Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Romney Slip-Up Offers Insight into His Politics
In an opinion piece in today's Christian Science Monitor, Mansoor Ijaz, an American-born Muslim American talks about a recent encounter with Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. While at a private fund-raiser in Las Vegas, Ijaz asked Romney if he would consider appointing a Muslim to a national-security post to help curb radical jihad, which Romney has stated is the biggest threat to today's America. Romney quickly dismissed the thought saying that there are not enough Muslim Americans to "justify" a Cabinet post, but that he could "imagine" Muslims in lower offices in his administration.
"Romney, whose Mormon faith has become the subject of heated debate in Republican caucuses, wants America to be blind to his religious beliefs and judge him on merit instead," Ijaz writes. "Yet he seems to accept excluding Muslims because of their religion, claiming they're too much of a minority for a post in high-level policymaking. More ironic, that Islamic heritage is what qualifies them to best engage America's Arab and Muslim communities and to help deter Islamist threats."
Romney, interviewed Monday on CNN, was asked about diversity in his inner circle and in appointments.
"Suggesting that we have to fill spots based on checking off boxes of various ethnic groups is really a very inappropriate way to think about we staff positions," he said.
It seems to me that Romney is treading on dangerous grounds. He is going the way of many-a-politician on trying to toe both sides of the line. On one hand he states that he will not fill his administration based on quotas, on the other it is obvious that he won't even consider certain segments of the population for Cabinet posts. Over the past seven years we have seen what happens when a President chooses a Cabinet full of his cronies. We as Indian Americans need to make sure that we are not shut out of the political process by candidates like Romney who will not be open to ideas from people who are different than him.
Ronak Shah is the President of the USINPAC BU Campus Committee and a Senior studying Political Science at Boston University.