MItt Romney tried to cover for his book gaffe today by sticking his foot farther into his mouth. According to the San Jose Mercury:

Asked about his comments during a Fox News interview Monday that L. Ron Hubbard’s Battlefield Earth is his favorite novel, Romney said Huckleberry Finn is his favorite fiction and that the book by Hubbard, who founded Scientology, is his favorite science fiction reading.

`It’s a great science-fiction book," Romney said. `He hadn’t founded Scientology at that point."

There are four problems with this. First, this is just dumb. It’s just a flip-flop back.

Second, why is he making L. Ron Hubbard’s religion the issue? Would the book not be ok if it was written after L. Ron Hubbard founded Scientology?

Third, L. Ron Hubbard founded the first Church of Scientology in 1953. But Battlfield Earth was published in 1982. Indeed, that Wikipedia page points out all the Scientology themes. So is it not ok that you liked it?

And, fourth, it reminds me of a tortured sentence in Hugh Hewitt‘s hagiography of Romney:

And Romney knows the war. He was worked to learn its complexities and the nature of our diverse enemies, constantly reading the sorts of books that must be absorbed.

If I am supposed to feel comforted about Romney’s thin national security resume by his reading habits, I am (continue to be?) underwhelmed.