Mitt Romney: Once A Bully…

17 May

Mitt’s true colors

I need to thank my friend and social justice advocate Eva Hoffman for inspiring me to write this article. Now that Romneybot 2012 has all but sewn up the Republican presidential nomination, he seems determined to burnish his credentials as a right-wing horror. Not content with being a misogynist, classist, lying, racist homophobe, he’s adding bully to his resume. Recent revelations of his behavior toward other students while in high school have raised further questions about Romney’s character.

As detailed in this report, Romney was the leader of a pack of popular students at the Cranbook School. When John Lauber, a quiet new student rumored to be gay, showed up with a bleached streak in his hair hanging over one eye, Romney was incensed. While his minions pinned Lauber to the ground, Romney cut off the offending lock with a pair of scissors. When this story surfaced, Romney engaged in his trademark waffling, saying he couldn’t remember and then offering a non-pology. What a shocker.

Let me be clear: someone’s behavior as a youth is not necessarily a reflection of who they are, nor is one incident a good way to define a person. I wouldn’t want every detail of my high school years to be used as a gauge of who I am today. When it helps clarify a lifetime of behavior, however, it’s worth looking at.

Let’s start with “I can’t remember” as a dodge. If Romney really can’t recall this incident it means that torturing another human being just doesn’t stand out in his mind. Yeah, that’s just who we want negotiating with Iran.You can bet John Lauber remembers that day.

Dodgy memory aside, any decent human being would say, “That’s awful! No-one should be treated that way.” Not Romney. And when his classmates were asked about the incident, they were either silent or used phrases like “real Lord of the Flies stuff” to describe they youthful Mitt. The Romney camp, trying to put a spin on the incident uses the word “hijinks” as a deflector. It’s pretty hard to reconcile those concepts.

And that’s the crux of it. Romney is disconnected from common decency. It’s easy to poke fun at his stilted speech and awkward manner. (Even if his wife says he’s a real cut-up…) Some of his behavior is so bizarre that it seems comical in a macabre way (just ask the family dog). But on any scale, from mocking the cookies supplied by campaign volunteers to signing a pledge to aggressively crush the rights of the gay community, Romney is fundamentally a bully.

Why be shocked? He made his Bain millions as a vulture capitalist: grabbing companies, running up debt, and bailing with his profits. He can’t offer a simple declarative sentence about Rush Limbaugh calling a grad student a whore on the air, deflecting lady stuff to his wife. As Governor, he tried to crush a commission tasked with LGBT rights. Every story that emerges paints a darker picture of a greedy sociopath only interested in his own advancement.

Romney’s lies and non-statements since he became a professional presidential candidate six years ago have made it hard to build a picture of the man based on his words. His deeds, on the other hand, speak volumes. And we can’t afford to have a president who is nothing more than a petty, selfish bully.

11 Responses to “Mitt Romney: Once A Bully…”

  1. Jennifer Carey May 17, 2012 at 6:48 am #

    You know I’m not a huge fan of Mitt, but I would hate to be judged as human off of who I was as a teenager. I wasn’t a great person at 16 and am not the same human being today. I would say that most of us are not. And to be honest, I don’t know how I would react to being confronted (on a world stage) about some of my teenage antics – perahps off put, or unsure, or lacking in memory of an incident.
    And by “my teenage antics” I mean my late nights studying at the library, helping old ladies cross the street, rescuing puppies & orphans from burning buildings, and recycling.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 17, 2012 at 6:56 am #

      Absolutley. I tried to be very fair and took time to address that I, too, would not want to be judged for transgressions of my youth. Unfortunately, Romney’s transgressions were indicative of his character, or lack thereof and since he is running for President of the United States his character deserves to be under scrutiny.

  2. penguinlad May 17, 2012 at 7:17 am #

    While I’m not a fan of tit for tat, here’s a nice analysis of how the Republicans held Obama responsible for everything back to and including his own conception four years ago.
    Two important points, I think. (1) The GOP is even more hypocritical than we thought if they cry foul over analyzing Romney half as thoroughly as they analyzed Obama. (2) if there’s a clear connection between previous behavior and current character, that fact is worth look at. Thanks for a post that does that.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 17, 2012 at 7:40 am #

      You mean Obama was not born in Kenya? What’s next? You will start to assert that racism no longer exist? In all seriousness, thank you for pointing out how the R’s have scrutinized President Obama to the point of absurdity.

      • James Queale May 17, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

        Exactly, the way they have scrutinized Obama has been far worse than Romney. You bring up Romney’s Mormon beliefs, the GOP say, “They are not relevant and this is bigotry.” Though, they don’t seem to mind questioning Obama as a Christian and call him a secret Muslim. Shortly after Andrew Breitbart died, his clan of idiots claimed they had great evidence to show Obama as evil. When it was released, all it was, was that he hugged a “radical” professor once in college. But, no, us liberals can’t question Romney’s high school antics that never went away. And so on and so forth.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

        Very good points, Jamie! More evidence of an uneven playing field.

  3. Christine Noble May 17, 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    It’s less so with every generation, but America (a country I DO love and believe has amazing potential and HAS been a positive role model on some issues) is a country built on the bully mentality. Read through the grievances in the Declaration of Independence. A few of them are the issues we are all familiar with being fed in our Social Studies classes. Many, however, have to do with actually being expected to follow the rules others had to (like pay the same taxes the EIC did) or following treaties with “savages.” It’s actually very ugly.
    Mitt is a member of the last generation for whom a majority, at least in their youth, bullying was not seen as a big deal, and sometimes a good thing. Most of that generation has become more compassionate but being walled of in the inscrutable halls of power and wealth is not particularly conducive to that sort of introspection.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 17, 2012 at 6:40 pm #

      Wow! You really nailed it here, Christine! Sadly true that Mitt is of a generation where bullying was expected and even promoted. Even more Sad is that Mitt was not able to rise above it and now has set his legacy as a bigot!

  4. nevercontrary May 17, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    ” I stand by what I said, whatever it was”
    He can’t even remember what he has said during the campaign. This man must be smoking some good weed.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 17, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

      Bonnie, I think if he were smoking weed he might be a bit more pleasant. I think he is just a big ball of hate and crazy.

      • nevercontrary May 17, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

        That is true. Hate is far worse of a drug.

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