Here’s Amanda Marcotte on “Why the Iowa Caucus Is About Abortion“:
If the Iowa caucus was regarded in the light it deserves — as a reflection of what Christian right extremists are thinking right now, instead of as a predictor of larger trends — it could be incredibly useful. It would be nice, for instance, if the nation at large was aware of how Christian conservatives are voting not because of reality or even realistic-sounding misinformation, but because they believe stories that are too fantastical on their surface to be true.
She’s talking about things like Ron Paul’s claim “that he saw doctors throwing a live baby away to let it die.”
I do not believe that story. I do not believe that story because I’ve heard this story many, many times before.
I’ve heard hundreds of variations of this story over the years from hucksters like Mike Warnke and Bob Larson. Sometimes renditions of that story include additional, fantastically lurid details — black robes, pentagrams, jeweled daggers, etc. But they never include the kinds of details that would make such stories believable — names or places that could be confirmed, or any other such evidence.
David Weigel reports that Paul was caught flat-footed when asked for such details — not by a skeptical journalist, but by religious right radio host Jan Mickelson, who sought those additional details because this was the kind of story his listeners love. He wasn’t trying to confirm the story, merely to savor it. And so Mickelson asked Paul why he didn’t try to rescue that baby in the bucket.
Paul was briefly taken aback. “I would have had to have … I don’t know,” he said. “It was probably a fleeting, two minute thing. I walked in, took a peek, saw what was happening, because I was visiting there for an operating room. But I didn’t have the facilities! What could I have done?”
As Marcotte notes, “The more elaborate fantasy of the radio host inadvertently exposed the giant plot hole in Paul’s story-spinning.”
In a follow-up post, Marcotte theorizes that Mitt Romney’s inability to sell the standard urban legends of satanic baby-killers is part of his problem in appealing to the religious right voting bloc:
One reason that Romney bores the right and causes them to dislike him so strongly is that he’s not very good at spinning fantastical [BS]. … It’s hard to imagine Romney busting out a whopper about doctors throwing a live baby in a bucket and leaving it there to die. Romney is mealy-mouthed about global warming, claiming (falsely) that we don’t know what causes it, which conservatives feel is a bare minimum requirement. But it’s not exciting, like suggesting that there’s an international conspiracy to invent global warming that scientists perpetuate because they’re all secretly communists.
“It’s not exciting.” That’s the key. These fantasies have to be thrilling — a dramatic struggle of good vs. evil in which we can imagine ourselves to be the heroes.
Michele Bachmann understands this. She avoids Paul’s misstep of invoking the old urban legends and appeals directly to this need to perceive oneself as a hero in an epic struggle.
This is not a check the box thing for me; this is the core of my conviction, this is what I would literally die for. We have a moral obligation to defend other people and the reason for that is because each human being is made in the image and likeness of a holy God.
Some of the most eloquent words about life came to us from the Declaration of Independence and it says that God has given us our right to life and we know that the President Obama has a war on the family.
What we need to do to upend Roe v. Wade and end that horrible holocaust in the United States of life is to pass the Personhood Amendment.
See, it’s just like the Holocaust — an epic moral cause for which we must be willing to literally die.
And by “literally die,” of course, we mean that we’ll vote for Republicans every two years, or at least every four years, and maybe send the occasional check to an anti-abortion lobbying group or candidate. And that will make us bigger heroes than Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Lt. Aldo Raine combined.