The news that five former Mitt Romney schoolmates have spoken out about an incident in a Michigan prep school that shows the presumptive Republican nominee for president was a bully won't be a surprise for many. Rather it will be a confirmation.
We've already known about how he'd strapped his dog to a car roof for hundreds of miles: "PETA is not happy that my dog likes fresh air" was his clever response to the criticism. We've also known how disdainful he's been to the average citizen who has to worry about things like mortgages, healthcare and keeping a job.
After all, Mitt Romney's the guy who said he's "not concerned about the poor" and who callously wanted to make a $10,000 bet with Rick Perry while discussing health care during a debate of Republican presidential candidates. In February he was both foolish and arrogant enough to boast that his wife drives a "couple of Cadillacs."
Romney forcibly cuts boy's hair
The incident that puts him in a bad light yet again took place a long time ago, in 1965 at the elite all-boys high-school he attended called Cranbrook. Romney, a senior, led a group in what amounts to an attack on a new, younger student, Joe Lauber, who was presumed homosexual and who had long blond hair the governor's son didn't approve of. Others held Lauber down and, as still others watched, the big-shot Romney forcibly whacked off hair as Lauber, now some 8 years deceased, pleaded for help and openly wept.
The account from the multiple sources is reported in detail in the Washington Post, with quotes from some of those involved who admit their complicity in the sordid affair. It's not the kind of story that makes you think 'oh well, he was a young person at the time, let's just dismiss it' but rather, given the above things we already know about Romney, it comes more as a story that goes 'click' in the brain. A story that says 'yeah, that seems like the kind of guy he is.'
Romney: doesn't recall incident
When this story broke, Romney cautiously lied that he didn't remember the incident. We know he was lying because had it not happened he would have denied it outright - which he couldn't do for fear of proof being produced - and because surely you do not forget doing such a thing. Indeed, if he truly didn't remember, it would suggest too many incidents of this kind to remember any specifically, even more disturbing.
Since then, during an interview on Fox News Radio he apologized for the incident. But actually...it wasn't much of an apology. He still lies about having no recollection of the attack and simply said "back in high school, I did some dumb things and if anyone was hurt by that or offended, obviously I apologize for that."
That is of course only half an apology, which speaks to a lack of character. Had he come out and said something like "back in high-school, I had a tendency toward bullying and was cruel to the younger student named in this incident. I wish I had not done that but I'm a better person now. I know now how wrong my actions were and I sincerely apologize for them" he might somehow manage to get out from under this. Now he won't.
Mitt Romney: Schoolyard bully
In a story by Canadian Press reporter Lee-Ann Goodman, she quotes Patrick Egan, professor of politics at New York University. Egan suggests the story will "reinforce what some voters don't like" about Romney and says "what happens with these stories is people look to them to bolster what they already believe about a candidate. They don't often change anyone's minds."
Well this time, for many, I believe it will change their minds. Had it come out of left field and had it been the first of its kind, then yeah, it's likely it would not change minds. But there will be that 'click' for many voters and they'll now have all the confirmation they need to reject a candidate that even many in his own party are reluctant to endorse.
To reject the schoolyard bully we now know Mitt Romney was.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com