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Sunday, February 25, 2007
posted by Jon | 10:05 AM | permalink

The Associated Press’ Jennifer Dobner and Glen Johnson are loving life. They did some digging under Mitt’s Family Tree and found [drum roll] Polygamy. I know you must be shocked. The MSM was. Dobner’s and Johnson’s piece was picked up by no fewer than sixteen media outlets who think this revelation is newsworthy.

What’s the matter, boys and girls? Slow news cycle? Before people get too wrapped up in this, realize that Ms. Dobner and Mr. Johnson had to dig back to Mitt’s Great Grandfather Miles Park Romney and Great Great Grandfather Parley Pratt to find this information. How many of you (Mormons excluded) can name your Great or Great Great Grandaddy? Do you know anything about them? Are you responsible for their actions?

Get back to me when you can answer those questions. Till then, stuff a sock in it. Yes, I’m a bit perturbed because you don’t have to shake my family tree too hard before the polygamists start falling out. If we’re going to start this with Mitt, then I suggest each presidential candidate submit a seven-generation ancestry chart complete with family history so we can see exactly what his/her ancestors were up to.

As every family tree has some strange branches in it - especially when you look at history through the politically correct lens of today. I think some candidates would be surprised by what's in their tree. Hillary might find her forebearers practiced something worse than polygamy. Some of them were no doubt [gasp] Republicans.

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I posted this comment already on this blog, but I want to tie it to this particular post:

I did a bit of background checking on these two AP journalists.

Jennifer actually works out of their Salt Lake City office -- obviously not happy by her LDS surroundings. If you look at her story history, she reports on polygamy all the time. If anyone wants to contact her and call her out on this shameful story, email her at; or call her at (801) 322-3405.

Glen Johnson on the other hand, a known Romney basher, reported from Boston where they are looking for every possible way to smear their former governor. And he is always looking for ways to highlight the other candidates. Take a look at this glowing piece that Johnson did on Obama that doesn’t mention a negative thing in it, and of course doesn’t mention that Obama’s own father had multiple wives -,3_1_EL27_A7OBAMA_S1.article.

The editors and publisher of the Associated Press should be ashamed.

Anyone have Johnson's email address?

I just don't understand the relevance of what Romney's ancestors did more than 100 years ago. The piece talks about Romney condemning polygamy, but that his great-grandfather had multiple wives? How does the fact that his ancestor practiced polygamy negate Mitt's views on the matter?!? I'm sure that other candidate's ancestor's were slave owners. Does that mean they must condone slavery today, despite what they say? Sheesh! The press is so transparent--and STUPID--sometimes. Like anyone is going to care about this smear piece or give it one ounce of creedence.

It is interesting how much the press is interested in, *golly,* the generations of Romney family...why, not even Lincoln, Washington, or Jefferson get this much attention to family history in the modern press.

Yeah, yeah, anyway...

If it weren't such a veiled hit piece (this is muckraking? This is all they can come up with?), it is interesting to see obscure Mormon history suddenly become so relevant to everything political. You'd think the press was genuinely threatened by Romney's ancestors, but no, they're just scared of Romney and his potential, so they have to create an asinine hit piece.

Also, just to echo the commentary above, Romney wasn't the only person who had polygamist ancestors. See this post about Obama's daddy:

So, where's the fair treatment? Sheesh.

I find it more interesting to think about what the affect a Romney Presidency would have on the Mormon Church than what affect Romney being a member of the Mormon Church would have on Romney winning the Presidency. If Romney can’t win because of his faith that could mean a number of things including the possibility that Americans are still quite bigoted even with many important changes of the civil rights movement having taken place. It would take quite a bit of research to get to the bottom of such a question.

But I’m not sure that the Mormon Church has fully considered what the affects of a Romney Presidency would be on it as an institution and its members and programs. It’s one thing to think about how much of an affect being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints will have on Romney winning the Republican Nomination and possibly the Presidency. It is a totally different thing to think about how his being a Mormon might affect the LDS Church if he is President of the United States, the most powerful nation on Earth and thus “Leader of the Free World.” As such, he would be the world’s most watched person. Not a day or even an hour would go by without the media and the public wondering what President Romney will do in any situation or why he was acting in any given way. I can see a great potential of negatives for his Church if he is actually elected President.

First of all, if Romney’s poll numbers go down, will that also result in a direct negative view of the Mormon faith? This may have happened in Arizona with Ev Mecham during the 1980s. The thought of a President Romney being designated to Mormons by the public as “their President” or “their Problem” is one that his Church is going to have to think about. It could easily affect the day-to-day activities of the Mormon Church. What happens to Mormon Missionaries who are sharing their message with a farming family in Iowa if President Romney decides that farm subsidies are out-of-control and severely cuts them? Do those Mormon Missionaries feel the wrath due to what “their President” did to hurt their family? This would be just one of thousands of potential examples. But any policy decision that Romney makes may have an affect on the lives of normal, everyday Mormons. The Church itself might have to defend itself every time Romney does something controversial or even on local issues that are not controversial with the entire nation but affect things in any given locality. “We, as a Church, do not take a position on farm subsidies…” How believable will that be? Then there is the other question. How does the Mormon Church continue to lead its own followers without looking like it is getting political? Will the Church, itself, feel the need to silence itself on important social issues because Romney is President, and it doesn’t want to appear to be affecting public policy? Up to 8 years could be a long time for any Church to not tell its followers what is right or what is wrong. What if Romney holds a policy view that is contrary to his Church? What if he holds a view that is identical to his Church? If Romney is seen as a Conservative, will his Church be seen as such? If he’s seen as a liberal, will that affect the way people view his faith? A lot of those things would be domestic policy concerns, but what about foreign policy?

What if a President Romney is put in a situation where he is forced to declare war on a country where Mormons are allowed to practice freely? Do his coreligionists in that country get sent to internment camps or are they seen as spies because their “Mormon American President” has shown contempt to that foreign country? Mitt Romney spoke last week (and I’m putting this in my own words so forgive me) about a new tyrant in our hemisphere. Of course, he was referring to Hugo Chavez. Well, Chavez has already kicked Christian Missionaries from many denominations out of his country. The Mormon Church, from my understanding, then removed any foreign missionaries from preaching in Venezuela. Well, could a President Mitt’s actions to confront Chavez affect Mormons living or working in or native to Venezuela? Could his actions affect Mormon Church property or the ability to worship freely in Venezuela? What about if the US is forced to go to war with Iran? Does this make the Muslim world believe that the Mormon faith hates Muslims?

These, of course, are all hypotheticals. But I think that more than the American people needing to know what they will be “getting into” with a Mormon President, the Mormon Church needs to consider what it will be getting into if the most famous and criticized person in the world was a member of their faith. Is the Mormon Church really ready for that kind of exposure and potential negative feedback, and what kinds of real life problems could that present for the operation of the Church? Most churches don’t have to worry about this kind of thing if their members ascend to the American Presidency and the title of “Leader of the Free World.” But Mormons, at least from what I’ve seen, are truly under a microscope. When Bush declared war on Iraq, did anyone ask: “What is wrong with Methodists?” “Why do Methodists hate Saddam Hussein so much?” or “Why do Methodists always go to war?” Well, maybe somebody somewhere did, but nowhere near the deafening level of what could possibly come up for Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith. It makes me wonder if the best thing would just be for Romney or another Mormon to be Vice President before a Mormon ever gets elected to the Presidency. It would be a baby step enough to get the general public comfortable with that person and his or her Mormon faith first. But it could also ease the way for the Mormon Church if it does not want to deal with the microscope that it would be put under without first preparing itself and the public.

Anyway, I just thought that this subject is more interesting than Romney’s family tree and the fact that he himself is a Mormon, which comes up everywhere. In a feeble defense of this non-news AP article though, I’d say that it was informative and I didn’t go away with any negative feelings at all toward Mitt Romney because of the article. I’m not sure how others may have felt though. Maybe, I wasn’t the demographic targeted by that potential hit piece, I guess.

The article did bring up again an interesting question that I’ve been wondering about though. If Romney’s father was born in Mexico, how could he have ran for President? Isn’t that the issue that Schwarzenegger is dealing with? I think that I recall hearing that McCain was born in Panama or something like that, but it was US controlled land? And if George Romney’s parents were expatriates living in Mexico when he was born, wouldn’t that have constitutionally disqualified him from the Presidency anyway?

Great editorial! AWESOME! Please post the email address of Johnson if you find it.

Their reporting on this along with all the other "hangerson" is hillarious. Gotta love it.

My grandmother (not Mormon) loved geneology as a hobby. I found out in my youth that I had a horse rustler for a g-g-g-grandfather in Arkansas or some place like that. They hanged the guy --- it is a good thing he had kids first tho.

To 206's point: My personal opinion is that it doesn't matter what the church thinks on this; for Americans and me at least. The most important issue at hand is to get the most qualified and best person in the President's saddle (If that person were a Quaker, I would be doing what I could to help him/her). That person is MR, hands down. I am sure the people who run the Mormon church know what could be coming and are well prepared for it. And I doubt they are complaining about all the free publicity.

By Anonymous Free2Speak, at February 25, 2007 at 8:33 PM  

This is ridiculous. Why don't they find out which candidates had great grandfathers who were slave holders or something like that. I mean, c'mon

It's all just too funny...

I know who my great grandfather and my wife does too. Come to think of it, you may know her's as well...

His name is George Reynolds, and his case (albeit not completely correct in description on Wikipedia) is a cornerstone of current debate on marriage. My wife is a lifer and I'm a convert (6 years after being married to her from being an Agnostic). It didn't stop me from marrying her - we had common values, end of story.

They (the AP) can't stand a discussion on real issues - sideshow antics are what keep them alive and selling papers.

FWIW for 206: As a second-gen Arizonan, Ev Mecham was perceived as a nut, not for the Mormon angle but because he took a hard line on things rather than lay down like a nice politician.


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