Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Romney "wins" Iowa; the Mexican connection

The Iowa caucus is over and although Romney’s “win” was not stellar, what is stellar is that he is considered the most “electable” Republican candidate, so much so that as many as 30% of those who voted for him may disagree (to the right) with what they perceive to be his values.

They are wrong on this issue. His leftist  achievements were conditioned by the Massachusetts liberal legislature. He is himself likely far to the right of what we have seen.  Nonetheless, he finds it useful to pick up the “centrist” mantle left by John McCain.    One of the aspects of this “electability” he likes to push is the notion that he can win Hispanic votes because his father was born in Mexico.

To that end, the Washington Post’s Nick Miroff published a puff piece on July 23, giving the Romney story in dramatic, heroic and frankly racist detail (e.g.,  the Mormon colony are said to have “some of the greenest and tidiest lawns in Mexico”).  But the article has clues in it which suggest that the Romney family may be closer to the drug problem than the article suggests.  Much closer.

The article notes that the Romneys were British converts to Mormonism who came to this country not long before the Mormon trek to Utah.  Miles Park Romney was born in Nauvoo, Illinois and in Utah he founded St. George, where he was Chief of Police, newspaper editor, and architect.  What they don’t mention is that St. George was the Utah “winter capital” and resort of Brigham Young, Mormonism’s leader, and that it was famous for its hardline against gentiles, and the Mountain Meadows massacre of a wagon train by Mormons happened not far away. Miles Romney, it can be inferred, was close to Brigham Young.  In the 1880’s the polygamist Miles Romney was arrested and had his property seized so he fled to Mexico. This is rather less than it appears in that the Romneys maintained their close relationships to the church hierarchy in Salt Lake City and their Mexican offspring continued to move back and forth to Utah.  They were not truly destitute as long as they could maintain these relationships.  True, Miles had four wives and 30 children.   

Polygamy today is a system of economic exploitation.  Multiple wives file for single mother welfare and the checks are all remitted to the patriarch, who lives in comfort and style while managing the household to minimize their cost to him. It was the same in olden times with labor rather than welfare, so it is believable that Gaskell Romney, Miles' son, was exploited for his labor, and that when he returned to America, his son George W. Romney, Mitt's father, grew up poor, as the article states. George  may well have been teased as “Mexican” although he had no Mexican blood. 

However, we should not exaggerate.  Gaskell Romney married a Pratt descendant, part of the Mormon oligarchy, and George W. Romney’s cousin Marion Romney eventually served as one of the three top officials of the Mormon church.  Romneys were already in leadership positions in Montana, Utah, and New Mexico when Gaskell returned to the United States.  George W. Romney, Mitt’s father and Gaskell's son, married the daughter of an important Michigan Republican, and his Mitt married the daughter of the Mayor of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, one of the wealthiest towns in the United States at the time.  Thus, like the Habsburgs, the Romneys have tried to make advantageous marriages and any “rags to riches” story among them has a hollow, false ring, because the family has always been important in Mormondom, with access to Mormon capital.

The article dramatically talks of the Mexican Romney family’s struggles with the drug cartels, but some of the details don’t fit that picture.   In “God’s Middle Finger: Into the Lawless Heart of the Sierra Madre” Richard Grant mentions that one feared narco gang in Mexico is run by Mormons.  Keeping that in mind, the following detail leaps out from the article:

Meredith Romney was kidnapped but not killed as is customary in cartel violence.

The  poor struggling colony with just a few hundred souls got a gleaming new Mormon temple in 1999, suggesting a very large investment of money. It would have suggested a lot of money to the cartels as well, just 25 miles from Juarez, Mexico, which has the highest murder rate in the world,  yet the colony is still there and relatively unmolested.

They were rich enough that “the family” hired a security expert from Colombia to advise them. It is doubtful that a Colombian security expert would have any technologies their U.S. relatives could not have obtained. Colombia is a source of narcotics and therefore perhaps protection.  Furthermore, some of the original investors in Mitt Romney’s 1984 start up Bain Capital came from Colombia, which was awash with new cocaine wealth at the time.

So are the Romneys in Mexico “struggling” against the Mexican drug cartels, or are they competing with them?  Is the real source of Mitt Romney’s fortune narcotics?  How is it that a colony of rich Yankees near the one of the most violent cities in the world would have escaped destruction? Are the cartels out to destroy the Mexican Romneys as they claim, or are the Romneys helping run cartels?

What is clear is that Mormon mythology has a certain propaganda “pattern.”  Thus we are told that Miles Romney was an ideal polygamist (much like southerners are all descended from ideal slaveowners). We are told that prayer and the miracle of a broken aquifer saved their Mexican colony (although typically aquifers are diverted through human action, but water piracy has a less romantic ring to it).  We are told that “honesty” is one of the family virtues along with a square jaw and blue eyes (despite the fact that every criminal likes to point to his own integrity).  You could read similar things in any Mormon history, and thus longtime Mormon watchers have developed a talent for reading between the lines, and in the case of the Romneys, there is a shocking possibility between the lines.

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