Where were you in the summer of 65!

FRIDAY, MAY 11, 2012

We were in high school too: On balance, Kevin Drum says the Washington Post was right to publish its novella-length news report about Mitt Romney’s apparent bad conduct in 1965. (For Drum's post, just click here.)

On balance, we would tend to disagree. But this tendency has grown like Topsy—the tendency to mine a candidate’s teen-age years looking for clues to his “character,” or pretending to do so.

This is such a major part of our election “journalism” that we will probably review it at length. That said, the Post devoted more than 5400 words to this topic.

Question: Do newspapers ever devote this much space to behavior from a pol’s adult years?

49 comments:

  1. Fox played it as a minor high school prank, so insignificant that Romney couldn't recall the incident.
    (Romney is learning politics. Don't deny, just say "I don't recall.")

    MSNBC played it as Romney leading a KKK-like attack on a homosexual because he was different.

    I flashed back on a poster beloved by policeman in the seventies, of two cops pinning a hippie to the ground while one sheared his locks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mitt will manage to turn one day's of bad news into a week of bad news with his "I don't recall, but if I did that, I'm sorry" non-denial, non-apology.

      Five guys recalled the incident in rather vivid detail. Mitt is the only one who is drawing a blank.

      Had he said, "I was a dumb kid, and that was a mean, stupid thing for me to do," then the story ends there.

      Delete
  2. The tendency to mine a candidate's teen-age years for scandal is one-sided. WaPo and the rest of the mainstream media sure didn't run a 5400 word story on the details of Obama's cocaine usage.

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    Replies
    1. Nor of George W. Bush's use of the nose candy, either.

      Delete
    2. The Real AnonymousMay 11, 2012 at 11:51 AM

      In 2008 the New York Times interviewed Obama's high school classmates regarding his partying and drug usage.

      It was interesting reading about what his classmates thought about him and how his inner struggles didn't manifest themselves to those around him. They thought he was quite normal, not a big partier at all.

      Too bad you missed this front page story.

      Delete
    3. The Real AnonymousMay 11, 2012 at 12:01 PM

      Pardon me, the Times interviewed Obama's high school and college friends and classmates:

      "In more than three dozen interviews, friends, classmates and mentors from his high school and Occidental recalled Mr. Obama as being grounded, motivated and poised, someone who did not appear to be grappling with any drug problems and seemed only to dabble with marijuana."

      http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/09/us/politics/08cnd-obama.html?pagewanted=all

      How many words would you say that story is?

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    4. There is a fundamental difference between using drugs while growing up and being a sadistic cruel bastard.

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    5. The Real AnonymousMay 11, 2012 at 12:25 PM

      Unless you have powerful friends in high places going after someone with a pair of scissors usually lands you at least an interview with the cops

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    6. D in C has misstated the facts....in other news..the sky is blue

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    7. Real, according to the Post story, this incident didn't even land him in the principal's office.

      Talk about friends (father) in high places.

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    8. "There is a fundamental difference between using drugs while growing up and being a sadistic cruel bastard."

      lmfao...seek therapy

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    9. sadistic cruel bastard

      LMAO

      Delete
  3. Quaker in a BasementMay 11, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    Somebody wake me when the Times commits half as much ink to explaining the effects of Romney's proposed budget policies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And this is a myth Somerby likes to sell: One story about Romney's youth means the press ignornes his budget policies entirely.

      Well, I just googled "Romney budget proposal" amd came up with 186,000 results, all pretty much dating from the first of the year.

      Then I clicked "News" for "Romney budget proposal" and came up with 4,900 results, all from the last week.

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    2. And that proves the coverage was substantial.

      I'm a free thinker!

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    3. Yep, the coverage has been quite substantial. And broken down over time over virtually every aspect of the budget.

      But go ahead and believe Bob when he tells you the press ignores substantive policy issues. After all, when all you seem to be interested in is mining MSNBC and the New York Times for new blog material, perhaps Bob and his followers could be forgiven for not having the 0.26 seconds it took to check if Romney's budget proposals have received any attention at all.

      Better just to say it's been ignored in favor of trivia. That fits the narrative so much better.

      Delete
  4. This story made me firmly resolve never to vote for any teenage boy for president.

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    1. The Real AnonymousMay 11, 2012 at 8:05 PM

      The child is the father of the man.

      Delete
  5. Not too interested in what Romney did in 1965. Much more important that he wants to treat homosexuals as 2nd class citizens when he's 65 years old.
    Berto

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    1. The Real AnonymousMay 11, 2012 at 8:12 PM

      Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

      Delete
  6. You know what? IN ADDITION TO (not instead of) policy issues, character issues are also important to a whole lot of people when choosing a president.

    The issue here, and call it "narrative" or "a novel" if you wish, is whether Mitt Romney possesses empathy in any degree that would help him understand the plight of people who have not had the privileged life he has had, or whether he thinks by virtue of his birth into such privilege he thinks the rules of civilized behavior do not apply to him.

    And we are beginning to get a picture of that through the mocking of the NASCAR fans for their cheap rain ponchos, his mocking of his host for providing him "7-11" cookies, his history as a vulture capitalist who tosses thousands of people out of their jobs, his willingness to jettison the entire U.S. auto industry at the cost of millions more jobs, even the strapping the dog to the roof story, and now this tale of high school bullying that he and only he among his prep school buddies can't even remember that this guy may be wired to think of nobody's best interests but Mitt Romney's.

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  7. And we are beginning to get a picture of that through the mocking of the NASCAR fans for their cheap rain ponchos,

    You must be the life of the party.

    Those poor poncho wearers. How will they recover from Mitt Romney's vicious attack?

    Outraged "victims" are exhausting bores to the rest of us but it's all the Democrats have to offer now.

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    Replies
    1. No, Mitt must be the life of the party. I'll bet the people who were out in the rain to meet him were just so enamored about the cracks about the ponchos. Kinda like the host went to the trouble to get cookies from the city's best bakery, and got the 7-11 crack in gratitude.

      The guy would rather mock than to say thank you for being with me today. Classic priviledge spoiled brat bully.

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    2. Ponchos and 7-11 cookies. Obama Democrats are perpetually consumed with ridiculous grievances. It feels good to be butthurt.

      Ugh, PONDEROUS.

      Delete
    3. It's fairly obvious a large number of psychologically tortured liberals are working out their high school bullying trauma.

      By the way, when I was in school, bullying would only have been considered actually beating up or threatening to beat up someone. Not calling him AWFUL HURTFUL NAMES, which is actually something that happens to pretty much everyone at some point, kids being kids.

      I'm positive that the current crazed zero tolerance attitude toward name-calling or simply not liking certain peers will result in an even faggier generation than millenials, if that's possible.

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    4. We used to beat up kids for having divorced parents and I got beat up for having red hair and it wasn't even that red. Anyone offended by this stuff is a loser.

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    5. And I full well understand that there are certain people who would vote for the decaying body of Ted Bundy if he were the GOP nominee.

      And attempt to excuse the murders he committed as playing the victim card.

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    6. Prank by high school boys = serial killing

      LMFAO

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    7. Didn't say that. I said that certain people would vote for the decaying corpse of Ted Bundy if he was on the GOP ticket.

      Case in point. A convicted embezzler slipped in and won the GOP primary for Missouri State Auditor when Claire McCaskill was running for her second term. Even the GOP disowned the guy and gave him no money to run in the general election.

      He still got 40 percent of the vote.

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  8. This is a great story for Obama's side. Fair or unfair, people will respond to this in an emotional way. Mitt would seem to have been a real little creep, and everybody hates a bully. You don't have to be Dr. Phil to link this up with Mitt's take on economic issues. This will hurt him.

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    1. Nobody will take away from this that Romney is a bully. 90% of adults understand this behavior as typical of high school males and innocuous. The rest have OD'd on Glee's weird bully fetishism and were never going to vote for him anyway.

      Delete
    2. The Real AnonymousMay 11, 2012 at 8:15 PM

      "90% of adults understand this behavior as typical of high school males and innocuous."


      Absolute bullshit without a shred of evidence to back it up.

      Delete
    3. The Real AnonymousMay 11, 2012 at 8:16 PM

      Typical high school students go around cutting each other's hair off?

      What the fuck is up with you?

      Delete
    4. Anyone who is howling about this BS was probably raised by a single mother and wrapped in bubble wrap through childhood

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    5. Even Mitt Romney admits this is something he wouldn't be proud of if he could only remember doing it.

      And it sure sounds like something his buddies remember -- and regret deeply.

      Delete
  9. If the Post story is true, this was an horrific assault on a defenseless kid. If he did it and can't remember it then something is wrong with his conscience. (We can assume that he wasn't too drunk to remember.) If he remembers it and pretends not to then something is wrong with his conscience.

    I suppose it's possible for an entitled narcissist to be a good President. Probably not this one, however, given his policy positions.

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    1. Good lord, the drama.

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    2. "If he did it and can't remember it then something is wrong with his conscience."

      Bingo! But remember. These sorts of "character issues" have no place in a presidential campaign.

      "I suppose it's possible for an entitled narcissist to be a good President. Probably not this one, however, given his policy positions."

      And there you go! Judging him on the basis of "policy" (which seems to change daily) AND character!

      How dare you!

      Delete
  10. What WOULD count as legitimate news about a candidate, less his or her policy positions, to Bob Somerby?

    (I thought highly of John Edwards once, was appreciative of the way he pressed class and economic issues.)

    You can't have an army only of bowmen/bowwomen, snipers. It's important to identify and exploit weaknesses, of course, but the archers are there for support. You mostly need spear-wielders, who fight in the front lines. I've completely lost track of who Bob thinks of as spear-wielders. He's all about faulty archery.

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  11. What concerns me most about Romney's "character" is hearing him recently declare he really, REALLY wished he had gone over to Vietnam back in the day to get a few licks in. Just what we need, a sixty-something year old chickenhawk who's suddenly discovered his "inner warrior" as Commander-in-Chief. And what exactly did Romney do back in the day? He hightailed it straight to France, not even a stop over in Canada. What's more, he has five boys, all military age, all outspokenly gung ho for war in Iraq, and yet not a one of them manned up and took the step. It's hard not to reason, based on that alone, that there's a yellow streak running through the Romney family.

    C'mon Republicans, I'm not saying the testosterone challenged shouldn't have the right to representation, provided enough of you relate to this type of behavior. But haven't you learned anything from the very recent past in electing* a Champaign Corp deserter who fled his sissyboy set-aside post the minute he got bored playing Army man. It just has a habit of not working out well.

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    1. Clinton was also a draft dodger and it worked out quite well. There is no correlation between military involvement and good leadership.

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    2. The issue isn't about personal military involvement per se, it's about clueless, entitled young "men" who "evolve" in their later years into wannabe "warriors" with much to prove. A clown strutting around in a flight costume mouthing "bring em on" is not good leadership, it's sickness.

      Here's a young loafer-clad Mitt, deferment safely tucked away, protesting IN FAVOR of the Vietnam draft. Do you really think over the years he's changed all that much?
      http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/01/09/mitt-romney-took-part-in-a-pro-vietnam-draft-rally-image/

      Delete
  12. This case of Romney bullying a fellow student is an important story. If only the public had been earlier and perhaps better informed regarding George W. Bush's penchant for killing small animals as a child, it may well have served to save human life down the road.

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