If Mitt Romney's great-grandfather were Hugh Hefner, rather than Miles Park Romney, he'd have an easier time winning the Republican nomination and the White House. That's something for voters to ponder, especially given the marital history of Romney's chief rival, Newt Gingrich.
Hugh would be a more politically convenient forebear because Miles, unlike Hefner, was a Mormon who practiced polygamy (he had four wives). He fled to Mexico in 1885 after Utah acceded to the federal government's demands and banned the practice.
Hefner, however, has only married his "bunnies" one at a time. Sure, the playboy lives with up to half a dozen at a time, but mere promiscuity is easier for the public to forgive and isn't a criminal offense in most states. In those states where it is a crime, dating back to Puritan times, it is rarely enforced, and such laws are anyway unlikely to survive a challenge following the Supreme Court's 2003 Lawrence v. Texas ruling (which invalidated sodomy laws, and by the same logic should dismiss fornication laws).
While Romney's rivals have not directly referenced his Mormon religion or family past, these subjects have been increasingly covered in the media. In the last few months, both CNN and the Washington Post have run stories on the Romney family history, centering on the flight to Mexico.
Whether these stories are only the work of enterprising journalists, or were encouraged by political opponents, they're a sign of what's to come if Romney's electoral success continues. The bad news for Romney is that the Mormon history of polygamy remains among the sources of some Americans' distrust of Mormons ...