Part 4—As the liberal world slept: According to Jason Horowitz’s reporting, some of which is thoroughly documented, Mitt Romney behaved quite badly at several times during his high school career.
In response, Gail Collins behaved rather badly herself. But Collins is not in high school.
Horowitz’s novella-length piece appeared in last Thursday’s Washington Post. Two days later, Collins and her colleague, Charles Blow, devoted their New York Times columns to the latest proof of Romney’s bad character.
Speaking of faulty moral performance, Blow had just spent a month spreading disinformation about a possible murder case. But so what! On this day, he expounded in detail about Romney’s bad character flaws.
In her own column, Lady Collins rewarded herself with a doggie treat.
Her overall reasoning was a bit hard to follow; this produced complaints from commenters. But at one point, Collins treated herself! Again, she told her favorite tale. But this time, she employed a new image: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/12/opinion/collins-the-anatomy-of-a-jokester.html?
COLLINS (5/12/12): He is incapable, really, of admitting past errors. Perhaps you may remember that Romney once drove to Canada with the family Irish setter stuck in a cage on the station wagon roof. When he was originally asked about it, he claimed the dog “loves fresh air.”Really? Was Seamus on the roof of the car “in a cage” that day?
In fairness, Collins had placed Seamus in a “cage” once before, in a column from December 2010. (Incredibly, she has been repeating this tale for five years.) Last Saturday, she cited Romney's quip about the “fresh air,” creating an image she must have known would mislead some of her readers.
Surely, Collins understands that Seamus wasn’t “in a cage.” But darlings! As Chekhov wrote about Gurov, the semi-crazy columnist “wanted to enjoy life so badly and it all seemed so simple and amusing!”
Semi-crazy—and dishonest? Whatever! Blow and Collins were happy this day, helping readers understand that Romney is a bad person.
(Which he may be, of course!)
Tomorrow, we’ll post the story you won’t hear from Collins; we’ll post the news report about the time Romney rescued the drowning dog. (It happened in 2003.) For now, let’s consider the reactions of Collins’ liberal readers when she wrote the semi-confusing but pleasing piece about Mitt’s high school conduct.
We liberals! As we pleasured ourselves last week with tales about Romney’s behavior in high school, Romney crept ahead of Obama in the New York Times national poll! Can it be that this is happening because of The Way We Are—because of our vast limitations?
Alas! Scanning the comments from Collins’ readers, we saw the standard assembly of pseudo-liberal nonsense and incomprehension. Question: If these comments define the way we are, might we liberals be too daft to keep Romney out of the White House?
COMMENT FROM FLORIDA: You don't remember the incident, but you DO remember you didn't know the boy was gay?Gaze on the way we are:
COMMENT FROM WISCONSIN: I believe I read that Mr. Romney stated that the kennel was airtight so no problem. How does that work? Dogs don't need air to live?
COMMENT FROM DC: And remember when Mitt said "I'm not concerned with the very poor, they've got the safety net." Yeah, right! From his vantage point, the lives of poor people might seem like something he read about in a school book rather than something he was curious enough to study first hand. And we know he likes to "fire people"—ha ha, what a fun and crazy guy!
COMMENT FROM FLORIDA: I saw the real Romney on a news clip of him on the campaign trail. When asked a question by a citizen (potential voter/employer), Romney simply said, "You're wrong and I'm right" and turned his back. Why the press didn't pick up on this totally insulting behavior is beyond me. Arrogance personified. Really, if elected, I'm afraid we will hear from him over and over and over that he's right and we're wrong.
COMMENT FROM NEW YORK: I will never get tired of your Seamus-on-the-roof references. It just highlights how absurd this all is. Maybe SNL is behind this whole thing and the real Republican candidate will appear any day. Oh, wait, there are no other options. Seth Meyers for President.
COMMENT FROM NEW JERSEY: Actually, the most frightening aspect of the Romney/Lauber incident is that, you can be sure, many of his supporters have no problem with Mitt's behavior and—indeed—probably applaud it.
COMMENT FROM NEW JERSEY: What do expect from a person named Mitt? I think naming a child Mitt probably dooms that person forever to try to be "one of the guys." Romney reminds me of that kid in high school everyone liked because he had the best car and paid for gas. Maybe the last kid chosen for dodgeball? Whatever it is, I do not think someone as shallow and insecure as he looks to be should be president. Actually, I can name twenty-five other policies he has put out there that lead me to think of Romney as a poor choice but the name Mitt stands out. Does this make me shallow? Probably.
The commenter from New York “will never get tired of [Collins’] Seamus-on-the-roof references.” Collins gets that a lot.
The first commenter from Florida saw a contradiction where no contradiction exists. The commenter from Wisconsin is still puzzled by the “airtight” comment.
The commenter from DC rattled a few of our tribe’s favorite lines. (We once agreed that these favorite lines had been taken “wildly out of context.” Now, we pseudos love these lines as we love life itself.)
The commenter from Florida had been convinced by a brief news clip. And the first commenter from New Jersey was pretty sure that “many” of Romney's supporters probably applaud the way he behaved—the way he behaved in high school.
That said, the second commenter from New Jersey showed us part of The Way We Are. He said he could name twenty-five policies which show that Romney would be a poor choice. But what stands out in this reader’s mind?
Of course! Mitt Romney’s weird name!
Is it fair to go through comments this way? Actually, yes—it is. When Collins writes one of her columns, her comment threads are full of such comments—the type of comments we liberals used to mock.
For decades, pseudo-conservatives called talk radio programs, announcing themselves as ditto-heads. On the air, for all to hear, these callers would affirm every damn fool thing in the world.
We liberals would laugh at the foolishness of these highly scripted callers. And then we invented comment threads—and we got to see the way we are!
The way we are is not super-bright, as we telegraphed again in the wake of the bullying story. And omigod! As we pleasured ourselves with comments about Mitt Romney’s high school days, Romney crept ahead of Obama in the New York Times national poll.
Could it be that voters don't care about our tribe's twaddle? Again, we offer a question:
Romney did behave quite badly in the bullying of John Lauber. Several other unflattering incidents were described in the Horowitz piece—incidents from his high school career.
We liberals swung into action. Our “intellectual leaders” treated themselves in familiar ways, failing to offer us actual leadership. But here’s our question, once again:
Why didn’t we react to the Reuters report at the start of the year about the way Romney looted those pension funds?
Romney behaved this way as a full-grown adult. A very large number of people got looted.
But how weird! Lady Collins didn’t say boo about this bit of bad conduct! Could it be that this lady doesn’t care when tea-baggers might be involved?
Could it be that she cares about Irish setters but not about working-class folk?
In the New York Times poll, Romney moved past Obama last week as we liberals pleasured ourselves with our tribe’s favorite stories. For years, we got to laugh at the other tribe’s ditto-heads—but they at least had highly effective political leadership.
Today, the clueless players must include us. The real fault lies with our intellectual leaders, of course. But look at the way we are!
We get upset about Irish setters—so upset that we invent and select our facts, as Collins has done from the start of this breakdown. We get upset about high school bullying, which is of course a bad thing.
But we don’t seem to care about looted workers—can’t seem to rouse ourselves about that! To us, this seems to be part of an unfortunate package, a point we’ll explore more next week.
The main fault lies with our worthless “leaders,” of course. But then too, there’s the way we are.
Tomorrow: Romney rescues a dog. Plus, JFK as a grown-up!