Mitt Romney’s Panic Over Imaginary Ghosts From the Right

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Jonah Goldberg pens just about the most scathing critique of Mitt Romney that I’ve ever seen in the LA Times today. I don’t think he meant it to be quite as scathing as all that, but in the end it is. The subject is Richard Grenell, the gay foreign policy spokesman who left the Romney campaign after vitriolic attacks from Bryan Fischer, a radio host with the American Family Association. Here’s Goldberg:

I’ve talked to many prominent Christian conservatives about this, and the idea that Fischer speaks for them is ludicrous. Fischer, who’s argued that the 1st Amendment doesn’t protect the religious freedom of non-Christians, doesn’t speak for any members of the Christian right I know.

Gagging Grenell was a bad play for the Romney team because it guaranteed the issue wouldn’t go away. The only way to dispel concerns about the man’s fitness for the job was to let him do his job. Muzzling him until he resigned was the worst possible way to handle it because all it did was feed crocodiles like Fischer.

So: not only did Romney feel like he had to appease the Christian right in a particularly craven way, but he wasn’t even appeasing the Christian right. Instead he was seized by panic, appeasing an imagined Christian right that — if Goldberg is correct — didn’t really have all that big a problem with Grenell in the first place. Apparently the mere whiff of opposition from the social conservative base was enough to send Romney scurrying for cover.

I’m not plugged into movement conservatism enough to know if this is right. But if it is, it’s a brutal indictment of Romney’s fitness to be president.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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