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.