As Mitt Romney’s world tour moves on in the coming days, it may want to commandeer my fellow insider, Ed Rogers, for what he calls a dose of sure-footedness. The former governor could benefit from an old pro like Ed as he visits Israel and Poland. Ed notes that Romney looked good in front of a fundraising crowd in London, but he looked clueless when he ventured from his money flock. Anglos, Saxons, Olympian slights, even bragging about meeting with MI6, which is not cricket — such gaffes have been Romney’s public performance so far.
What could trip Romney up in the days ahead? In Israel, he may face questions about just how close he is to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He has claimed Bibi as an old friend from his Bain days, but in a July interview with Vanity Fair, Netanyahu had this to say: “I remember him for sure, but I don’t think we had any particular connections. I knew him, and he knew me, I suppose.”
Poland could be even trickier. Poland, of course, is one of the most Roman Catholic nations on earth, and, despite noble efforts at reconciliation, there have been historic tensions between Mormons and Roman Catholics. Most recently, there had been the bizarre and — to some — hideous practice of posthumously baptizing Holocaust victims — from Poland — and other countries into the Mormon faith, which the LDS leadership has stopped.
In the practice of posthumous baptism, a living person is baptized on behalf of a dead person so that the dead person can enter the Kingdom of Heaven. These “proxy” baptisms are established practice in the Mormon faith, and they have been performed for a variety of famous and infamous people, including the founding fathers, Barack Obama’s mother, Adolf Hitler and possibly Anne Frank.
When Catholic and Jewish organizations, among others, complained about proxy baptisms being performed when there was no Mormon genealogical tie with the deceased “beneficiary,” church leadership put a stop to this category of baptisms. But names are still being submitted bysome church members.
Anyway, more than you wanted to know about this topic, but, as you can see, there’s potentially treacherous ground for candidate Romney.