The media have been gasping in horror over claims that Mitt Romney engaged in gay bashing 50 years ago in high school, including one iconic incident in which he brutally hacked off a gay student's bleached blond locks.
Except that said student, John Lauber, wasn't openly gay. When interviewed by the non-partisan Auto Weekly before the haircut story surfaced in the mainstream media, key witness Phillip Maxwell never even mentioned the supposedly traumatizing incident.
Maxwell, a Democrat, did offer that Romney was disciplined, focused, and smart, and would probably make a great president-points that somehow didn't make it into the trim 5,500-word Post piece, no doubt due to space restrictions. One tipoff that the Post may have been proffering a biased report was its admission that most of the five witnesses it interviewed were Democrats.
The Post originally reported that another classmate, Stu White, had "long been bothered" by the incident-then had to publish a correction stating that White never knew about the incident until an unnamed source relayed it to him several weeks ago.
Lauber's three sisters issued statements expressing their disavowal of the Post's portrayal of their deceased brother and their distress over his use as a political prop.
Other details of the report claim that Romney teased another closeted gay student at Cranbrook School, though the Post confesses that other students and even teachers used language similar to Romney's.
Liberal commentators have studiously ignored the 95% of the Post report that focused on Romney's leadership in dozens of school organizations, extensive community service, robust work ethic, and all-around popularity and joviality, even as cited by many of the "victims" of his pranks.
The Post notes that Cranbrook was especially strict, and that it frequently expelled students for tiny infractions. If Romney was breaking rules and causing mayhem left and right, he sure was discreet about it.
What do we know about Romney's character later in life? We know that, much more recently than high school, he risked his life to save a family of six and their dog from drowning in a boating accident in 2003. Have you heard about that in the Post recently? Do you think you would have heard about it had Barack Obama done the same thing?
We also know that in 1996 Romney shut down Bain Capital for a week and sent his 30-person staff to New York City to scour the streets looking for a partner's missing daughter, who had traveled there for a rave and been abducted while on ecstasy. In a campaign commercial for Romney's gubernatorial run, the partner tearfully credited Romney with saving his daughter's life.
Such stories belie the mainstream media's portrayal of Romney as lacking in humanity and prone to "targeting the vulnerable," as New York Times columnist Charles Blow put it. Targeting the vulnerable? Targeting the vulnerable for being in need of his life-saving assistance, perhaps.
How many lives has Obama saved with his bare hands or his personal financial resources?
Meanwhile, since we're talking about high school and character, we know from Obama's autobiography that he "enthusiastically" used marijuana and cocaine and abused alcohol to such an extent that he spent his last two high school years in a "daze." We don't know what bad behavior Obama might have been up to in his twenties, but we do know that he steadfastly refuses to release his college or law school transcripts.
More importantly, we know that while his political career was ascendant, the young Obama sleazily knocked his three respected opponents for the Illinois State Senate off the ballot in 1996, by challenging their candidacy petition signatures based on technicalities. He also eliminated another opponent for Senate in 2004 by forcing open his challenger's sealed divorce records.
We know that Obama hobnobbed with unrepentant domestic terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, launched his political career in their home, attended for 20 years the church of anti-American preacher Jeremiah Wright, possibly tried to bribe Wright into silence before the November 2008 election, and marched with the New Black Panthers five short years ago.
Paul Begala argues the Romney bullying stories show that the candidate is a "serial abuser of power." Begala claims that one can "draw a straight line" from the man who orchestrated the alleged hippie-shearing to the one who laid off hundreds of employees while at Bain and "slashed education" while governor of Massachusetts.
Serial abuser of power? How about applying that label to the president who exploded the number of czars in the federal government, regularly plots to embolden left-wing federal agency heads to act unilaterally if Congress won't immediately implement his plans, and brags about putting his boots on people's necks, kicking their asses, and punishing his enemies? How about the president who threatens the Supreme Court that they had better not engage in judicial review of his signature legislation? How about the president who forms an enemies list of private citizens who contribute to his competitor's campaign?
One commenter breaks down the Begala piece: "It is tough when you have to deconstruct a monogamous, nondrinking, nonsmoking, honest Mormon who pays millions in taxes and gives millions to charities. You have to resort to high school pranks to turn a good man into a bully."
A friend and I once debated which is more pathetic: a twenty-something or fifty-something left-wing radical. My friend argued the former, because the fifty-something has the strength of his convictions to hold them till adulthood. I argued the latter, since we often grow out of youthful indiscretions and poorly thought-out ideologies through experience and wisdom.
Romney may have been a bit of a bully 50 years ago, which he regrets and apologizes for. Obama flirted with radicalism in his youth, a dalliance that has since blossomed into a full-blown, committed relationship.