Romney's Selective Condemnation Of 'Not One Of Us' Politics
Asked about a Rick Perry endorser's comments on his Mormonism this morning on Laura Ingraham's radio show, Mitt Romney noted that "overwhelmingly in our country, the people who run for office have eschewed anything of that nature."
"And I think Governor Perry was wrong to have as an introducer someone who said, look, this guy you should vote for because he's one of us, and this guy Romney should be disqualified because he's not," Romney went on, describing the tactic as "not within the spirit of our nation's heritage."
ROMNEY: I know there are some people who make their decision based upon someone's religion. And I'm not gonna change that, it's a free country, people are able to do that. But overwhelmingly in our country, the people who run for office have eschewed anything of that nature. And I think Governor Perry was wrong to have as an introducer someone who said look this guy you should vote for because he's one of us, and that guy Romney should be disqualified because he's not. And when that gets said — and after that Governor Perry said hey, that guy hit the ball outta the park — the idea that we're somehow as political candidates going to encourage the American people to make our selection based upon religion, that's an idea that is entirely foreign to a nation which was founded with religious tolerance, religious plurality, religious respect. And I think that's just the wrong direction for the country, and not within the spirit of our nation's heritage.
Romney's right to criticize the practice of portraying political opponents as 'not one of us.' But that criticism is interesting coming from him, given his repeated claims that President Obama is too "European" for the job or that he's 'apologized for America' in speeches abroad.
Romney would no doubt insist that those criticisms are based in substance. But these supposedly substantive attacks have been proven ridiculous (and at this point, it's Republicans who are pushing European-style measures on austerity, nuclear energy, and monetary policy). The fact that Romney still presses those dishonest attacks suggests that he is playing to the pre-existing notion on the right that Obama is not American enough to be president.