I’d been feeling a little bit sorry for Mitt Romney, who doesn’t seem nearly as nasty as the party whose standard he now bears. But it turns out that leading a mob of bullies comes naturally to Romney.
John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it.
“He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt, the teenaged son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled.
A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.
The actual event is less appalling than Romney’s current reaction to it.
In a radio interview Thursday morning, Romney said he didn’t remember the incident but apologized for pranks he helped orchestrate that he said “might have gone too far.”
His campaign spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, said in a statement that “anyone who knows Mitt Romney knows that he doesn’t have a mean-spirited bone in his body. The stories of fifty years ago seem exaggerated and off base and Governor Romney has no memory of participating in these incidents.”
That’s not the eighteen-year-old Romney speaking; that’s the man (loosely speaking) now running for President of the United States. An actual man would say, “When I was a teenager, I did something horrible, and I’ve regretted it ever since. And I’ve tried to bring up my sons so none of them would ever do what I did.”
Instead he apologizes for nothing in particular and hides behind a flack to half-deny the story, which is supported by the testimony of five eyewitnesses, including a former Republican county chairman from Michigan. You have to listen to the interview Romney volunteered for with a tame Fox News personality to grasp the full depth of his shamelessness and moral idiocy. “Back in high school, I did some dumb things, and if anyone was hurt by that or offended obviously I apologize.” He laughingly denies remembering the mob hair-chopping incident, but then denies that “anyone thought the fellow was homosexual.”
Seriously, now. Can you imagine doing that to someone and not remembering? If it’s a lie – as I assume it is – just how stupid does Romney think the voters are?
If it’s the truth, then Mitt Romney must be a true sociopath.
We tried having a cowardly bully as President from 2001-2009. How’d that work out?
Footnote The victim died in 2004. There seems to be no record of Romney’s ever having tried to apologize to him.