Unless you've been living under a rock, the huge story yesterday was a Washington Post research article about Mitt Romney's youth while at the prestigious Cranbrook School. The story
itself was an odd mix of Romney's accomplishments and leadership with his penchant for cruel pranks. Two of those pranks stand out:
One venerable English teacher, Carl G. Wonnberger, nicknamed “the Bat” for his diminished eyesight, was known to walk into the trophy case and apologize, step into wastepaper baskets and stare blindly as students slipped out the back of the room to smoke by the open windows. Once, several students remembered the time pranksters propped up the back axle of Wonnberger’s Volkswagen Beetle with two-by-fours and watched, laughing from the windows, as the unwitting teacher slammed the gas pedal with his wheels spinning in the air.
As an underclassman, Romney accompanied Wonnberger and Pierce Getsinger, another student, from the second floor of the main academic building to the library to retrieve a book the two boys needed. According to Getsinger, Romney opened a first set of doors for Wonnberger, but then at the next set, with other students around, he swept his hand forward, bidding the teacher into a closed door. Wonnberger walked right into it and Getsinger said Romney giggled hysterically as the teacher shrugged it off as another of life’s indignities.
Back on the handsome campus, studded with Tudor brick buildings and manicured fields, he spotted something he thought did not belong at a school where the boys wore ties and carried briefcases. 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 teenage 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 rest of the article lists typical pranks a teenager might play, and describes his admirable actions as well. But it's these two items - particularly the second one - that has everyone aTwitter. Republicans are calling it a smear job from Obama (despite the Washington Post being an unimpeachable news source). Democrats say it fits into a pattern of lack of empathy (along with strapping dogs to the car roof and firing people for profit).
He denies remembering doing it, but others have stepped forward
saying yes - it did happen and it was "assault and battery". Gay Rights activists have condemned
the incident as "an act of torment".
Romney knows this is a problem for his campaign. He has gone so far as to ask a friend to counter the story
Stu White told ABC News that Romney’s older brother asked him and several other classmates to counter the story. White said he was uncertain whether he would offer his support..
Another former classmate of Romney, who wished to remain anonymous, told ABC News that Romney’s behavior in high school reminded him of “Lord of the Flies.”
Now that President Obama has been lauded for supporting gay marriage, these incidents color Romney in an even uglier light. Now he has offered a blanket "apology" for pranks, while insisting he doesn't remember the specific incident, and that "homosexuality was the furthest thing from his mind"
. He's also said he's "fine with gay couples adopting children"
. They just can't be married
gay couples adopting children. Apparently, the child is better off with the parents "living in sin".
The House, meanwhile, in their never-ending quest to be the anti-Obama, passed a measure
to prevent the Justice Dept from using taxpayer funds to actively oppose DOMA. Once again, House Republicans are ignoring polls to the contrary, and pretending that they are doing the will of the people by suppressing rights for all Americans.
In particular - those gay kids that Romney tormented will grow up and adopt children into their unwed households. What happens when one of those two in the relationship dies? The widow(er) and the child are not protected by law. Romney and the House Republicans are okay with that. That's the 800 lb gorilla in the room: They claim they're not anti-gay, just anti-gay-marriage