The increasingly less-read Los Angeles Times, in its “Top of the Ticket” blog, was discussing Utah Senator Bob Bennett the other day and had this to say:
Davidson reports that Bennett has a plan to boost his poor ratings. He’s lined up Mitt Romney to introduce him at the state convention. Pardon the expression, but Romney is a god in Utah (note the lowercase ‘g’).
That is so typical of the left and it is despicable. At best it is a rhetorical cheat (“I’m not going to talk about the fact that you are a pompous self-righteous jerk”) but in this instance, about this issue, it is an attempt to be prejudicial and appeal to prejudice while at the same time denying it. (“I didn’t say you were a n*&^%$#”)
But then the left has played these kinds of games for decades now. While underhanded and disingenuous, it is also unsurprising and hardly news from the LAT. But the gratuitous Mormon shot is unexpected from the right and particularly from nationally syndicated talk radio.
Very early in the 2008 cycle Salem host Mike Gallagher struggled with the Mormon issue. But in November of ’07, when Iowa really started to heat up, he wrote a piece on Townhall and said:
I had an epiphany this week over the so-called “Mormon Factor” as it applies to the candidacy of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
And it might have taken me awhile, but I’ve come to the conclusion that the “Mormon Factor” isn’t really a factor at all.
Gallagher was basically a Giuliani guy, which is fair enough, and once he wrote this and took the Mormon issue off the table, it became politics as usual, which is all we can ask for. Gallagher has never struck me as a deep political thinker, but he is entitled to his opinions and ideas just like the rest of us. Gallagher is still not a Romney fan, currently touting Sarah Palin at every opportunity.
In the third hour of his Monday May 3, 2010 show (podcast available here by paid subscription) he chose to look at the Massachusetts Health care vs. Obamacare issue and essentially tar Romney with the brush. That’s politics as usual and its a shot everyone who is opposed to Romney has been taking of late. It may be the toughest issue facing Romney for the next cycle. During the two segments on the topic, Gallagher made continual references to the fact that Romney won’t do his show. As he started to change the subject for the remainder of the hour, Gallagher made this remark:
“Lance thinks it has something to do with the Mormon factor. I’m not sure if that’s what it is or not, but surely he has thick enough skin to deal with all those issues.”
And there it is, the plausibly deniable Mormon shot – just like the LAT. I will not pretend to know why Romney does not do Gallagher’s show. I would surmise that it has more to do with Gallagher’s aforementioned lack of serious depth than anything else, but that’s just a guess on my part. But this I know – it has nothing to do with “the Mormon factor.” Governor Romney has stood in the mouth of the lion on that one way too many times already for such an accusation to even be made, let alone hold water.
Clearly Gallagher’s ’07 “epiphany” was not quite as determinative as he let on, or he would have known better than to take this seemingly plausibly deniable shot.
Meanwhile, in other news . . .
OK, it’s become apparent that with his departure from Focus on the Family, James Dobson remains politically inept. The man needs to get himself some serious political consultants, or give it up.
The Workplace Religious Freedom Act would revise and strengthen the existing requirements imposed on employers to accommodate the religious practices of their employees.
“The bill will be introduced to Congress soon in a fashion that will eliminate the concerns some folks had since its inception,” said Richard Foltin, the director of national and legislative affairs for the American Jewish Committee.
Touted in certain circles as the “WRFA god,” Foltin co-chairs an unusually broad coalition of almost 40 religious groups, from Sikhs to Seventh-Day Adventists to Southern Baptists, who support the bill’s religious freedom expansions.
If passed, the now narrowly tailored legislation would require employers to make reasonable accommodation in the three areas where the vast majority of religious accommodation claims fall: religious clothing, grooming, and scheduling of religious holidays.
This is a tough call. Private employers have a right to conduct business as they see fit, but by the same token there should be room for reasonable accommodation.
Lowell adds . . .
I happened to hear the Mike Gallagher shot live, while driving to work. (I sometimes – sometimes! – tune Gallagher’s show in when I am really bored. The guy’s about one inch deep, borders on buffoonery, and plays to his very conservative audience.) I thought about calling in to ask what he meant by “the Mormon factor” but decided it wasn’t worth the time. Most talk radio shows are just that – shows, and the hosts have to keep serving up what their audiences want. Gallagher is no exception.
As for poor Bob Bennett, I am afraid that fine public servant is going to be tossed out of office by his own party. Prediction: The victorious anti-Bennett crowd will then dance, shamefully, on his dead political corpse. I grew up in Utah politics and the antics of the hard right there are no credit to the state. I also predict that many hard-core anti-Romney types will point to his support for Bennett as evidence that the Governor is a RINO. To any knowledgeable observer anywhere outside the Utah GOP or the hard right (but I repeat myself) the idea of either Bob Bennett or Mitt Romney as a RINO is downright laughable. But politics is an odd business.