Why is being multilingual a bad thing?

Two candidates in the primary race for the Republican nomination for the US Presidency have been criticized for possessing a skill so dangerous they should be openly criticized. They speak a foreign language. Huh? Since when is it shameful to be multilingual?

Yes, Mitt Romney and John Huntsman are the apparent offenders. Mitt Romney speaks French and John Huntsman speaks Chinese. Romney spent time in France during his college years as a Mormon missionary while Huntsman lived abroad four different times and also served as the US Ambassador to China.

The ads seem to mock the candidates for aligning themselves against US interests. In fact Huntsman has been categorized as the “Manchurian Candidate”. Seriously? It was hard to find any definitive resources but I found a listing of quite a few past presidents that spoke foreign languages. Thomas Jefferson was reported to have the ability to read four additional languages.

I think the ability to speak a foreign language should be applauded. No differently than what we think about someone who is good at math or science. We wouldn’t criticize someone for being good at math would we?