Sunday, September 9, 2012

Did Mitt Romney Just Blow The "Obama Is An Atheist" Dog Whistle?

I'm a little late getting to this because I was playing debate coach on Friday and Saturday.

According to OTUS blog, Mitt Romney made the following comments when referencing the kerfuffle over God allegedly being removed from the Democratic platform:
“I will not take God out of the name of our platform,” said Romney to thunderous applause. “I will not take God off our coins and I will not take God out of my heart. We’re a nation that’s bestowed by God.”
The first two sentence set up comparisons. The implication inherent in the first sentence is that that Democrats removed God from their platform but Romney won't. The second sentence begins with another implied comparison. I'm guessing that the statement about coins refers to various lawsuits about removing "In God we trust" from currency. Romney is pandering to a crowd that assumes that the ACLU and Democrats are one in the same. In short, people who remove God from their political documents will remove God from currency and presumably, the Pledge of Allegiance. That trend creates a slippery slope that, carried out to its hyperbolic conclusion, ends with Democrats removing God from the Bible.

The comparisons between the parties in the first two clauses leave little doubt that the personal statement, "I will not take God out of my heart," is also comparative. Romney is running against not only a party but President Obama, the party's nominee. If Romney won't "take God out of his heart," the intention behind the comparison is that Obama has removed God from his heart.

At best, the phrasing is a political cheap shot aimed below the belt; at worst Romney is appropriating unto himself the power to determine the quality and depth of another person's faith, a hubris worthy of Greek tragedy.

As a side note, Romney needs to rephrase the speech to eliminate the awkward and incorrect use of the verb "bestow" which is usually used to indicate the granting of a gift or honor. For example, it is my fervent prayer that God will "bestow" upon all Americans the wisdom to distill the wheat from the chaff when political candidates utter their banal talking points.

1 comment:

caheidelberger said...

Good catch on "bestowed." I'm waiting for "bestowed with what?" I'm also bracing myself against the passive voice.

Romney obviously wants us to ignore the fact that Obama himself ordered the God language restored (in an introductory paragraph that was more about workers and economic opportunity than about freedom of religion or faith).