stolen from street prophets: http://www.streetprophets.com/story/2007/7/7/102955/8993
Okay, so it's not what you think. ABC News reprints an article from AP's Glen Johnson:
Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney, who rails against the "cesspool" of pornography, is being criticized by social conservatives who argue that he should have tried to halt hardcore hotel movie offerings during his near-decade on the Marriott board.
Two anti-pornography crusaders, as well as two conservative activists of the type Romney is courting, say the distribution of such graphic adult movies runs counter to the family image cultivated by Romney, the Marriotts and their shared Mormon faith.
"Marriott is a major pornographer. And even though he may have fought it, everyone on that board is a hypocrite for presenting themselves as family values when their hotels offer 70 different types of hardcore pornography," said Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values, an anti-pornography group based on Ohio.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a leading conservative group in Washington, said: "They have to assume some responsibility. It's their hotels, it's their television sets."
More below the fold.
This story is like a cornucopia of factoids and angles. For example, did you know that the reason your local Super 8 carries "Cheerleader Fantasies 55.2" is that the skin flicks subsidize the rest of the cable television in your room? Thank Ron Jeremy the next time you're watching the local weather on the Ohio Turnpike.
Almost as fascinating: Mitt Romney - Willard Mitt Romney - is named after J. Willard Marriott, the hotel chain's founder.
And oh, yeah: Romney blames porn for the VTech shootings:
"Pornography and violence poison our music and movies and TV and video games," Romney said May 5 during a commencement address at Regent University, the evangelical Christian school run by Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson.
"The Virginia Tech shooter, like the Columbine shooters before him, had drunk from this cesspool."
Show me a young man who hasn't drunk from that cesspool, and I'll show you a...well, never mind.
As for the angles: the obvious one is that the Religious Right has decided to stick a shiv in Romney's campaign. People like Phil Burress and Tony Perkins don't have a spontaneous bone in their bodies. Somebody chose to do him dirt.
Why is a bit murkier. They might be afraid of Romney's cash and good looks, or they might distrust his Mormonism or his born-again conservatism. It might be even simpler than that. It could be that that they're plumping for another candidate, or that they're using this as a convenient lever to push the anti-porn campaign. (See here for dark speculation that this is part of a coordinated campaign to dump Mitt in favor of Fred Thompson. If Dobson apologizes for questioning Fred's Christianity, we'll know the theory's a winner.)
Whatever the cause, it's remarkable that the AP's Johnson gives the criticism so much ink. I actually had to stop at the end of the article and remind myself that this wasn't a press release from Focus on the Family. Except it was - pieces of it, anyway. Other portions seem to be a rewrite of a post by David Brody.
It's a bit of a mystery why this story is coming out now, as it's been floating around since June or so. I suppose back in June, the only Thompson in the race was a Catholic dogged by rumors of infidelity. Now that we might have a fake prosecutor join the real (cross-dressing) one, it might be time for Dobson and his pals to make their move.
It's a bigger mystery why Johnson would choose to carry this kind of water for these people. It's one thing to round up the scuttlebutt for reader's consideration. It's quite another to pass it on without a shred of analysis. What's his angle?
Assuming that this is the Religious Right sticking it to Mitt, it signals the possibility of trouble down the road in the Republican coalition. Romney is nothing if not a representative of corporate conservatism, and let's face it, porn means millions. If they're really intent on pressing this line of attack, they're signaling their willingness to put principles above profits.
Ordinarily, that would be a commendable stand. In this case, it's bound to be a source of friction within the Republican party. If I didn't know better, I'd say this was a bit of payback for all the times the corporate wing sold out the religious wing over the years.
You see what I mean about this being a cornucopia? I do believe it's a horn of plenty, and filled with nothing but popcorn. Pass the butter, please - unless it's been used in a Marriott movie...
Pee Ess: as if all this weren't bad enough for Willard Mitt, check out this poll from NBC: 65% of registered voters say they'd go for a Mormon candidate from their own party. But only 35% say that America is ready to elect a Mormon. Translation: unless the landscape shifts dramatically in the next six months (think about Romney's rivals being discovered in bed with a dead girl or a live boy), you can pretty much stick a weenie fork in his campaign. Between the mullahs' opposition and the grassroots uneasiness, Romney has a heck of an incline before him.