how far the media might go with this meme is purely a function of whether they view Romney as a serious threat to Obama in November.
UPDATE: Bill Quick expresses his contempt all religions, without explaining why he supported Newt Gingrich, a professed Catholic. Perhaps Bill believed Newt was never sincere about his Catholicism, but why would anyone doubt Newt’s sincerity?