Sunday, December 09, 2007

Romney, Religion, And Republican Politics In An Age Of Torture (UPDATED)

I was interested to read today's column by David Broder, in which the Dean of Wanker . . . I mean Punditry reminds readers that Romney's father, he was a candidate for the Republican nomination for President in 1968, also had to speak his mind on his Mormon faith (and where are all the pundits talking about a child of privilege, Harvard-educated, who was groomed for the Presidency? Oh, that's right; it's only bad when a Democrat is like that; for Republicans it's a plus). One of the passages Broder highlights is interesting in light of something I read earlier this week, to which I shall repair momentarily.
[Co-author Stephen Hess and I] quoted George Romney's 1966 Lincoln Day speech in Boston: "I believe that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are divinely inspired documents, written by men especially raised up by their Creator for that purpose. I believe that God has made and presented to us a nation for a purpose -- to bring freedom to all the people of the world."

We commented that this is "purest Mormon teaching. . . . Thus a paradox in Romney turns out to be a paradox in Mormonism itself. These people, whose beliefs and practices are so idiosyncratic, and who actually took arms against the United States government, are also as hyper-American as a rodeo or county fair."


For me, with a lifetime of nothing but very positive relationships with Mormons, Romney's religion is as much of an asset as his family heritage. He was raised right by a couple I greatly admired, and the values they gave him are exactly those I would hope a leader would have.

In a post yesterday at Hulabaloo, digby writes the following:
And I would suggest that there is ample evidence that the Republican candidates for president this time, in different ways, have all shown a similar penchant for a nasty, simple-minded meanness or outright sadism. But the press is ignoring that once again in favor of predigested GOP spin which explores in detail such character revelations as Clinton's "brittleness" and Obama's "aloofness" and Edwards' "inauthenticity." Never mind the people who say they want to start deporting massive numbers of people because they are all diseased criminals or those who want to "double Gitmo." As far as the press is concerned, their biggest problem is figuring out which ones are the most Christian.(emphasis in original)

Of course, Broder doesn't address this conundrum, because it just isn't an issue. These are among the great unspokens of the various campaigns. That it should be front and center would be obvious in a sane universe (of course, if it were a sane universe, the whole thing would be moot, because torture simply wouldn't be something an American Administration would positively pursue from the top down).

It should be a scandal that the Republicans are falling all over one another (and the Democrats, too, although to a lesser extent, and with much scorn from the Washington Commentariat) declaring their undying Christian faith and their undying support for more Gunatanamo Bays, more wiretapping, more of pretty much every abuse of power this Administration has wrought. Even as George W. Bush disappears from the scene among the Republican candidates, his legacy, which includes torture as a tool of American policy, is very much present and accounted for.

I sometimes wonder how these people reconcile any of this in their minds. Whether it's Mike Huckabee's role in the release of convicted rapist Wayne Dumond (a Michael Dukakis/Willie Horton moment if ever there was one), or John McCain's cozying up to Jerry Falwell toward the end of Falwell's life, or Giuliani's general sociopathy, none of it squares with any understanding of "Christianity" of which I am aware. Yet, the journalists and pundits who cover the race all act as if there were nothing wrong, nothing amiss, nothing askew. These are questions that need to be asked, issues that need to be addressed. Does discrimination against sexual minorities and a desire to end abortion all it takes to be a Christian anymore?

UPDATE: Writing at Eschaton, Avedon crystallizes the total depravity of our entire political class, Republican and Democratic. She quotes lambert from corrente wire who writes:
Well, I guess now I know why impeachment was “off the table.”

Virtual Tin Cup

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More