A sane, if highly flawed, discussion of Mitt Romney's "Faith In America" speech on the McLaughlin Group was cold-cocked into the realm of crazy-faced anger by guest panelist Lawrence O'Donnell this morning, who started off by criticizing Romney, but soon veered headlong into a radical assault on Mormonism.
The discussion was following along it's typical bland and predictable way, with Pat Buchanan praising Romney for defending his beliefs and Eleanor Clift dryly noting that Romney wasn't as robotic as usual. That's when the ball finally came to O'Donnell, who began by remarking, "This was the worst political speech of my lifetime." But O'Donnell didn't have much to say about the speech, as it turned out.
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.
Pat Buchanan, believe it or not, deserves credit for asking a question that was both germane to the discussion and entirely fair: "Do you believe his faith disqualifies him to be President." Well...it's clear that O'Donnell does. Forcefully, fiercely. Frankly, frighteningly! (A saner examination of the very problems O'Donnell cites can be had here.)
The conversation just went right off the rails from there. Mormonism was founded by a "fraudulent criminal," O'Donnell maintained, insisting that the speech was an "opportunity to distance himself from the evils of his religion" even as Clift cautioned that "every religion has had its scandals." That got McLaughlin defending the Catholic Church, further shouting, Buchanan blaming Christians for bringing slavery to the United States, and Clift saying that "every religion has some crazy beliefs."
Hilarious. And O'Donnell would just not let up. His kick to commercial, "Romney comes from a religion that was founded by a criminal who was anti-American, pro-slavery, and A RAPIST!" It makes you wonder how well O'Donnell gets along with the writers on Big Love...or how he's going to feel after he realizes how reasonable his made Pat Buchanan looked!