Romney’s Muslim Cabinet Comments

Posted in Election 2008 by Ryan on the November 28th, 2007

In the previous post I tried to exonerate Romney from McCain’s and other’s criticism of stating his intention of discriminating against Muslims. In looking at the CNN Ticker article that originally caught my eye it is important to look at the original question by Mansoor Ijaz.

Mansoor Ijaz says:

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 says that Romney responded by saying:

…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.

(Muslims represent a small portion of the total US population (PDF link). Only 1-2 million which accounts for less than 1% of total population.)

This is really the troubling comment. If all went as Mansoor Ijaz suggests, then I actually am disappointed in Romney. However, rarely is the truth embodied in sound bytes.

There are at least 2 options I can think of:

1) Romney is asked the question as Ijaz says it was and he answers by saying they’re statistically insignificant to justify a post. Strangely, this answer doesn’t even answer the original question. The question was whether he would consider them based on their merits and experience with Islam. An assertion of statistical representation means that Romney has a bias toward selecting cabinet officers based on racial representation in the population. So in this scenario, Romney loses.

2) Romney is asked the question and it is either worded in such a way or Romney hears it in such a way as to include “a need for Muslims on the cabinet.” This is Romney’s assertion about the original question.

But then what about Ijaz’s claim that Romney cited statistical representation as a reason to not justify a person with a particular religious affiliation holding a cabinet position? Romney has already stated that the question was worded differently than Ijaz has asserted, but is Ijaz totally making up the statistical answer? Or was the question modified or another asked bringing up racial representation? I simply haven’t dug deep enough to know. However, Romney is clearly on the record as being open to having a Muslim in his cabinet.

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