Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, has a theory regarding some potential electoral troubles he believes Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney may encounter. On Thursday, in an interview with The Daily Beast, he said that Romney may face resistance nationally because his father was "born on a polygamy commune in Mexico."
"I am not alleging by any stretch that Romney is a polygamist and approves of [the] polygamy lifestyle, but his father was born into [a] polygamy commune in Mexico," Schweitzer is also quoted as saying in the interview.
As The Gateway Pundit noted, though, as have other outlets that President Barack Obama, too, has a polygamist family history. In an op-ed for The Washington Post, associate editor David Maraniss wrote the following about both Obama's and Romney's attachment, albiet indirect, to plural marriage:
The line of polygamists in Obama’s family can be traced back generations in western Kenya, where it was an accepted practice within the Luo (pronounced LOO-oh) tribe. His great-grandfather, Obama Opiyo, had five wives, including two who were sisters. His grandfather, Hussein Onyango, had at least four wives, one of whom, Akumu, gave birth to the president’s father, Barack Obama, before fleeing her abusive husband. Obama Sr. was already married when he left Kenya to study at the University of Hawaii, where he married again. His American wife-to-be, Stanley Ann Dunham, was not yet 18 and unaware of his marital situation when she became pregnant with his namesake son in 1961.
The line of polygamists in the Romney family traces back generations, when it was an accepted practice in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. His paternal great-grandfathers, Miles Park Romney and Helaman Pratt, were born in the United States but lived for decades in Mexico. Pratt was a Mormon missionary there; Miles Park Romney left Utah for Mexico with a tribe of polygamous Mormons after the Mormon church broke with the practice of polygamy in 1890.
So, by Schweitzer's own standard, Obama, too, would encounter problems on the national stage as a result of his family's practice of polygamy. Gateway Pundit makes this point about the alleged double-standard that has caused Romney to gain more scrutiny on the issue than Obama, despite minimal differences between their family's stories:
It is also well known that Democrat Senator from New Mexico, Tom Udall, and his cousin, Senator Mark Udall (D) from Colorado, come from a long line of polygamists. But that was never an issue because they are Democrats. Mens Journal reported:
In the Udall family, politics stretches back generations. Mark’s and Tom’s great-grandfather, David King Udall, was a pioneer Arizonan and a Mormon polygamist who was sent to federal prison (on testimony of an ancestor of Mitt Romney’s, family lore has it). He was pardoned by President Grover Cleveland, then tossed back in jail. This time, it was Barry Goldwater’s grandfather who got him off the hook.
It’s only ever an issue if the politician is Republican.
Of course, many will wonder why this issue matters at all. Neither candidate stands in favor of polygamy and there is no evidence whatsoever or direct correlations. Still, the premise of a double-standard is intriguing, especially considering that Schweitzer seemed unaware that his party's candidate has the same "issue" in his own background.
(H/T: Gateway Pundit)