Callista’s clothing and Romney’s religion—and his KKK ties: We the people are almost impossibly dumb—impossibly dumb and sometimes quite venal.
In many ways, these facts were hidden in the past. But the democratization of media have made these facts increasingly obvious. Three quick examples:
Callista’s clothes: Robin Givhan may be a good fashion writer; about that, we have no idea. The problem has always started when she writes about the clothing of politicians.
She used to churn this bilge for the Washington Post. Now, she offers her musings for the Daily Beast.
Click here for her latest report: “Newt Gingrich's Wife Callista's Prissy Style Problem.” (We think that headline is written in English.) A culture which keeps rewarding this bilge is impossibly dumb. Here’s a classic example:
GIVHAN (12/12/11): The unspoken rule of political style: do not tempt audiences into pondering how much mirror time one requires—or indulges in—on a daily basis. Already, media estimates have put Mrs. Gingrich’s hair-care time at anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes a day.
Callista made us do it! A culture which tolerates this bilge is just impossibly dumb.
Romney’s KKK ties: On Wednesday evening, it fell to Chris to voice the on-air apology. Just to be clear, he was apologizing for someone else’s pitiful work:
MATTHEWS (12/14/11): We’re back.For the full story, see this post by Brian Stelter. But here’s the key: Read the comments to see how impossibly dumb some folk have become on our side.
During the 11:00 a.m. hour on MSNBC today, we reported on a blog item that compared a phrase used by the Romney campaign to one used by the KKK way back in the 1920s. It was irresponsible and incendiary of us to do this, and it showed an appalling lack of judgment.
We apologize, we really do, to the Romney campaign.
Chasing the Mormon: We liberals like to cluck about the other tribe’s intolerance. Is it our imagination, or has our side begun to slide toward Mormon-bashing too?
After last weekend’s Republican debate, all the airheads clucked and wailed about Mitt Romney’s proffered bet. (It was the latest official distraction.) By Monday evening, Lawrence O’Donnell had started to toy with the Mormon too:
O’DONNELL (12/12/11): Do you know who else is not supposed to be in the betting business? Devout Mormon Mitt Romney. In the gospel topics section of the official Web site of the Mormon Church, the faithful are taught about gambling."The $10,000 bet will forever be enshrined in the presidential debate hall of shame?” In fact, it’s already been forgotten—but it did help Lawrence make it through the night.
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is opposed to gambling, including lotteries sponsored by governments. Gambling is motivated by a desire to get something for nothing. This desire is spiritually destructive. It leads participants away from the Savior's teachings of love and service and toward the selfishness of the adversary."
In other words, the devil wants to you gamble. God doesn’t.
The Mormon position against gambling is not a central tenet of the religion. It is a matter of policy rather than doctrine. There isn’t an emphatic prohibition on gambling the way there is on drinking alcohol or caffeine or smoking.
In their oral testimonies of their fidelity to the teachings of the church that Mormons must give to gain access to Mormon temples, gambling isn’t even on the church’s check-list for entrance to the temples. But Mormons have been told not to gamble repeatedly by the church's elders, and the current president of the Mormon church. And so, good Mormons don`t gamble. And Mitt Romney is a very good Mormon.
And so, in Utah, where there is still no state lottery, thanks to Mormon influence, ears popped on Saturday night when they heard Mitt Romney propose a bet on the Republican debate stage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I’ll tell you what, 10,000 bucks, $10,000 bet?
PERRY: I’m not in the betting business.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O’DONNELL: Rick Perry, a formidably religious Republican in his own right got that one debate answer right, both religiously and politically. That moment, though, left Mormons hoping that Romney was joking.
But joking about sin is actually not one of the richer veins of Mormon comedy. The only real sin Romney committed in that moment was political. The richest guy on the stage emphasizing that he could buy and sell everyone else on that stage, including the other rich guys on the stage, and thinking that should impress primary voters. The $10,000 bet will forever be enshrined in the presidential debate hall of shame.
Joining me now, Politico political senior writer Maggie Haberman. Also, Washington Post opinion writer Dana Milbank.
O’Donnell constantly plays the fool; this night, he was also chasing the Mormon. But then, didn’t you catch a hint of the same old-fashioned, mob-based impulse in this post by Digby? Does Digby feel that she is required to think the same way her “forebears” did? Why then should the Mormon?
Your lizard brain will help you find ways to support these manifestations. But occasionally, we seem like very bad people. Beyond that, something else is becoming quite clear:
As a people, we’re almost impossibly dumb. This problem infests our political culture, from our elites on down.