Let’s talk about real issues

The Washington Post ran a story last week in which former classmates of Mitt Romney say he made fun of a kid for having bleached blond hair that covered his eyes. So Romney allegedly got a few guys, grabbed a scissors, forced the student to the floor and chopped a bunch of his hair off.

If true, it sounds like Mitt Romney was a jerk in high school. Bullying of this kind is cruel.

Romney said he didn’t remember the incident, but he nonetheless apologized. He owned up to the fact that while he did a lot of pranks in high school, some of these likely went too far.

To me this sounds like a ten-minute story. Worth noting? Sure. But worth talking about for days? Not really.

Everyone can make their own judgment of Mitt Romney’s character. But I know I wouldn’t want people to judge me today for how I acted in high school. I wasn’t a bully, but I was kind of a jerk, too.

Now some people who are jerks remain jerks forever. But not all of them. Not most of them, I reckon. It sure sounds like Mitt grew out of this immaturity and became a nice man who went on to help people in everyday situations. He doesn’t strike me as the cold-hearted businessman in the movie Wall Street. In fact, The Daily ran a story detailing a long list of little-known acts of generosity where Mitt quietly helped out people in need.

I think the Washington Post story is worth a read, but should we really spend days and days talking about what happened at Mitt’s prep school in 1965?

Some in the media seem to think so. MSNBC anchor Tamron Hall brought in conservative Tim Carney to discuss the Mitt Romney bullying story.

Tamron did not like Tim’s opinions one iota. In fact, she had his mike cut off:

Tim Carney and I are personal friends, so perhaps my judgment is biased. But it didn’t sound like Carney was rude to the host. But what Carney did was to expose one of the media’s most commonly used tricks (especially 24-hour cable news of which Fox is also a culprit). They continually hype up a story and then they turn around and defend their coverage by saying that everyone is talking about it. These kinds of stories get Americans either agitated or excited depending what “side” they are on. Political campaigns naturally play to this media phenomenon.

But do we really want a presidential campaign to focus considerable time and energy on Romney being a jerk in high school or Obama eating a dog when he’s 6? Seems a silly way to elect the most powerful man on the planet.



  • Patrick

    The bullying story is newsworthy because we recently began to recognize a crisis of bullying in this country. It’s in the papers every day – some kid gets beat up for being gay, another one brings a tazer to school to protect himself from harrassment. If a presidential candidate is/was/might be a bully – then it’s newsworthy.



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