Mitt Romney

I'm surprised it took this long: Romney Birtherism. After four years in which the "Obama is a Muslim atheist born in African Kenya" thing refused to die, some Democrats are striking back. Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer recently doubled down on his statement that one of the reasons Romney has trouble appealing to a national electorate is because his father was born on a "polygamy colony." And the search for the high road continues...

Granted, Gov. Schweitzer's remarks aren't actually false: Romney's grandparents did move to a Mormon colony in Mexico in an effort to escape U.S. anti-polygamy laws, and Mitt's dad was born there. Mitt has responded to the remarks by saying that his father's parents were not themselves polygamists, which is probably true. It's also true that if you move to a colony in Mexico whose reason for existing is legal polygamy, you are, in fact, moving to a Mexican polygamy colony, even if not yourself a polygamist. 

But that's not the point: Schweitzer's remarks still smack of the petty bigotry of birthers. There's a legal difference, sure — the law says you can't be president if you're foreign-born, whereas to my knowledge, it steers clear of the polyandry of the president's progenitors (*slowly bows*).

But you know what? The people attacking Obama for not being American aren't really worried about the sanctity of our laws — they're racists using a vague legal pretense. Just like Gov. Schweitzer isn't harmlessly giving us a history lesson; he's suggesting that Americans can't connect to a Mormon because there's something shady or untoward or, dare I say it, un-American about Mormonism. 

There are lots of reasons Mitt Romney can't "connect" with Americans — he has an elevator for his cars, and if a poll said Ohioans find baldness presidential, he'd almost surely shave his head — but I don't think it's his Mormonism. 

Oh, but hey, did you hear? Romney might strap the odd to dog to the roof of his family sedan, but he never ate one. Unless... Can someone please find out if they do that in Mexican polygamy colonies? 

Commentarium (9 Comments)

Apr 21 12 - 11:07pm

Birthers aren't necessarily racists. This is sloppy journalism

Apr 22 12 - 10:24pm

Barack Obama Sr. was a polygamist. Funny how everyone forgets to mention that.

Apr 22 12 - 11:59pm

Serial monogamy != polygamy.

Apr 23 12 - 10:01am

@mot: Yes, yes they are racists. The whole argument that Obama is somehow "not American" is driven by racism and not by anything else. Economically or socially disprivileged whites are in many instances threatened by the success of a person of color being elected president, and this fear turns into irrational statements about the "other," the black man, not being an American. Birtherism is racism by another name.

Apr 23 12 - 10:55am

@mot, give some examples of prominent birthers who aren't, at core, racist. Go on, I'll wait.

Apr 23 12 - 12:09pm
Ah, disproving...

...a negative. Good work, MRI.

Apr 23 12 - 2:26pm
Poppy Seeds

It's a conspiracy theory. Some people belive that kind of stuff. Doesn't make them racist.

Apr 23 12 - 12:18pm

Thanks, robert, for letting us know what everyone thinks. Entirely self-serving, given your political bent, but we'll overlook that.

Apr 23 12 - 6:14pm
William typertin

That's so ridiculous... I'm not a birther, not even a little bit, but I understand the argument they are attempting to make, which is that Obama is not legally entitled to hold office due to where he was (supposedly) born.

There is nothing -- repeat, nothing -- racist about that. I'm not even sure where you could possibly get that from. Are there racist birthers? I'd wager there are. Does that mean the whole premise is racist? Of course not.