David Frum read the hacktacular piece at the Politico yesterday, and his conclusion was “The attacks will tiptoe up to the line of outright anti-Mormon bigotry.” He then goes on to explain it all may be a “head fake” to get Romney off his game. In Frum’s fantasy world, this is how Romney has behaved to date:
Perhaps this talk is a first draft of an actual campaign plan. But there’s another possibility, and it’s one that Team Romney should take very, very seriously: It’s a mind game.
Thus far, Romney has resisted the temptation and the pressure to campaign against Barack Obama personally. Romney has not accused Obama of anti-Americanism. Romney has not mocked or ridiculed the First Lady. Romney has conscientiously eschewed any line of criticism that could be construed — or even cynically misrepresented — as racially coded. He has had no truck with Birtherism, he cold-shouldered the theory about Obama as a “Kenyan anti-colonialist,” and he never confuses Obama and Osama.
Except, of course, this being David Frum, none of that is true:
But even if the Obama campaign is privately talking about exploiting Romney’s “weirdness” factor — Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin are very good reporters, so their story likely reflects real insider chatter — it’s deeply absurd for Romney and his advisers to feign outrage over it. After all, they have frequently insinuated in a variety of ways that Obama is vaguely alien, culturally suspect, and potentially harbors ill intentions towards America.
Indeed, Romney’s entire announcement speech was largely aimed at reinforcing the message that Obama isn’t one of us. He questioned Obama’s appreciation of America as “we” understand it, frequently described Obama’s policies as “European,” and suggested Obama has transformed our country into something no longer recognizably American. Romney has also accused Obama of “counterfeit values” that would “change the very character of America.” And Romney has also said: “I believe in the Constitution — and I believe in the greatness of America,” clearly insinuating that Obama doesn’t.
On still other occasions, Romney has explicitly stated that Obama’s American-ness and cultural instincts will be central to the 2012 campaign. “The American people have established a perspective on the President which is going to be lasting — that he has not understood the nature of America,” Romney said in February.
On a separate note, I know that the topsy-turvy rules of our discourse hold that being ”uncivil” or engaging in “personal attacks” is somehow worse than telling outright falsehoods, but Romney also repeated the lies that Obama apologized for America and that Obama made the recession “worse” even after they were exposed as false by independent fact checkers. This record makes the Romney campaign’s feigned concern about the state of our political discourse particularly laughable.
So basically, what we have here is two clowns at the Politico insert their own opinion into a piece, implying that the Obama campaign will engage in anti-Mormonism. Except no one in the campaign ever said that, and there is no record of any hint of anti-Mormonism in anything Obama has ever said or done. Then, a former Bush speechwriter, one of the members of the worst administration ever, the folks who willingly stated they were creating their own reality, claims that not only is it true the Obama team will be running on anti-Mormonism, but they are doing it to get Romney to lose his cool and say things he never would say. Except, of course, he’s already said those things and more.
Our entire fucking political discourse is like a hazy acid trip in which our pundits are all in a fugue state, discussing a fantasy world based on their own internal rapidly shifting alternate reality which itself was devised on a faulty premise that no one made. You and I are the lucky ones who get to see these freaks hiding in the light.