At the Values Voters Summit, Mitt Romney took a mild, very general shot at Bryan Fischer, without naming him by name:
Our values ennoble the citizen, and they strengthen the nation. We should remember that decency and civility are values too. One of the speakers who will follow me today, has crossed that line I think. Poisonous language does not advance our cause. It has never softened a single heart nor changed a single mind. The blessings of faith carry the responsibility of civil and respectful debate. The task before us is to focus on the conservative beliefs and the values that unite us – let no agenda, narrow our vision or drive us apart.
Right Wing Watch praises him for this, but I won’t. First, he didn’t call him out by name. Second, he didn’t get specific at all; calls for “civility” and to avoid “poisonous language” are quite routine in politics, used even by many who engage in such rhetoric. Thirdly, much of it is gibberish — what the hell does it mean to say “our values ennoble the citizen?” This is politico-babble. Lastly, no one in that audience is going to believe him when he talks about his “conservative beliefs and values” because he simply doesn’t have them. He is whatever he wants the audience in front of him to think he is at any given time. When he’s running for the Senate against Ted Kennedy, he’s a pro-choicer who will be stronger on gay rights than Kennedy; when he’s running for president in the Republican primary, he’s the second coming of the Reagan they all fantasize about — you know, the one who didn’t actually exist.If Romney had any courage at all he would have stood in front of that audience and called Bryan Fischer a bigot and a menace to society, because that is exactly what he is. He would have done what Bill Bennett admirably did when he slammed Robert Jeffress of the Southern Baptist Convention, who introduced Rick Perry, for saying that no Christian should ever vote for Romney because he’s a Mormon and thus a member of a cult:
“Do not give voice to bigotry. Do not give voice to bigotry,” Bennett said in his speech Saturday morning. “I would say to Pastor Jeffress: You stepped on and obscured the words of Perry and Santorum and Cain and Bachmann and everyone else who has spoken here. You did Rick Perry no good, sir, in what you had to say.”
That was half an hour before Romney got up and delivered the weakest response imaginable.