It’s time we start anticipating the “mainstream” media’s narratives and get ahead of them. We need to stop playing checkers and start playing chess. Yesterday the website BuzzFeed published an “exclusive” story about Florida Senator Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) once being a Mormon.
In the compelling personal narrative that has helped propel Florida Senator Marco Rubio to national political stardom, one chapter has gone completely untold: Rubio spent his childhood as a faithful Mormon.
Instantly, people started calling it a “must read” and Tweets flew around as if this was an important story. Maybe they were taken by this part of the article, which offered some “analysis,” which is a load of bull.
The revelation adds a new dimension to Rubio’s already-nuanced religious history–and could complicate his political future at a time when many Republicans see him as the odds-on favorite for the 2012 vice presidential nod. Vice presidential candidates are traditionally chosen to provide ethnic and religious balance to a ticket. Mitt Romney’s Mormonism and Rubio’s Catholic faith would already mean the first two members of minority traditions on a Republican ticket in American history. Rubio’s Mormon roots could further complicate that calculation.
Then, in breathless giddiness, the BuzzFeed author suggests the story could be damaging to Rubio because, well, read this:
A sign that Rubio’s aides see the story as potentially damaging: BuzzFeed’s inquiries appear to have sent them into frantic damage-control mode, and after email inquiries from BuzzFeed — but minutes before Conant responded with a phone call this morning — a brief item appeared on the blog of the Miami Herald mentioning the Senator’s religous past.
The link in the quote takes you to an article that simply states:
2) When Marco was 8 years old and living in Las Vegas, the Rubio family attended a Mormon church for a few years. (More on that here.)
In other words, “Hey, leftists are going to make a big deal out of this so we’re telling you because it isn’t a secret. No one cares, but they’ll act like people do. In fact, go read it and laugh. They’ve already posted it.”
Please note that in the Miami Herald article, they talk about opposition research done by David Brock’s American Bridge SuperPAC, but BuzzFeed doesn’t mention that in their story about Rubio. Interesting omission, considering the Daily Caller’s expose of Brock’s Media Matters revealed BuzzFeed’s editor was known for being ready and willing to push Media Matters stories on demand when he was at Politico.
“Ben Smith [formerly of Politico, now at BuzzFeed.com] will take stories and write what you want him to write,” explained the former employee, whose account was confirmed by other sources. Staffers at Media Matters “knew they could dump stuff to Ben Smith, they knew they could dump it at Plum Line [Greg Sargent’s Washington Post blog], so that’s where they sent it.”
So who gave BuzzFeed this scoop? We’d like to know. Ben Smith says Rubio’s cousins – one of which is a Democratic State Senator in Nevada – went to BuzzFeed with the story. There was “chatter in Mormon circles” about the story, supposedly. But why choose Ben Smith’s BuzzFeed for the exclusive?
Regardless, does it really matter if Rubio was once a Mormon? No. Rubio’s appeal to conservatives is based almost entirely on everything but his religion. That’s not why we like him, and it isn’t a reason we wouldn’t like him. What is the point of having this be a story? Here’s where we need to be playing chess.
What they, the left’s narrative shapers, are doing is egging on the usual back and forth that happens in the political realm when a story like this comes out. “Rubio was a Mormon once? Oh yeah, well Obama went to Reverend Wright’s church for 20 years! And as a kid he attended madrasas!” This is what they want. They are desperate to have the discussion take place on the fringes rather than on the substance of Obama’s presidential failure. There’s really no other explanation. Rubio’s once-Mormonism couldn’t be any more irrelevant. That story is already dead.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with pointing out how the left virtually ignored Obama’s religious past and how hypocritical they’re being about Rubio’s past. There’s nothing wrong with highlighting how the media played defense for Obama on these issues in the ’08 cycle and even to this day. Just don’t get lost in the weeds.
Why do you think George Stephanopoulos brought up birth control out of nowhere during one of the debates? What has been a topic of discussion since then? Do you see how they operate? They plant seeds. Let’s be weed killers, not fertilizer.