Earlier today, at the Value Voters Summit, Mitt Romney delivered an oblique rebuke to Bryan Fischer… Without even naming the guy, Romney limply declared that Fischer uses “poisonous language” and “crosses the line, I think.”

There were several specific problems with Romney’s tack. One, he “thinks” Fischer has crossed the line of civil discourse – as if that’s a perception and not a fact. Two, he only took issue with Fischer’s “poisonous language,” implying – intentionally or not – that there is a reasonable way to call for deporting Muslims, barring gays from public office and depriving non-Christians of their First Amendment rights. Poisonous ideas are the problem. Three, Romney objected to the way Fischer splinters the conservative movement… But isn’t the really objectionable thing about Fischer that he divides all Americans between citizens

Romney deserves less than zero credit for his admonishment. Imagine a politician in early 1930s Germany “tepidly” rebuking Hitler – and Fischer is not far from Hitler in his rhetoric, Godwin’s Law notwithstanding. Would we congratulate that politician, or see him as a symptom of a body politic weakening under the assault of totalitarianism?

Towleroad‘s Penn Bullock criticizing Mitt Romney’s gentle no-no towards hate group leader Bryan Fischer at this weekend’s Value Voters Summit. Fischer’s career-long invective includes calling gays “terrorists” committing “virtual genocide” against the military. Contrary to Joe.My.God. and Think Progress‘ reports, Romney neither “denounced” nor “condemned” Mr. Fischer outright. He merely poo-poohed “poisonous language” in general—gotta please that base Mitt-Rom.

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