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Former Newsweek Editor Warns: GOP Has Become 'Bible-Based,' Paul Ryan Is Anti-Science

Former Newsweek editor Howard Fineman appeared on Wednesday's Hardball and warned that the Republican Party has become a "faith-based," "Bible-based" political organization. Fineman also derided Paul Ryan as untrustworthy when it comes to considering science: "[Ryan] starts every consideration of public policy, not from the standpoint of science, but from the standpoint of faith."

The journalist, who is now the editorial director for the Huffington Post, darkly intoned, "But the Republican Party has become a faith-based party. Starting with Ronald Reagan, there was a marriage between the Bible Belt of the south, fundamentalist Bible Belt of the south." [MP3 audio here.]

Now, Fineman prefaced his comments by swearing, "I'm not making a value judgment when I say this." However, Fineman's previous comments throw such an assertion into doubt.

On the July 23, 2012 Hardball, he attacked Mitt Romney, saying the Republican has "played to the kind of nativist base of the Tea Party. And by nativist, I mean people who are, in essence, afraid of the world."

On November 2, 2011, he bashed Republican presidential candidates, mocking, "But, they're advertising their ignorance is what I'm saying!"
   
Later in the segment, Wednesday, Matthews marveled of Ryan: "He is going to make Barry Goldwater look like Nelson Rockefeller by the end of this convention."

A transcript of the August 22 exchange can be found below:

5:24

HOWARD FINEMAN: I'm not making a value judgment when I say this. Okay? But the Republican Party has become a faith-based party. Starting with Ronald Reagan, there was a marriage between the Bible Belt of the south, fundamentalist Bible Belt of the south.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Literal interpretation.

FINEMAN: Literal interpretation. And Catholics elsewhere in the country who are becoming more conservative, socially. They joined hands and there are many good things that came from that, especially if you believe in the Republican Party and its success. But these people start from a fundamentally different point of view on questions such as abortion, on questions such as evolution, on questions such as climate change. They see, as John McCain belatedly said, the hand of God in everything that happens and they look to God first. There are legitimate concerns, for example, about genetic manipulation of the human species. Who-- should we leave that to God or do we as human beings take that on? There is a serious point underneath this. Okay? There is. But nobody in the modern Republican Party dares question the orthodoxy of a faith-based Republican Party at this point. That's what it is. It is a Bible-based Republican Party.

...

[On Paul Ryan]

FINEMAN: He is 42 years old. He's steeped in this. He starts every consideration of public policy, not from the standpoint of science, but from the standpoint of faith. That's who Paul Ryan is. And they're not going to shut him up if he gets into the White House, I assure you.

MATTHEWS: He is going to make Barry Goldwater look like Nelson Rockefeller by the end of this convention.

-- Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.