SO WOULD YOU SAY NOW THAT GINGRICH IS USING CODE WORDS FOR "MORMON"?
Back in August, Politico's Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin told us that in 2012 the Obama campaign would "portray [Mitt] Romney as inauthentic, unprincipled and, in a word used repeatedly by Obama's advisers in about a dozen interviews, 'weird.'" They went on to insinuate -- offering no evidence -- that this might be Mormon-bashing in coded form:
None of the Obama advisers interviewed made any suggestion that Romney's personal qualities would be connected to his minority Mormon faith, but the step from casting Romney as a bit off to raising questions about religion may not be a large step for some of the incumbent's supporters.
Raw Story's Megan Carpentier and The Atlantic's Elspeth Reeve agreed that the word "weird" seemed like a code word for "Mormon."
Well, now we have Newt Gingrich telling David Brody of Pat Robertson CBN News that -- unlike Romney -- he's "normal." So is that Mormon-bashing language, too?
In a one-on-one interview with The Brody File, Newt Gingrich says that he has "not hidden from the facts of my life, that I have confessed my weaknesses" and he believes that, in part, is a reason why evangelicals are able to get behind his candidacy.
He goes on to say that, "it may make me more normal than somebody who wanders around seeming perfect and maybe not understanding the human condition, and the challenges of life for normal people." (Dig at Romney???)
Here's the full version of the quote, in response to a question about "forgiveness" in the Christian sense:
Newt Gingrich: Well, I think it's important. It's also important that they recognize that I have not hidden from the facts of my life, that I have confessed my weaknesses, and that I have had to go to God for forgiveness and for reconciliation. And I think most people can identify, either with themselves or with loved ones, that life has moments that are very sad, you wish wouldn't have occurred. And you look back on them and you seek forgiveness for not having done everything you could have.
So, I think in that sense, it may make me more normal than somebody who wanders around seeming perfect and maybe not understanding the human condition, and the challenges of life for normal people.
Now, you'll say that Gingrich (unlike those evil Obama advisers) is being very explicit: this isn't about Mormonism, it's about Gingrich yielding to temptation and Romney seemingly never yielding. Nothing anti-Mormon there -- right? Well, consider the song "Turn It Off," from Broadway's Book of Mormon:
When you start to get confused because of thoughts in your head,
Don't feel those feelings!
Hold them in instead
Turn it off, like a light switch
just go click!
It's a cool little Mormon trick!
Isn't that a Mormon stereotype? That LDSers don't yield to temptations (of the flesh and otherwise) because of their weird religion?
No? Not convinced? Well, I think my case is about as strong as Smith and Martin's.