Big Love, the HBO polygamy show, has arrived. Both on National Review’s Corner and in other conservative commentary, folks have been wondering whether this polygamy reminder will hurt Romney. Folks are already sensitive about Mormonism and its wierdness without having their noses rubbed in it.
My free advice to the Governor:
Do your research on Mormon polygamy. Find all the evidence you can that it failed as an experiment, not just because of federal coercion. Did the rates of polygamous marriages decline over time? Were there legal complications in trying to adapt monagamous marriage laws and customs to polygamous ones? Were their jealousies or problems among wives? Look at the problems among polygamists in general–wives who feel distant from their husbands, husbands who rule with an iron fist, young men who can’t get married; can we find any of these problems among the Saints in Deseret?
Publicly review all this evidence and the ills of polygamy in general. Conclude that polygamy and other experimental marriage arrangements don’t work in modern, Western contexts and can even be downright dangerous. Speculate that this is why the Mormon church doesn’t allow polygamy even in places where its still legal. Tie to your views on gay marriage.
This would be a much more satisfying narrative to the public than just ignoring the issue (and it may even have some truth in it). Pragmatic experimenters who learn from their experience are much more attractive than deviant religious fanatics who have been forced to give up their perversion and now try to conceal it.
And, gosh, if you take my advice I’ll be so flattered I’ll probably vote for you.