Is America ready to be led by a New Age pundit? There's been much scrutiny of the respective religions of Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee. But do we need to reconsider Maureen Dowd's fitness for op-ed office in light of her revelation that she has apparently embraced New Age spirituality, even undergoing a New Age "exorcism" complete with swinging crystal?
I kept waiting for Dowd to say it was all a joke -- but she never did. Her column of today, "Am I a Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chameleon?", describes her experience, conducted by one Faith Green: "a pretty, curvy 31-year-old green-eyed blonde, [who] says she has studied tribal shamanism, rolfing, Pilates, tango, movement and stretching."
Ed Rollins is Mike Huckabee's National Campaign Chairman. Appearing on this evening's Hardball, the renowned political consultant declined to say that Romney's religion wasn't relevant to the campaign. For good measure, Rollins suggested that a senior Romney aide is . . . an atheist.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Does faith bring you guys together or separate you?
ED ROLLINS: Well, first of all, you and I are Catholics and Ron [Kaufman, senior Romney aide], are you still an atheist or have you basically converted, now that you're rich?
Discussing the controversy surrounding his latest campaign ad and the broader issue of his invocation of religion in his political campaign, the normally good-natured Mike Huckabee turned . . . cross on this morning's Today. And while contending he wanted to promote a kinder tone at this time of year, the candidate came prepared to take some pointed shots at Mitt Romney.
In an article that is ostensibly supposed to be about the many Iowa homeschoolers that are supporting Mike Huckabee, the Washington Post pins the reason to the fact that homeschooling parents must hate Mormons! This has easily become the MSM's favorite theme as they try to divide and anger portions of the GOP primary voting base against each other. In this MSM meme, anyone who votes against Romney or questions the relative Christian merits of the Mormon faith is a bigot who hates Mormons and won't vote for Romney merely because he is one. They are also unanimous in pinning support for Huckabee to an anti-Mormon sentiment. The MSM is doing their level best to start a religious war on the right.
Don't blame Lawrence O'Donnell for his ugly anti-Mormon rant. It was really the fault of O'Donnell's fellow panelists. That's Frank Rich's take on the unseemly episode on the McLaughlin Group a couple Fridays ago.In his NY Times column of today, Rich claims that O'Donnell was:
pushed over the edge by his peers’ polite chatter about Mitt Romney’s sermon on “Faith in America.” [Emphasis added.]
ABC’s Chris Cuomo, who previously tried to push John McCain to give a preference between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, asked Mike Huckabee, after citing Hillary Clinton, "can a woman be president?" Cuomo inquired this after mentioning that Huckabee signed an ad stating "a wife is to submit graciously to...her husband."
Huckabee appeared on the December 13 edition of "Good Morning America" to address his recent questioning of Mormon doctrine that "Jesus and the devil are brothers." Cuomo also asked Huckabee why he is "unwilling to say" that Mormons are Christians. Huckabee responded "it's not my place to start evaluating his faith, your faith, somebody else's."
It is also notable that GMA co-host Diane Sawyer previously attacked Huckabee for playing the "religion card."
Say what you will about liberal pundit Lawrence O'Donnell but you have to give him credit on occasion for fessing up and saying what media liberals really think but are too circumspect for fear of public backlash.
Appearing on Hugh Hewitt's radio show to speak about his earlier rant against the Mormon religion and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's belief in it, O'Donnell let loose, revealing what most everyone on the center-right already knew: left-wing media pundits are too afraid to criticize Islam as much as they do Christianity or Judaism:
LAWRENCE O'DONNELL: I don’t think he [Mitt Romney] believes everything in the Book of Mormon. I think he’s lying about that. It’s an insane document produced by a madman who was a criminal and a rapist. [...]
HUGH HEWITT: Would you say the same things about Mohammed as you just said about Joseph Smith?
According to veteran ABC journalist Sam Donaldson, evangelical voters are longing for a "Christian theocracy" to rule the United States. Donaldson, appearing on the December 9 edition of "This Week," made the comment while discussing GOP candidate Mitt Romney's speech about religious faith. He also labeled the address "very, very frightening."
Responding to host George Stephanopoulos's assertion that the speech was an inversion of John Kennedy's famous 1960 address, Donaldson asserted, "That's right and that's far we've come. [Romney] talks about the public square. Now, he would say, 'I'm don't mean a Christian theocracy in the White House.' But it's getting much, much closer." Returning to the subject several minutes later, the former ABC anchor, in a slightly horrified tone, remarked, "...Talk about a Christian theocracy in this country, many evangelical Christians believe... that's what we should have, that government should favor people who have the right and understand what God wants us to do."
Lawrence O'Donnell, already infamous for his in-your-face rant at John O'Neill of the Swiftboat Veterans, is at it again. This time, the object of O'Donnell's obloquy is Mitt Romney, and in particular his Mormon religion. Appearing on last night's McLaughlin group, O'Donnell indulged in an angry, protracted condemnation of Mormonism.
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.
Does Mitt Romney believe atheists should enjoy freedom? "Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer apparently isn't too sure. On Friday's edition of the ABC program, the co-host discussed the 2008 presidential candidate's speech on his Mormon faith and wondered about Romney's comment that "freedom requires religion." "Is there going to be a question whether humanists or even atheists, agnostics deserve freedom," she asked "This Week" host, and former Clinton operative, George Stephanopoulos. (This is the same Diane Sawyer who has repeatedly objected to '08 contender Mike Huckabee using the phrase "Christian leader" in a campaign spot. She derided that as "heavy handed" and possibly crossing a line.)
In response to the loaded question, Stephanopoulos simply replied, "I think that's a fight that Romney is willing to pick." In a segment setting up the interview, reporter Dan reiterated the same themes and fretted, "What about non-believers?" He then negatively spun the speech: "Did Romney go too far in blurring the line between church and state?"
Diane Sawyer and other "Good Morning America" journalists offered a surprisingly substantive look into religion on Thursday's edition of the ABC program. The show featured a three part, 12 minute-plus series of segments on Mitt Romney, Mormonism and his faith's relationship with evangelical voters.
The discussion wasn't perfect, certainly. GMA co-host Diane Sawyer simply couldn't let go of her discomfort in regards to Mike Huckabee's use of the phrase "Christian leader" in a recent Iowa campaign ad. On November 27, she wondered if the spot might have "crossed a line" and called it "heavy-handed." On Thursday's program, while talking to the Southern Baptist Convention's Dr. Richard Land, Sawyer pointedly noted that "many people thought [the ad's point] was unmistakable, what he was doing. Do you think that was fair?"
Pat Buchanan was very moved. Chris Matthews "heard greatness this morning." Joe Scarborough said Romney "hit it out the park." But with his speech on faith this morning, Mitt clearly didn't make a believer out of Sally Quinn, doyenne of the DC establishment and wife of former WaPo editor Ben Bradlee.
SALLY QUINN: I have to say that I'm really stunned because I think it was an obliteration of the idea of the separation of church and state. He eliminated anybody who was a doubter, an atheist, an agnostic, a seeker. It's like, if you believe in God or Christ, if not, you're not.
Following the recent GOP debate in which CNN chose to air a YouTube question putting candidates on the spot as to their belief in the literal truth of the Bible, there was much breast-beating as to the inappropriateness of religious tests for office.
But that didn't stop Tucker Carlson's two liberal guests this evening from taking potshots on religious grounds at President Bush and Mitt Romney.
On last Sunday's Face the Nation, CBS host Bob Schieffer really tried hard to pull back the curtain on Mitt Romney's Mormonism. He pressed on that issue much more so than he would press Hillary Clinton on her Methodism, or Barack Obama on growing up with an atheist mother. For his part, Romney seemed to answer every question about his faith with diversion, suggesting Bob dial up the Home Office in Utah. But Schieffer ended the program expressing his satisfaction, that he knew Romney a little better and that someone's private faith is really not much of a public issue. MRC's Kyle Drennen put together the persistent exchange:
Bob Schieffer: "And good morning again. Surveys show that nearly one American in five is a white Evangelical Christian and almost 60% of those are Republicans. So when a conservative Evangelical group gathered here this weekend, Republican presidential candidates trooped in hoping to win the group's straw poll. Rudy Giuliani stressed his belief in God. Fred Thompson promised his first act as president would be to pray for guidance, John McCain talked about being a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who is also a Baptist minister, stressed values over politics. But it was former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, a Mormon, who narrowly edged Huckabee to win the straw poll. Romney's people called it a big boost and for sure it was a surprise.
Ana Marie Cox: not just a snarky ex-blogger turned Time editor anymore -- now a theologian who has pronounced Mitt Romney not a Christian.
The former Wonkette is all over MSNBC today. Early today on "Morning Joe," Cox cattily swiped at Katie Couric, surmising that the CBS Evening News anchor was traveling to the Middle East because she needed rugs. She has since claimed to have intended no slight to Katie or Middle Easterners. Right. Screencap from MJ after the break.
This evening, Cox appeared on "Countdown" to discuss the Larry Craig matter with Olbermann. Talk turned to the way Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) has dealt with the situation. The Idaho senator had served as Romney's co-chairman in the Senate. Romney was quick to disassociate Craig from his campaign, and Tuesday referred to Craig's behavior as "disgusting