During the GOP presidential debate in Arizona, when contraceptives – a formerly dormant issue very deliberately pushed into the limelight by President Barack Obama, who really doesn’t want people talking about his record in office right now – were brought up by CNN moderator John King, Mitt Romney said this:
When you have 40 percent of kids being born out of wedlock, and among certain ethnic groups the vast majority being born out of wedlock, you ask yourself, how are we going to have a society in the future? Because these kids are raised in poverty in many cases, they’re in abusive settings. The likelihood of them being able to finish high school or college drops dramatically in single-family homes. And we haven’t been willing to talk about this, and when we have programs that say we’re going to teach abstinence in schools, the liberals go crazy and try and stop us from doing that. We have to have a president who’s willing to say that the best opportunity an individual can give to their unborn child is an opportunity to be born in a home with a mother and a father.
This enraged New York Times columnist Charles Blow, who was live-Tweeting the debate:
Let me just tell you this Mitt “Muddle Mouth”: I’m a single parent and my kids are *amazing*! Stick that in your magic underwear.
It is common to dismiss people like Blow as stupid, but he’s far worse than stupid: he’s willfully ignorant. If he was just “stupid,” it might be possible for him to actually listen to what other people are saying, and learn something. Instead, he hears Romney discuss the entirely factual and well-documented disadvantages facing children from single-parent families, and willfully misrepresents it as an insult directed at single parents and their children – which he can anecdotally disprove, because he personally is a single parent with amazing kids.
Did you take a course in high school or college that told you it’s a severe logical fallacy to ignore the argument an opponent is making, and respond to an entirely different statement conjured from your own imagination? Or that it’s equally fallacious to extrapolate from individual anecdotes, across a population of millions? Charles Blow took that class, too, but he has made a deliberate effort to erase its teachings from his mind.
Apparently he does learn things when he gets together with other bigots to make fun of Mormons, as evidenced from the “magic underwear” crack. For a fun though experiment, imagine a similar comment from Blow directed at Muslims and mocking their “magic book” or “magic rugs.” At the moment, the New York Times is wisely nursing its shame in silence, and refusing to comment on Blow. They wouldn’t be trying to get through this by hiding under their desks if he’d slandered Islam in a comparable fashion. If you’re a Times subscriber, you might consider asking the editors if their stylebook includes a list of religions it’s acceptable for the columnists to mock.
Mitt Romney responded to Blow’s ugly bigotry with graceful good humor on the Hugh Hewitt radio show, as reported by Lowell Brown at the Article VI Blog:
HH: Governor, I’ve got to start with something that’s mildly distasteful. Last night during the debate New York Times columnist Charles Blow tweeted this: “Let me just tell you this Mitt ‘Muddle Mouth’: I’m a single parent and my kids are *amazing*! Stick that in your magic underwear.” Now, I know you’re not surprised about hostility from the New York Times, and I know you’re not surprised by anti-Mormon bigotry, but are you surprised by anti-Mormon bigotry in a New York Times columnists’s tweets?
MR: That is a little surprising, I must admit. I guess we’re finding out for the first time that the media is somewhat biased. (Laughs.)
HH: But do you expect — a lot of people worry that if you’re the nominee, and increasingly it looks like you will be, that the Obama campaign, operating with the mainstream media, will unleash a lot of anti-LDS stuff on you. How are you preparing for that, Governor?
MR: You know, I don’t think that will be particularly helpful for their cause. The truth of the matter is, they’ve got a lot of ways to attack our nominee. They’re going to make their attacks on a personal basis. They really have a hard time defending President Obama on the basis of his economic record, on the basis of his foreign policy record — particularly given the developments in Iran as well as his mismanagement of Iraq and Afghanistan. So they’re going to make personal attacks. I think it’s going to wear very badly and the American people are not going to line up for that kind of, if you will, divisiveness and demonization of their fellow Americans.
(Emphases mine.) Brown juxtaposes this incident with the supposedly stunning revelation that Florida senator Marco Rubio was briefly a member of the Mormon faith when he was a little boy, and might conceivably still be listed as a member on church rolls. This caused some to announce that Rubio’s chances of becoming Romney’s running mate were ruined. If that was actually the case, this nation would have completed its final descent into Charles Blow levels of willful ignorance, and it simply won’t matter who the next President is, or the one after that.
I’d go one step further and call Rubio’s youthful experience in the Mormon church a plus. Just think of how it would detonate the skulls of bigots like Charles Blow. If Obama rolls into November a few points behind a “Mormon – Mormon ticket,” the already powerful temptation for desperate liberals to cut loose and shriek about “magic underwear” could become overwhelming, and we might finally dispense with the myth of “liberal tolerance” once and for all.
Blow did not deal with the blowback to his bigotry very well, eventually purging critics from his Twitter feed in a process he described as “scratching some of the right-wing lice out of my timeline.” Classic liberal blowhard behavior: the best way to respond to critics is to stick your fingers into your ears.
Before he resumed his practice of advanced willful ignorance, Blow provided a good deal of unintentional comedy in his clumsy attempts to deal with the heat. For example:
I hate this Republican hypocrisy on sexual issues. Want to tell you what to do while they’re privately tap dancing under a bathroom stall.
That’s a reference to the antediluvian scandal involving Republican Senator Larry Craig, who was arrested in 2007 for lewd behavior in an airport stall. Blow’s got a great point about those Republican hypocrites wanting to “tell you what to do.” Why, just the other day, they tried using the force of law to compel Catholic churches to provide contraception, contrary to their religious and moral beliefs!
Listen up right wingers: Ppl r not trying to score a baby every time they score. Sometimes it is just recreational. Deal w it…
Which, if Blow was a tad less closed-minded, he would understand is exactly the point people like Romney and Rick Santorum are trying to make, when they discuss the illegitimacy crisis, and when they do attempt to “deal with it,” they get garbage like this from Charles Blow:
Mind your own vagina. Don’t have one? Well, that should inform how much you have to say abt the health choices of those who do.
Ah, there we come to the very essence of liberal “tolerance”: telling people they are not allowed to have an opinion on certain topics. I assume Blow came by his children the old-fashioned way, which makes it curious that someone needs to explain to him that organs besides the vagina are involved in the acts of sex and procreation. But even if that were not the case, the last thing this society needs is longer lists of topics that only certain people are permitted to discuss.
Update: Two days later, Blow squeezes out some “regrets,” but not an apology, for the “magic underwear” crack, via his thorougly de-loused Twitter feed:
Btw, the comment I made about Mormonism during Wed.’s debate was inappropriate, and I regret it. I’m willing to admit that with no caveats.