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Romney’s bullying of 47 years ago is forgivable, but his more recent tolerance of bullying is not

Count me among those who think that Mitt Romney’s misdeeds in prep school during the 1960s are not, in and of themselves, anything for which he should be held politically accountable today.

Many, if not most, of us did regrettable things when we were young. And as I said HERE yesterday, I was at first reluctant to write anything about Romney’s bully-boy conduct as a teenager but changed my mind when he publicly addressed the story himself.

Having said all of that, I’m not nearly so willing to give Romney a pass on his more recent record regarding bullying. I’m referring to THIS MATTER, which I cited in an update to my post of yesterday afternoon:

Mitt Romney clashed with a state commission tasked with helping LGBT youth at risk for bullying and suicide throughout his term as Massachusetts governor over funding and its participation in a pride parade. He eventually abolished the group altogether.

“We remember well what Romney tried to do as governor of Massachusetts and we now we have more info on some of his own attitudes that may have led to his policy actions,” Eliza Byard, executive director of LGBT anti-bullying organization GLSEN, told TPM, drawing a connection with reports that Romney cornered a youth in high school and cut his hair. “If he’s willing to dismiss that incident as ‘hijinks,’ I could understand that he wouldn’t understand at all why this program was so critical.”

The Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, created by Republican Gov. William Weld in 1992 in response to newly released statistics showing alarmingly high suicide rates among gay and lesbian teens, was designed to combat harassment in schools. It served at the pleasure of the state’s chief executive. The commission funded Gay Straight Alliances in high schools and provided training and information for teachers.

Romney continued its existence upon taking office, but a rift began in 2005, when he vetoed a $100,000 increase in its budget, prompting the state legislature to overturn his move and restore funding. Conservative anti-gay activists, who had mobilized in the wake of the state’s gay marriage fight, publicly opposed the commission’s budget request.

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10 Comments

  1. Neftali

    This is typical backlash anytime there are attempts to make hard choices in budget cuts.

    For example, anytime a President dares to consider cuts in military spending they are automatically labeled “anti-military” and wanting to “weaken our national defense.” Republicans are famous for these ridiculous accusations.

    Closer to home, Gov. Quinn has had to make some tough choices regarding closing of several state services, including prisons, and cuts to medicaid and services to children. Does this make Quinn soft on crime and “anti-children?”

    So now we have a similar situation, where Romney didn’t even make a cut, but merely refused an increase, which in reality was a paltry sum in relation to the entire Massachusetts budget at the time. Now the far left is trying to paint a picture from an event from over 40 years ago coupled with a minor fiscal decision, that somehow makes Romney a hater of gay people. Typical political games.

  2. Neftali: Romney has tried to ingratiate himself with elements of the Religious Right (Tony Perkins, et al) who oppose anti-bullying campaigns and see them as promotive of the gay lifestyle.

  3. Larry Linn

    If Romney’s high school prank went to court, he would have been convicted of assault and battery. However, he was the white son of a rich son of GOP Governor, therefore, it was just a prank! If he were poor, black or brown, he would have gone to juvenile hall.

  4. Larry Linn: You’ve got one too many generations in your equation. Mitt was not “the white son of a rich son of [a] GOP Governor.” He was the governor’s son himself.

  5. Romney committed assault and battery and picked on homosexuals. He was 17 years old, a young man, not some middle-school kid. Romney shows no signs of having evolved from the entitled, spoiled preppie brat he was then, so why should we think he’s changed from being an intolerant bully fearful of people different from him? And now stories are coming out about how he was a terrible snob then too. This does not bode well for the 99% of Americans who are clearly different from him.

  6. The kind of dumb things I did in high school did not include conspiring with people to oppress others, being the creative source and inspirational motivator to direct people I have influence over to hold down someone who is crying and humiliated, and forcible cut their hair because they are different. No, in this way what we did back then is not comparable.

  7. johnbear

    If the victim of Romney’s assault had been armed, could he have used the Stand Your Ground defense?

  8. The fact Willard just can’t remember this high class school incident is absurd. Liar liar blazer with Cranbrook crest on fire.

  9. Romney obviously has a little man complex he’s been trying to make up for all of his life from bullying classmates to his enjoyment of firing people after gutting their companies. His Magic Mormon Underwear can’t protect him from the press but can they make enough cash rain down to win the election? See for yourself the power of these mysterious garments at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/05/mitt-romneys-magic-mormon-underwear.html

  10. This post is more evidence that bullying is a national tragedy affecting young people across America and throughout Pennsylvania.

    We all need to take action against the source of bullying and let kids, parents, teachers, principals and politicians know that bullying is NOT okay. We all need to do something to make a difference.

    An amazing young singer-songwriter named Becca Levy is doing just that.

    She has started a music based anti bullying group called Right Now.

    Here’s a link to her video for a cover of “Right Now” by Van Halen. The purpose of the video is to promote awareness to kids using both music and the Internet. The video begins with a public service announcement and is full of statistics that people of all ages need to see.

    Becca lives in Washington, D.C. and just turned sixteen years old.

    http://www.rightnowagainstbullying.com

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