Apparently, the New York Times thinks differently, positing the idea that because Mitt Romney’s position on immigration differs with that of the Mormon church, it ought to be strongly implied that Romney is not Mormon enough. As it happens–and as faithful readers are aware–I believe in a liberalized immigration policy, so to the extent that Romney is indeed taking a “harder line” on immigration, I am against his stance. But as it also happens, Romney’s stance on immigration can be critiqued without resorting to questions of how this affects the state of Romney’s Mormonness. We can state, for example, that Romney’s “harder line” on immigration–such as it is–will have the effect of allowing fewer really smart, really talented, really determined, hard-working people with a passion to succeed and to contribute to the betterment of America via the conduct of their own lives to come to America, follow their dreams, and benefit America in the process. We can state that this kind of “harder line” on immigration will serve to harm America in the long run. I know all of this is true, because I just listed those critiques. And I did it without referencing the state of Mitt Romney’s Mormonness in the process.
But of course, we all know what is going on here. Take it away Walter Russell Mead:
For Romney, it seems, it’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t, with the Times (naturally) standing in for Divine Justice. Nowhere does the article draw the obvious inference that Romney clearly makes his political decisions — like them or not — independent of church teaching. It would not have been hard to find someone to make this self-evident point.
But instead, the Times cites anonymous “Mormon immigration advocates” who allude to the possibility that Romney is using this issue to fake independence from Mormon teaching. What better way to smuggle his devious theocratic agenda into the White House?
A modicum of self-awareness or fairness in the editing process would have caught and redressed the obvious bias of this piece, but apparently that’s not how the Times approaches political stories these days: any stick will do to beat the man who increasingly looks like the next Republican nominee.