Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

The Romney story: how dumb are we? –Just asking.

Posted by Charles II on February 26, 2007

I have been reading great susurration about a recent news story on Mitt Romney’s Mormon ancestry. People wax indignant about how this is a “smear,” and religious bigotry. 

Well, maybe.

Has anyone figured out that about the only way to get such detailed genealogical information is from the candidate?

It is common in campaigns for candidates to have oppo done on themselves, to get out everything negative early on. That way, in the heat of the campaign season, it’s “old news.” And the best part is, he gets your sympathy.

But maybe the story was printed out of religious bigotry. If so, it represents the workings of our political system exactly as our Founders envisioned it. Think of the presidential campaign as a job interview for the best job in the nation, a job that could decide life or death  for millions or even billions of human beings. You’re on the interview committee. What don’t you want to know?

The only thing I don’t want to know is stuff that’s false. If Al Gore didn’t say it, if John Kerry didn’t do it, if Bill Clinton wasn’t even in the hotel when the alleged event supposedly took place, then I don’t need to know.

My advice is to wait before forming an opinion on the Romney story. There are many issues in life for which the correct answer is “I don’t know.” I think this is one of them.

Romney’s Mormon heritage is of no importance to me. He’s a smarmy, sly, hypocrite, a politician who inherited his father’s Rolodex and did exactly with the Massachusetts governorship what Dubya did with the Texas governorship. He has Peter Principle written in block letters on his forehead. I would be delighted to see the religious bigotry of the “Christian” right destroy either his candidacy or the Republican party or the fundamentalist movement. And not because of who his grandfather had sex with. 

3 Responses to “The Romney story: how dumb are we? –Just asking.”

  1. MEC said

    “Has anyone figured out that about the only way to get such detailed genealogical information is from the candidate?”

    Sadly, no. Remember Kerry’s “Jewish heritage”? That revelation didn’t come from Kerry. The news media regularly hire genealogists these days to tease out “newsworthy” (koff koff) tidbits about candidates.

    Mitt Romney is not the only famous member of his family, and he’s not the only person who knows his family history. Even though people (meaning the so-called “news” media) paid much less attention to the non-political details of a politician’s life during George Romney’s day, biographical information was certainly available then. I refer you to American Heritage Magazine, June 1964 for a mention of polygamy in the Romney family.

    Miles Park Romney was a prominent member of the early LDS. He’d certainly be mentioned in at least some of the books about the church’s history, in all his polygamous glory. (Indeed, there’s a biography of the man himself, out of print but not necessarily unavailable to anybody intent on finding out that Mitt Romney had polygamous ancestors.)

  2. MEC said

    On this point, of course, we are in complete agreement:

    The only thing I don’t want to know is stuff that’s false. If Al Gore didn’t say it, if John Kerry didn’t do it, if Bill Clinton wasn’t even in the hotel when the alleged event supposedly took place, then I don’t need to know.

  3. Charles said

    MEC, you may be right. As a presidential candidate, George Romney would also have faced significant scrutiny.

    I am skeptical because this particular piece had details of a kind that generally only scholars see, and then often under some kind of confidentiality. Several Mormon scholars are quoted saying things like this:

    “Romney’s great-grandmother, Hannah Hood Hill… wrote vividly in her autobiography about how she ‘used to walk the floor and shed tears of sorrow” over her own husband’s multiple marriages.'”

    and

    “In an 1852 sermon, Parley Pratt’s brother and fellow apostle, Orson Pratt, became the first church official to publicly proclaim and defend polygamy as a direct revelation from God.”

    Now, Mormon scholars are often more liberal than the mainstream church, a point that is brought out well in Salamander. Maybe the “bigots” responsible for this story are his co-religionists. But I think we have to be skeptical about the source of this material. If they’re quoting sermons and autobiographies, presumably ultimately it is from the Romney family.

    In this case, I think certain liberals are trying to show they care about anti-religious bigotry. To me, the motives seem a little too transparent.

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