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November 26, 2007

Mitt Romney: No Muslims in my Cabinet
Posted by Shadi Hamid

It's amazing we tolerate this from our presidential candidates, especially one who has been the target of bigotry himself and who should know better. Will there be an uproar over Mitt Romney's anti-Muslim comments? No, probably not, unfortunately. According to an op-ed by Mansour Ijaz in the Christian Science Monitor:

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."

Notice the language. Romney can't even say a simple "yes" about having Muslims serve at lower levels of the government. No, he would imagine. Thanks. Keep imagining. And from when did we start deciding cabinet appointments based on the size of the ethnic or religious group the potential appointee comes from? No, and this isn't necessarily a hypothetical question (Fareed Zakaria). Then again, Zakaria doesn't want to blow up Iran, so he could never be hired by a Republican.


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That's disgusting. Substitute "woman" and "there aren't enough women in the top ranks of business/academia/politics to justify a woman/three women in the Cabinet." Or "Asian." Completely unacceptable, and those of us who are members of other groups that get treated this way -- which is to say women, but also, ummm, Mormons -- ought to be first in line denouncing it.

Heather's analogy doesn't work very well, since Romney cited the percentage of Muslims in the entire population, not just in business, academia and politics, and the percentage of women in the whole population is quite high. What is truly odd about Romney's reply is that he seems to be more or less explicitly endorsing the position that cabinet positions should be doled out on the basis of ethnic or religious identity, and that Muslims fall short of the minimum threshold percentage in the population to merit a cabinet quota. Of course, the usual Republican response to this kind of question is to say that cabinet positions should be filled with the "best available applicant", regardless of ethnic or religious identity. It should seem odd that where Muslims are concerned, the Republicans have suddenly discovered the virtues of diversity and quotas.

To put it simply... can you name ONE person who would be qualified enough to fill a position like that? Given the available selection of people who would be considered experienced enough to serve in that high of a position, you'd be hard pressed to come up with a qualified name. I totally see his point. Obviously if there was a large number to choose form so you can pick the best, that'd be different... but since the field of selection is so small, the person might not wind up actually being muslim.

Romney...dude...come on

I've been blogging my head off trying to get people to quit judging you based on your religion...only to have you do it to someone else?

Mark: how about Zalmay Khalilzad? (h/t Matt Yglesias )

Qualified enough for you?

Mark, to put it simply. . . try reading Shadi's diary where he suggested Fareed Zakaria before you run on again about how hard pressed Shadi is. The rest of your post makes no sense either. The issue is not the size of the field, it's the depth of expertise in a central US foreign policy area.

Is there something wrong with this? How can anyone expect to vote for someone without an opinion of his own. By his logic, he aims to exclude a number of minorities that are present in the United States from his cabinet. There is no need for outrage over this comment. I'm sure any person that votes for Mr. Romney is well aware of his belief system and the origins of his belief system.

Sorry, Mansoor. I am not buying it. No way Romney would have said exactly what you attribute to him. I gotta think you must have asked a different question and perhaps your question assigned a premise that cabinet members must be representative of minority groups in the same numbers as they appear in population. That being the case, then that answer is based on his observation that Muslims are a small minority. I don't think he believes that. Its absurd that Romney would choose his cabinet based on representation of minority groups. Romney surrounds himself with the smartest of the smart, brilliant minds, and he does not care much where they come from or what they look like. Check his record if you have concerns that he would discriminate. He abhors discrimination. Your analysis makes no sense and is a total distortion.

No muslim should be allowed to serve anywhere in the world!!!! Not until a chuch is built in the KSA!!! The reality is that islam s tye most evil cult that has evr existed. Read the koran and then speak,

Romney's brushoff of the idea of a Muslim in the cabinet is not consistent with his campaign pledge to: "integrate our strategy into a broader approach to the broader Muslim world--including working with our NATO allies and with progressive Muslim communities and leaders to build a partnership for prosperity."

But it is entirely consistent with his anti-Muslim position.

from a 2005 speech to the Heritage Foundation:

"How many individuals are coming to our state and going to those institutions who have come from terrorist-sponsored states?" he said, referring to foreign students who attend universities in Massachusetts. ''Do we know where they are? Are we tracking them? . . .How about people who are in settings, mosques for example, that may be teaching doctrines of hate and terror? Are we monitoring that? Are we wiretapping? Are we following what's going on?"--Gov. Romney, Sep 14, 2005

Track them and wiretap them, but don't let Muslims into the cabinet.

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