Rich on O'Donnell on Mormonism

Monday, December 17, 2007

Appearing at The Jaundiced Eye, the Independent Bloggers' Alliance, and My Left Wing.

I love the smell of a Lawrence O'Donnell meltdown in the morning. He goes off the rails better than any talking head in memory. Last Sunday may have been his best tirade ever; if for no other reason, the fact that he did not later retract it. If you're not a fan of The McLaughlin Group, you might have missed it.

I grew up on John McLaughlin and it's something of a tradition in my house. Every Sunday my husband and I drink our morning coffee to the mingled sounds Pat Buchanan's bloviating and my daughter's complaints of boredom. She sounds just like I did way back when my grandmother sat on her perch in front of the kitchen black and white. There are so few constants in the world of mass media. The McLaughlin Group is one to savor. At least once during every show, my husband or I will proclaim, on cue, "Wraaaahhhnng! I had oatmeal and banahnaaaaahs." It's kind of like "Hi Bob," only without the booze.

After last Sunday's McLaughlin offering, I searched the tv line-up for another airing. It was too good not to watch at least twice. YouTube to the rescue. (see above)

Here's what Frank Rich had to say, yesterday, about O'Donnell's anti-Mormon rant.

THIS campaign season has been in desperate need of its own reincarnation of Howard Beale from “Network”: a TV talking head who would get mad as hell and not take it anymore. Last weekend that prayer was answered when Lawrence O’Donnell, an excitable Democratic analyst, seized a YouTube moment while appearing on one of the Beltway’s more repellent Sunday bloviathons, “The McLaughlin Group.”

Pushed over the edge by his peers’ polite chatter about Mitt Romney’s sermon on “Faith in America,” Mr. O’Donnell branded the speech “the worst” of his lifetime. Then he went on a rampage about Mr. Romney’s Mormon religion, shouting (among other things) that until 1978 it was “an officially racist faith.”

That claim just happens to be true. As the jaws of his scandalized co-stars dropped around him, Mr. O’Donnell then raised the rude question that almost no one in Washington asks aloud: Why didn’t Mr. Romney publicly renounce his church’s discriminatory practices before they were revoked? As the scion of one of America’s most prominent Mormon families, he might have made a difference. It’s not as if he was a toddler. By 1978 — the same year his contemporary, Bill Clinton, was elected governor in Arkansas — Mr. Romney had entered his 30s.

O'Donnell, for his part, followed his shocking television appearance with a more moderated, but still scathing write-up on Romney's Mormonism.

Romney felt politically forced to give the speech specifically because evangelical Christians seem to know a little too much about the faith of his fathers. Many evangelicals believe and have said publicly that Mormonism--contrary to Romney's assertions--is not a Christian religion but an abomination of Christianity. Here's a sampling of why: Mormons believe that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri; that Jews were the first people in America; that Indians descended from Jews and are a lost tribe of Israel; that Jesus came to America; that after the next coming of Christ (which will be the second or third, depending on how you count his trip to America), the world will be ruled for a thousand years from Jerusalem and Missouri; and to answer Mike Huckabee's now famous question, yes, they believe "Jesus and Lucifer were brothers, in the sense of both being spiritually begotten by the Father."

When Matt Lauer asked Romney the Huckabee question about Jesus and the devil being brothers, Romney refused to answer and handed the question off to the Church of Latter Day Saints. The Church issued a deceptively worded statement that most reporters incorrectly read as a denial of the brotherhood of Jesus and Satan. In fact, the Church could not and did not deny it. The Church did correctly point out that attackers (meaning critics) of Mormonism often use the brother bit. Critics also use the Church's 70 year delight in polygamy and sex with very young girls, which also happens to be true. Critics of Mormonism have plenty to work with without inventing anything.

The pundits had no idea how deliberately misleading Romney's speech was. They loved the bit about Romney's father marching with Martin Luther King. None of them knew that if at the end of the march with George Romney, Martin Luther King was so taken with Mormonism that he wanted to convert and become a Mormon priest, George Romney would have had to tell him that they don't allow black priests. George Romney might also have had to explain to the Reverend King that Mormons believe black people have black skin because they turned away from God.

I find it disturbing that this is a conversation we even need to have. I agree with Eleanor Clift that all religions have some kooky notions; especially before they've had millenium or two to mature. But Romney opened the door with his passionate defense of his religion. I would have a far higher comfort level with Romney's Mormonism if he had forcefully stood up for separation between church and state, in his speech. He failed to meet that bar, saying instead:

Freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom ... Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone.

He put his religion in play. We all have a right to know exactly what he believes, as it seems he doesn't know how to separate those beliefs from his governance. Lawrence O'Donnell had the balls to call him on his duplicity. That's exactly the kind of righteous indignation we need.


5 said...

wow -- that Diane W. sure is a psychotic asshole, isn't she? And she STILL doesn't know fuck all about how IP addresses work.

Good thing saying I told you so isn't in my nature.

You saved that blog from implosion -- don't let her run you off as well....

though you'd be in excellent company! LOL!

Curmudgette said...

And yet, 5, she recognized your IP in minutes... from memory. Kind of makes one wonder whether she does or doesn't know exactly what an IP address is. Hmmm.... things to ponder.

5 said...

yep, under two if the timestamps on that site can be trusted!! heh. And yesh, I am sure she knows what one IS, but she doesn't understand how they one has a static IP? As you siad, wrong.

Anyway, Diane, cannot be trusted, regardless. It is my considered opinion that she is pulling this [old and tired] stunt on you now because you are more valuable to maryscott and MLW than she is...and what the hell made her turn on durrati?!

Gah. And she tells YOU that you were Maryscott's she is so fond of saying: "project much"?

I am dying [not hardy] to see how this next "resignation" of hers pans out...who knows, maybe it'll stick this time, after all, she has her wild wild left hair up her ass now -- "by invite only"


Hope you're well and that you enjoy your holidays!

PS she has a photographic memory only for things that exisit in her world [hallucinations].

5 said...


[especially the bolded part, as related to my previous comment]

you told me (0.00 / 0)
and every one who would listen you wanted no private discourse.
Now will you cease calling me a liar and move the fuck on. If I am wrong, and it is a wild coincidence, I will assuredly say so. But I don't believe a word that comes out of your computer expert mouth, until proven otherwise.

You are obsessive with your enmities, and I really just want you to leave me alone.

You will have the blog to yourself soon enough, but I have loose ends to tie up with my beloved friend, that are not your business.

Act like the "key" woman you brag yourself to be, and fucking drop it, your tantrum, as usual is detrimental to Maryscott's blog.

You do much more fighting, deleting of peoples diaries without asking (ask mattes) and slap downs than are necessary.

Somehow I have managed to deal with prox, ms, and ag for years without devolving to witch hunts. I know when to stand up, take it as well as dish it, and know when to walk the fuck away.

I may have a temper, but I am far more like msoc than you will ever dream to be. I don't lip-service free speech.

But the one thing I cannot stand is for someone to hunt me to argue.

by: Diane W @ Tue Dec 18, 2007 at 21:07:57 PM CST

Anonymous said...

Well, gosh, no one could have predicted that all this drama would come to pass.


The Poor Man's Nostradamus

I hope the jaundice doesn't spread from your eye to the rest of you. Yellow isn't a good color for you.

Between you and Diane W., I'm rooting for...the earth to spin into the sun and explode in a fiery ball, consuming the whole lot.

I know, I know...but a man can dream, can't he?

Curmudgette said...

Well, if it isn't The Alias-Shadow-Curmudgeon-Surfergurl-Thief... Whew. That was a mouthful, and I know I've left some out. Dropping by for a visit or 12? Well 12 was just my rough count of your visits over the last two days. There could have been more. You do thrive on conflict don't you. Well, as long as it keeps you amused between bikini-clad visits to MySpace. What's the matter? Not getting enough attention from teenage boys to fill your lonely hours? Perhaps you should consider getting your own life, Mr. Mitty, and stop living vicariously through the vicissitudes of the blogosphere.

Karmafish said...

The atmosphere is getting more and more toxic, C.

But I, as always, wish you the best.


Curmudgette said...


I know it has and I'm sorry for that. I'm sorry in general, and I'm particularly sorry that I added to that toxicity. It pleased me not at all, but I didn't feel that I could let a false accusation go unchallenged. And, unpalatable as it was, I'd do it all over again. So I can't promise, even for my own part, that there won't be other eruptions. I don't blame you at all for not wanting to be in the midst of it, though.

I hope you'll keep checking back. I hope things will calm down and that we can get the site on the right track (left track???), but your crystal ball is as clear as mine on that.

For my part, I hope you'll stay in touch. I was really enjoying our conversations and your sharing of your knowledge. I've always found conversing with you very edifying.

Best to you as well.

Karmafish said...

Were you and D. not friends before?

I understand, of course, that this is so recent after a very tough fight.

But were you not friends before?

If you weren't friends, you were definitely partners.