The most surprising part of this story might be that Mitt Romney had five friends as a senior in high school. Asked to recall their school days, they told an appalling tale of homophobia and violence. John Lauber was a year behind Mittens and his entourage. For whatever reason, his classmates decided he was gay, and set about harassing him.
Mittens in particular was disturbed by Lauber’s long blond hair, his friends recalled, saying things like, “He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” Not content to rant and rave about Lauber’s hair, or to attack him verbally, Mittens and his entourage decided physical assault was the appropriate course of action. So his friends tackled Lauber, and held him down, while Mittens cut off his hair.
Romney says he has no recollection of these events. His laughing denial demonstrates a complete failure in gaining no adult perspective as to the seriousness of his adolescent behavior. His friends had no trouble recalling both the incident and their subsequent remorse. They certainly didn’t see any humor in it. He’s also claiming the behavior he doesn’t remember wasn’t motivated by thinking its victim was gay. How much does that really matter though? Is there a motivation that could make a violent assault acceptable?
People do stupid things when they’re 17. Of course they do. But most of us grow up, and achieve a grown up understanding of their stupidity. It’s absurd to suppose Romney really doesn’t remember this attack. For that to be credible, it would have to have been one of many such events, which, actually, might well be the case.
For me, this becomes most disturbing looked at in the context of Romney’s history of animal cruelty, specifically strapping Seamus the Irish Setter to the roof of the family car for a lengthy road trip. While he never claimed it had slipped his mind, both incidents suggest a failure of compassion, and a willingness to abuse those over whom he has any sort of power. In both cases, when questioned, he showed absolutely no capacity for acknowledging, or learning from, his mistakes. More sociopathic than presidential, wouldn’t you agree?
On the plus side, this might be just what Mittens needs to win over any hesitant Santorum supporters.