Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Romney says he wouldn't appoint qualified Muslim to cabinet

"Don't judge people by their religions...wait, I mean don't judge me by my religion. It's OK to judge other people by their religions. Especially if Republican primary voters have a prejudice against that religion. Yeah. Oh wait, I mean especially if Republicans don't like that religion, unless that religion is the Church of Latter Day Saints, in which case not liking it would mean you're being unfair."
Image from Out in Hollywood (and no, Romney isn't gay as far as anyone knows.)

Romney's statement isn't surprising, given the anti-Muslim bias of those he's catering to, but pretty execrable nonetheless. Here's the quote:

I asked Mr. Romney whether he would consider including qualified Americans of the Islamic faith in his cabinet as advisers on national security matters, given his position that "jihadism" is the principal foreign policy threat facing America today. He answered, "…based on the numbers of American Muslims [as a percentage] in our population, I cannot see that a cabinet position would be justified. But of course, I would imagine that Muslims could serve at lower levels of my administration."

Romney, whose Mormon faith has become the subject of heated debate in Republican caucuses, wants America to be blind to his religious beliefs and judge him on merit instead. Yet he seems to accept excluding Muslims because of their religion, claiming they're too much of a minority for a post in high-level policymaking. More ironic, that Islamic heritage is what qualifies them to best engage America's Arab and Muslim communities and to help deter Islamist threats.

Pathetic and contemptible. Cabinet positions aren't to be doled out according to quotas based on religious demographics. Since when do Republicans, or anyone else for that matter, think that way? If that's too be the case, we Unitarian Universalists need to start breeding or converting like crazy if we're ever going to get one of our own in there. Of course, we've already had more than our fair share of presidents.

Here's Kevin Drum's reaction to Romney's statement:
What's really telling about this is that you can almost see the gears turning in his brain when he came up with this answer. Obviously he had to say "no," because he knows that the Republican base would go nuts over the idea of a Muslim in his cabinet. But he can't just say that, can he? So his Bain-trained analytic mind went searching for a plausible excuse and the first thing that popped out of the wetware was a numerical explanation: (a) minorities deserve cabinet positions in proportion to their population, (b) one cabinet position is 5% of all cabinet positions, (c) therefore only groups with at least 15 million members are "justified" in getting one, (d) Muslims aren't even close to that, so (e) no dice. However, since they do make up about 2% of the population, they certainly qualify for 2% of all the lower level positions.


Blogger ogre said...

What a flaming hypocrite.

And a man patently unfit for the office he seeks, since he'd openly affirm his intention to violate the Constitution.

Article VI.
"... no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

No test, ever, for ANY office, Willard. It's what allows you to seek public office, too, since by your measure, we should only elect Catholics to the presidency, since they're the largest single faith group in the USA.

The man should be beaten black and blue with a clue-stick.

12:12 PM, November 27, 2007  
Blogger Jettboy said...

I think the guy in the op-ed lied about the conversation. I would like to see someone ask the question and have it on tape.

6:58 PM, November 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would a UU President appoint a Catholic or Episcopalian to a cabinet post?

Dudley M. Jones

8:32 PM, November 27, 2007  
Blogger Zachary Drake said...

It would be good to get external verification of that quote. But so far I haven't heard a denial from Romney, and the story has attracted some significant attention: TPMtv
has picked up the story.

Mr. Jones, I am sure a UU president would have no trouble appointing Catholics, Episcopalians, or people of other denominations to cabinet posts. Given that UU's comprise only 0.2% of the US population, a UU president would be insane to try to fill all cabinet posts with fellow UUs. I don't think any president of any denomination has tried to do that.

Fortunately, with UU presidents one doesn't have to ponder hypotheticals, one can look at what the 4 Unitarian presidents (Adams, Adams, Filmore, and Taft) have done. As far as I know, they had members of other denominations in their cabinets.

9:23 PM, November 27, 2007  
Blogger ogre said...

Jettboy, what reason do you have for believing that the quote is a lie?

Dudley (anonymous) -- absolutely. The idea of applying a religious test would be anathema--both unconstitutional AND highly offensive to fellow UUs.

9:35 PM, November 27, 2007  
Anonymous Mad Latinist said...

I don't think there are enough LDS in this country to qualify for a presidency.

11:13 PM, November 27, 2007  

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