Friday, May 11, 2012

Milquetoast Mitt: The Ultimate Coward

I'm not surprised that a teenage Mitt Romney was a bully. He was a kid of privilege and he wanted to be seen as the "man in charge." So nearly a half-century ago, he led at least one attack -- that's my word; his would be "prank" -- on a defenseless, effeminate kid, holding the screaming boy down and using scissors to cut the victim's bleached blond hair.

When I read about the incident Thursday on the Washington Post online site, I wanted to give Romney the benefit of the doubt. I also wanted to give him credit for improving as a person since his teen years, which he now admits were full of "dumb things" and "hijinks."

Sadly, bullying was very common way back when. I witnessed many incidents, some incredibly cruel and violent, during my years as a mediocre high school athlete. (I honestly can say I never was a perpetrator; indeed, I was scared to death that I would be a victim. I wasn't strong enough ever to report the bullying, though, and I feel badly about that even today.) Unfortunately, bullying is extremely common now, too.

Romney lost any benefit of the doubt, however, with his reaction when confronted with the information the Post detailed about the incident.

The incident was corroborated by several men who were Romney's friends back then, men who also took part in the act.

Romney didn't dare try to deny the incident took place. He merely denied remembering it ever took place. Seriously. That's his defense.

He wants us to elect him President of the United States, and his defense is: Sorry, I can't recall holding the kid down and cutting off his hair while the kid wailed in agony, begging him to stop.

Really? That slipped Mitt Romney's mind?

Funny, the other bullies who took part in the "hijinks" didn't forget. They told the Post they were haunted by their participation. They gave incredibly detailed accounts of their involvement -- and the involvement of Romney, whom they called the ringleader.

Romney, whose autobiography is titled "No Apology," did take a swipe at contrition:

"Back in high school I just did some dumb things and if anybody was hurt by that or offended by it, obviously I apologize. I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks during high school and some might have gone too far and for that, I apologize."
Yes, the old "I apologize if I offended anybody" non-apology apology. Pathetic.

Some might have gone too far? How many is "some"? How many victims are out there?
Romney showed how weak and small he is when he refused to stand up to the far-right wackos who forced out one of his chosen advisers (because that person is gay, which Romney knew when he made the hire). Now this convenient amnesia, which is even weaker. 
Pair that weakness with the constant pandering (which most politicians do), with the Etch-A-Sketch position shifts (which he has elevated to an art form) and with the inability to relate to anyone who doesn't share his station in life ... and this is what we want in the leader of the free world? 
This guy wants us to believe he would have had the courage to order the hit on Osama bin Laden even though the intelligence suggested the mission could have failed spectacularly?

Please. Mitt Romney's definition of a difficult decision: How much starch should I have my servants put in my shirt collars?
I do not want a weak, pathetic man for my next president. I'd rather have Rick Santorum or Ron Paul ... somebody who at least stands for something. And for all of his warts, I definitely would rather have Barack Obama.
No wonder so many conservatives were willing to do anything -- even elect Newt Gingrich or Herman Cain or Rick Perry -- to avoid choosing Romney.
Milquetoast coward who stands for nothing. That's quite a campaign slogan.


  1. You make a salient, unavoidable point: How do you 'not recall' such an incident.

    The two-party system is broken. Ninety-nine percent of the morons in DC are sociopaths winking at each other while they throw out birdseed and watch as red vs blue point fingers. Those who stand for something get trampled - though its impressive to see a guy like Ron Paul keep getting up.

  2. BTW - 'Owning it' is one of the most important lessons we can teach our children. It is a major societal flaw that everything is someone (or something) else's fault. From massive litigation that eats healthcare costs, to vapid over-regulation in the name of safety at all costs - its a huge factor in the erosion of our cultural foundation.

    Oh, and while I salute your attempt at disclosure - I'm 100% certain that there were many times when you stepped in to say 'he's had enough'.

  3. Mike: Submitted for your review:

  4. Mike,

    Gas prices hovering around $4 because we won't drill for our own oil; unemployment around 8% (and it's a LOT worse than we are told); tax hikes on the horizon for EVERYBODY (not just those mean old rich); an energy policy that involves toxic light bulbs, solar companies in Chapter 7, and electric cars that catch fire; a Justice Department suing states over voter ID and immigration laws while its leadership ships guns to Mexican drug cartels; Obamacare being tried before the Supreme Court, courtesy of 26 states; at least TWO rogue states trying to build nuclear weapons; Russia rattling sabres over a missle shield designed to PROTECT US friends in Europe, and the looming specter of China.

    All of this going on in and outside the United States, but all we want to do is talk about what Mitt Romney did (or didn't do) in high school.

    Really, Mike? Seriously?

  5. Mike,

    Not to make this point too personal, but the reason Copley Newspapers laid you off a few years ago was because they were losing money. Part of the reason they lost money was because the newspaper readership got tired of a "free press" that routinely failed to do its job, and people got their news from other sources (i.e. the Internet). And this was before the alleged "free press" began their bromance with President Obama.

    The Washington Post article, and the posts I linked to counter it, speaks volumes about what is wrong with modern journalism...the traditional newspapers don't do journalism anymore. The "free press" failed to properly screen President Obama during his campaign, made hash of the Republican nominating process (which is why Santorum is gone and Paul is in dead last), and now is trying to dig up any speck of dirt to help get Obama re-elected.

    If you'd like to spend your vote on what your candidate did during his formative years, check out President Obama's "Dreams from My Father", or better yet, check out this piece from that other "bully" Rush Limbaugh:

  6. Oh, and BTW...a day after he made public his "evolving" stance on gay marriage, he went over to George Clooney's house and got $15 million from the Hollywood 1%...'cuz sometimes he forgets the magnitude of the recession.

    Time to get some iodine for my bleeding fingers. Please forgive the long posts...we're only voting for the Leader of (what's left of) the Free World and America's big deal...

    //off soapbox


  7. BA:

    I will try to address some of your points ...

    -- Copley did not lay me off. Copley gave me my dream job, promoted me to readers, paid me a fair wage, let me manage my own assignments and treated me incredibly well during my 9 years with them.

    Unfortunately, Copley sold its Illinois holdings to GateHouse Media, a two-bit operation that did what Romney would have done: borrow heavily to buy a company it couldn't afford, fired everybody making a decent wage (regardless of the quality of their work), and take the company toward bankruptcy. The weasels in charge are still laying off good people. Interestingly, they are not laying off their executives. In fact, the executives keep voting themselves huge raises and bonuses.

    So don't try to tell me you know why Copley fired me, because you don't know what you are talking about. You weaken every other argument you make by association.

    -- I have lots of problems with Obama, and I have voiced many of them in past blogs. While it was good he finally endorsed gay marriage, he did so only after Biden spilled the beans; he would have rather waited until after the election, when we would have risked less. As you said, his move smacked mostly of politics.

    -- Obama has spent too much money on too many unnecessary things while not pushing hard enough to spend more on the infrastructure fix this country desperately needs. He also hasn't followed through on several of his '08 campaign promises. He is far to clubby with many of the rich Wall Street types he claims to abhor.

    -- Still, I think he has been an OK president, far better than either Bush, better than Carter, not as effective as either Clinton or Reagan. (Though, to be fair, Clinton and Reagan had very strong second terms, and neither faced the kind of economic crisis Obama did the day he took office).

  8. Continued ...

    -- Obama took a tremendous political risk in ordering the hit on bin Laden; we both know that if things had gone wrong, he would have been blamed and it probably would have cost him any chance at a second term. He at least tried to do something about the health-care crisis (though I don't agree with much of what he did). He helped get Gaddafy (or however we are spelling that name this month). With a few exceptions (some of which you have named), he has been strong in national defense and foreign affairs. He made a great hire in Hillary Clinton. He helped save the auto industry (even though Romney laughably is taking credit). He has become too partisan lately after being pretty darned moderate for most of his first term, but he obviously felt he had to go on the attack with the election approaching and with the GOP making it nearly impossible to accomplish anything significant before November.

    -- When my wife and I drove to North Carolina for a vacation in the summer of 2008 -- Dubya was president and I was still employed in Chicago -- gas was over $4.00 gallon. I just filled up today for $3.50. Does Obama get credit for that? Please. Presidents have little to do with gas prices, and you're smart enough to know it.

    -- I have confidence in what the Post wrote about Romney. I am confident in my opinion of his serious character flaws, flaws I definitely do not want in a president. Millions of Republicans felt the same way and were trying to do anything to find somebody better. If any of those men or women had the kind of political machine and $$$$$ that Romney does, we wouldn't be discussing Romney now, because he wouldn't be the nominee.

  9. Continued (I keep doing this because comments are limited to a certain number of characters. How annoying!) ...

    -- This isn't about what Romney did as a teenager any more than it was about Clinton getting a B.J. in the Oval Office. Clinton was being impeached for lying under oath, not for getting a B.J. As for Romney, most of us did things we regret during our high school years. Most of us are man (and woman) enough to not conveniently "forget" about the worst things. The bullying isn't the issue at all for me. As I said, I assume he has grown up some since then. The issue is that he is an effin liar (even Newt said so) and a weak coward.

    -- I don't think Romney has one thing on Obama. Not one thing. The kind of business experience he has -- tearing down companies, milking them dry for the personal gain of his Swiss bank account and letting them die -- will not benefit our nation. Massachusetts had one of the worst records of job creation during his regime there. Most of the things he accomplished as governor came from his willingness to be bipartisan but now he kowtows to the far right, as evidenced by his jettisoning of his gay adviser.

    -- I am not an Obama-ite. Also, I have voted for many, many Republicans in my day -- very proud to say I voted against Blago twice -- and I would have considered a viable GOP option this time (such as Jon Huntsman). I will not consider a weak, pathetic liar just because he isn't Obama.

    -- Based on your comments here and others you have made over time, you obviously are Republican. I, meanwhile, am not a liberal. I am registered as unaffiliated and actually voted in the Republican primary here last week (I found the local races there more compelling). I have very strong views, of course, but I do not settle on one party and blindly go with that ideology. I'm proud of my relative objectivity.

    -- If you like reading my stuff (even if it's just to disagree with me), great. Glad you're part of TBT community. If I drive you nuts, stop reading. It's not as if I get paid one cent whether you read me or not.


  10. Oh, and Mark Lunden ... great to hear from you.

    M-U-Rah-Rah and all that!!

  11. Mike,

    First, thank you for explaining the true circumstances behind why you left the Peoria Journal-Star and please accept my apologies for bringing it up how I did. I do understand how it feels to lose a job that you enjoyed for so long. Yes, the people who run the newspaper industry have done more harm than good, and they seem to forget or ignore that their industry runs of the blood, sweat, and tears of human beings; in my swipe at the sorry state of journalism, I forgot that and took a swipe at you. That was a bad move.

    That being said, a few brief points before I fall on my sword:

    1) Romney, for good or ill, will end up the Republican nominee, courtesy of a beltway entrenched machine that is more concerned with holding on to its power rather than truly putting up opposition to Obama and the Democrats.

    2) He only ordered the hit on bin Laden, it was the Navy SEALS who actually performed the hit. A failed mission would have cost Obama only the Presidency; the SEALS would have been killed. The SEALS efforts' were the culmination of the work performed in Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom...which Obama voiced his opposition and displeasure with when he was Senator Obama. As for Hilary, we don't have any new friends in the Arab world, courtesy of the Arab Spring, The "reset" button that she gave the Russians has given them the green light to butt heads with us rather than work with us...and then there are Iran and North Korea...

  12. As for the Washington Post article, the point I should have made was this: where was all of this investigative journalism four years ago when Obama was running? Why a 5000 word article on one incident in Romney's past, when we barely know a thing about Obama's. If Obama were given a proper vetting by the "free press", how big of a mausoleum would we have found in his closet? Would it have been enough to derail the campaign of a junior IL and US Senator with precious little private sector experience?

    Yes, I am a Republican, proudly registered here in Maryland (my Maryland). I am an emigre' from there because I would read internet articles on the Democrats in power in IL (and around the nation) and concluded that between their recent abuses and failures in charge, and the notion that they traded 150+ years of racism for 50+ years of the welfare state for minorities, and I concluded that I could never vote Democrat again.

  13. Once again, Mike I admit I was wrong about that swipe and I apologize for it. And I do enjoy reading The Baldest Truth in its current form.

    For the record, my position is thus: Both parties do need substantial reform. The GOP must evict the career politicians and the beltway intellectuals, while the Democrats must own up to its racist past and sever ties with the anti-Americans and socialist elements in their ranks. Obama got elected in no small part to a co-oped media machine that picks out the specks in his opponents' eyes while ignoring the telephone pole that is his nose. Four more years of Obama, IMHO, will put us closer to ruin than recovery.

    Thank you for your attention and your tolerance. Good night and God Bless...

  14. Romney "didn't remember" a bullying incident when he was a teenager.

    Obama "didn't remember" all the hateful, racist, anti-American sermons from the guy whose pews he sat in for 20 years, who married Obama and his wife, blessed his home and was a fawning subject in Obama's book.

    I would generously say their cowardice and truth-telling levels are at least on par.

  15. Cam:

    Let's see: Romney actually bullied -- in fact, led a cruel incident -- against a classmate. Obama listened to a hateful preacher. Oh yes, their "forgetfulness" is a wash. I guess it also would be a wash if you beat me to a bloody pulp in retaliation for me calling you a doo-doo head.

    It's my opinion that Romney is a cowardly jerk who would say or do anything to win in politics -- even that he is to the left of Ted Kennedy. You are entitled to your own opinion of him or Obama or me or anybody else.

  16. BA:

    Thank you for your kind words. All is well.

    One thing you did say in your follow-up did make me sad, however: "I concluded that I could never vote Democrat again."

    Never is a long time. There have been many great Democrats and many jerky Democrats, just as there have been many great Republicans and many jerky Republicans. I wish every American would look at each man or woman for his/her accomplishments and deeds instead of just following an ideology. Far too many GOPers do exactly what Rush and Fox News tell them to do. Far too many Dems spend too much time watching MSNBC. THAT -- and not any one party -- is what's wrong with this country.

  17. "Obama listened to a hateful preacher. Oh yes, their "forgetfulness" is a wash."

    Would you blow that off so easily if it were Romney being besties with someone who preached hatred against blacks and/or Jews for decades?

    As for Romney, if he were still anything like he was 47 years ago, I'd be pretty appalled. Is there anything to suggest he is?

  18. I said multiple times that what Romney did decades ago is immaterial.

    The issue is his response to it today. He is a liar and a coward.

    As a voter and a citizen, I see no evidence of one trait Romney has that is better than that of Obama. Not one. And I see many more negative traits. Though both are flawed candidates, I generally consider Obama a decent guy and a good leader while I see Romney as an unlikable man and a follower who will say and do anything depending upon the audience.

    That view is my prerogative. You aren't going to convince me I'm wrong; nor am I going to convince you that you're wrong.

    Continuing to argue about this is as silly as it is futile.

    Mike Out.

  19. interesting discussion, interesting blog. i believe it was a few days back when you intimated that there are only nine regular readers -- make that at least 10. counting several years of looking over your shoulder, i've been reading your words semi-regularly since the '80s.

    as for politics, sure, i'll bite. obama inherited the job from a guy who: 1) ignored a memo that said bin laden was going to attack skyscrapers with jet airliners; 2) attacked the wrong country to the tune of trillions; 3) lowered taxes during a time of war; 4) added a major drug prescription debt for good (bad) measure; 5) never even tried to figure out healthcare; 6) enjoyed temporary economic gains because of a housing market that was actually a house of cards; 7) left the country at the edge of a very dark place. these things should be front and center despite those who say "obama can't blame bush" ... because bush is to blame.

    even without factoring in rampant gop obstruction and filibuster designed to promote failure and deny reelection, obama oughta be handed a second term to put things right (yes, republicans should have to sit this election out as a penalty). but factor in man-of-the-people mitt and it shouldn't even be a contest ... except for 1) self-protective rich people; 2) the ultra-religious; 3) the one-issue voters and; 4) the hoodwinked sheep. it really SHOULD be a second-term landslide in spite of obama's big mistake of spending too much of his political capital on a compromised health care plan that needed a public option.

    and, oh yeah, the two-party system stinks.

    mark a.

  20. Hey, Mark. Great to hear from you, my friend.

    Let's run as the Independent Party ticket. You can even be president if you want.

    Smart Republicans (and there are many) long ago stopped even trying to defend Dubya. Many even openly criticize him. They figure that if Dems can choose to be defined by Clinton instead of, say, Dukakis, they can choose to be defined by Reagan and not Dubya. Of course, they do conveniently forget that Reagan raised taxes 11 times and that he would have no chance in the Republican primary today because he'd be labeled a Hollywood-elete RINO.

    You are right that Obama should win easily against this mope, but it almost surely won't be easy at all. Part of that is a stubbornly slow economic recovery and most of it is pure ideology.

    Should be an interesting -- albeit sometimes painful to observe -- race.