Media Blog

This Is Not Lawrence O’Donnell’s First anti-Mormon Rant

ICYMI, do check out Kevin Williamson’s smackdown of Lawrence O’Donnell for his anti-Mormon comments from the other night, but this isn’t O’Donnell’s first anti-Mormon rodeo.

Here’s an excerpt from what O’Donnell wrote for the Huffington Post on Mitt from 2009:

The more you know about Romney’s religion, the more you want to ask him questions about it. Your religion was founded by an alcoholic criminal named Joseph Smith who committed bank fraud and claimed God told him polygamy was cool after his first wife caught him having an affair with the maid and who then went on to have 33 wives, and you really believe every word that he said and wrote? Do you really believe that the American Indian is genetically descended from Israelites? Would it shake your belief if DNA testing showed no such relationship between Indian tribes and Jews? Do you really believe that Jesus Christ came to America? Do you really believe that your possible general election opponent, Barack Obama, is black because his people turned away from God? Are you in favor of big increases in federal funding for Missouri or turning the site of the Garden of Eden into a national park?

I wouldn’t ask Romney any of these questions if he hadn’t decided to make a political speech in which he pretended to tell me about his religious beliefs.

I could vote for a devout Mormon for president or anyone with any religious affiliation if I agree with the candidate’s policy positions. I used to agree with a lot of Romney’s policies before he flip-flopped on all the ones I agreed with. Flip flopping for political convenience is a Mormon tradition. In 1890, the Mormon president claimed he had a chat with God that finally convinced him polygamy was no longer cool, thereby allowing Utah to become a state. That was quite a flip from Brigham Young’s anti-American position. When Brigham Young–a deadly serious racist and a hero of Romney’s who actually got a mention in the speech, unlike the unmentionable Joseph Smith–was told Utah could not be admitted to the United States as long as it allowed polygamy, he said, “Then we shall never be admitted.”

In his “faith of my fathers” speech, Romney had the audacity to say “Americans tire of those who would jettison their beliefs, even to gain the world.” Weren’t any of the Romney speechwriters worried that someone was going to point out that Romney’s religion jettisoned its beliefs to gain statehood? Of course not. That would mean talking about a candidate’s religion, which, by current press convention, only the candidate is allowed to do.

The unprecedented relentlessness of Romney’s flip-flopping is his campaign’s biggest problem. The Mormon thing has done a fine job of diverting attention from the flip-flopping. Romney knows he can use the Mormon thing whenever he wants without fear of getting trapped in an uncomfortable question. On the campaign trail, he has actually said, “I can’t imagine anything more awful than polygamy.” And no reporter has thought to ask the obvious follow-up about how conflicted he must feel about his great grandfather having had five wives.

And here’s a catch from Newsbusters where O’Donnell is talking about Mitt’s 2007 speech on religion:

This was the worst political speech of my lifetime. Because this man stood there and said to you “this is the faith of my fathers.” And you, and none of these commentators who liked this speech realized that the faith of his fathers is a racist faith. As of 1978 it was an officially racist faith, and for political convenience in 1978 it switched. And it said “OK, black people can be in this church.” He believes, if he believes the faith of his fathers, that black people are black because in heaven they turned away from God, in this demented, Scientology-like notion of what was going on in heaven before the creation of the earth.

Now comparing the two major Mormon political players of the day — Mitt Romney and Harry Reid — it was Harry Reid who had to apologize to Barack Obama for comments many considered inappropriate:

Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader, apologized on Saturday for once predicting that Barack Obama could become the country’s first black president because he was “light-skinned” and had “no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

Mr. Reid telephoned the president to convey his regret personally, aides to both men said, for a comment from a new published account of the 2008 presidential race. The book reported that Mr. Reid privately urged Mr. Obama, then a freshman senator, to seek the presidency in the fall of 2006 despite his limited experience and the historical obstacles to making such a run.

“I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words,” Mr. Reid said in a statement. “I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African-Americans, for my improper comments.”

I look forward to O’Donnell’s analysis on how Reid’s Mormon faith is responsible for his obvious racism toward those with (or without) a “negro dialect.”


The Latest