Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Romney's Character Problem

The recent stories in the Washington Post about Mitt Romney being a high school bully reinforce a character problem that the GOP "base" recognized throughout the primary campaign.

Here's the skinny on the Post story.  Five people, four of them willing to speak with attribution, state that Mitt Romney ran down and pinned a boy who had long hair and behaved effeminately.  He then cut the boy's hair while the boy screamed for him to get off.  He is also claimed to have said "Atta girl" to another non-conformist boy.

In response, Romney said he didn't remember the incidents.

Now, that means one of two things.   Either he's lying about remembering the incidents or he engaged in harrassment of other students so often that he doesn't recall these particular instances.  Neither is speaking well of his character.

But the GOP "base" knew this about him four years ago and has continued to recognize it.  They overwhelmingly want to vote for someone else.  Sure, he says all the things he thinks they want to hear, but they know he was governor of Massachusetts and know his record there.  He was considerably more centrist to left then, committing the cardinal sin of proposing and implementing a healthcare plan that is remarkably similar to the Obama plan he now opposes.  Semantics and dodges haven't fooled the GOP "base".  This is a guy who will say what he has to be elected, with little chance that he actually believes what he's saying.

So now Romney has not only the longstanding distrust of the "base", he has shown that he's either a liar or someone who goes along with a crowd and persecutes the outsiders.  The latter might play well with the "base", who are all about conformity to their norms, but it's not going to play well to the vast majority of voters.

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