According to Robert Novak, it was baaaaad of me to do so.
Novak doesn't name me, and I guess I'm glad, because I've always liked him. I used to watch him on Crossfire on CNN, first opposite the mind-numbing Tom Braden, then opposite the mind-shredding Michael Kinsley (who always looked like he was on a brief break from sniggering at the back of some junior-highschool classroom, and was probably never spanked). I didn't always agree with Novak, but he was fun to watch. Never dispassionate, very aggressive, a little corny sometimes. My kind of guy.
He made for some moments of "real" TV. I remember Braden had just introduced a subject with the most biased, acid, loaded dumpsterfull of inanity I'd heard to that date. Novak was then supposed to get the conversation going.
Instead, Novak just gaped, speechless. Finally, he said something like, "I can't believe you said that." Then he got going.
Last month, in Romney's Religious Test, Novak very fiercely scolds anyone who would dare hold, let alone express, let alone be influenced by, any religiously-based reservations about Romney.
Quoth the Bobster:
The U.S. Constitution prohibits a religious test for public office, but that is precisely what is being posed now. Prominent, respectable Evangelical Christians have told me, not for quotation, that millions of their co-religionists cannot and will not vote for Romney for president solely because he is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Uh-huh, well... what?! Did Bob Novak actually just accuse "Evangelical Christians" of violating the Constitution? No... no, he must have misspoken, or we misunderstood, or something. Right?
Evidently not, because he immediately says again, "Romney is well aware that an unconstitutional religious test is being applied to him...."
Okay, now that Novak's got that out of his system, is he ready to be a little mellower, a little more rational?
Not so much:
...relatively few fanatics ...highly emotional collision of religious faith and religious bias with American politics ...The Republican whispering campaign against Mormons ...ridicule of the church's doctrine. ......amateur theologians ...mixed up....Um... "unconstitutional"? What is he talking about? Closest I can even guess is this, from Article VI:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.Okay, so there can be no federally-imposed religious test. Got it. What does that have to do with how I, a free and private citizen, decide as to how to cast my vote? Nothing. It means that, if a witch doctor is elected, the government can't bar him from serving due to his refusal to affirm the Trinity. But does that mean that if a witch doctor runs for President, I can't let that fact figure into my considerations? Not even close.
I am free not to vote for someone because he affirms an irrational religion, or for any other reason I choose. Nothing un-Constitutional about it. Novak isn't serving the Constitution well with this spoutoff.
Nor does he drape himself in glory with this gem:
These amateur theologians occasionally get mixed up, with some Republicans asserting that Mormons do not believe in the divinity of Christ. The first of Mormon founder Joseph Smith's 13 Articles of Faith reads: "We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost." It is true that the Mormon understanding of the Trinity is not what is taught by Catholic and most Protestant faiths. But nobody today seeks to disqualify Jews and non-Trinitarian Protestants from high office.If I didn't like Novak so much, I'd find delicious irony in such a dismally, abysmally, multi-facetedly ignorant paragraph opening with a barrage against "mixed up" "amateur theologians." Ohh, Bob, Bob... I hear Yoda saying, "How embarrassing! How embarrassing!"
That shark in your rear-view mirror, Bob -- it's not a good thing.
ENDNOTE: to be painfully clear, I'm not advocating any particular attitude towards Romney. My main point is that it is neither un-Constitutional nor un-American to take into consideration a candidate's worldview. And if his religion doesn't affect his worldview, then he's a hypocrite -- which, itself, is worth consideration.