Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mitt Romney ~ Bully Boy of Cranbrook


Commentary on Mitt Romney's school days at Cranbrook, a posh prep school in Michigan, back when he was a wealthy white-privileged teenage bully who attacked people with scissors.

From the original Washington Post Story by Jason Horowitz:
John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it.

“He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt, the teenage son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled.

A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.
And then there's this:
One venerable English teacher, Carl G. Wonn­berger, nicknamed “the Bat” for his diminished eyesight, was known to walk into the trophy case and apologize, step into wastepaper baskets and stare blindly as students slipped out the back of the room to smoke by the open windows.
. . . As an underclassman, Romney accompanied Wonnberger and Pierce Getsinger, another student, from the second floor of the main academic building to the library to retrieve a book the two boys needed. According to Getsinger, Romney opened a first set of doors for Wonnberger, but then at the next set, with other students around, he swept his hand forward, bidding the teacher into a closed door. Wonnberger walked right into it and Getsinger said Romney giggled hysterically as the teacher shrugged it off as another of life’s indignities.


I’m not going to be too concerned about their piece they talk about the fact that I played a lot of pranks in high school and they describe some that well you just say to yourself, back in high school well I did some dumb things and if anybody was hurt by that or offended obviously I apologize but overall high school years were a long time ago...
~ Mitt Romney, quoted by ABC News

I don’t remember that incident and I’ll tell you I certainly don’t believe that I, I can’t speak for other people of course, thought the fellow was homosexual. That was the furthest thing from my mind back in the 1960s, so that was not the case. But as to pranks that were played back then, I don’t remember them all, but again, high school days, if I did stupid things, why I’m afraid I got to say sorry for it.
~ Mitt Romney, quoted by the Washington Examiner


Yo, Romney, like Eminem said: “F*** Cranbrook.
~ Mother Jones Tumblr

On multiple occasions over the last year, Romney has shown a tendency to dodge, weave, parse or deny in such a way that it outweighs the original offense. It’s his weasel problem, a real character flaw.
. . . what Romney seems to be implying — that bullying of effeminate-seeming boys didn’t happen in prep schools in the 1960s — is preposterous.
~ Timothy Egan in a NYT's Op-Ed entitled Romney's Weasel Problem

I think it’s worth noting that the framing of the Post story—the suggestion that Romney and the others picked on this schoolmate because they thought he was gay—is anachronistic. In spring 1965 long hair was associated with surfers (the Beach Boys had their first national hit record in 1964) and the Beatles (who made their first U.S. appearance in January 1965). And hair length was a big issue in the 1960s. Men of the World War II generation, who had memories of military short haircuts, took umbrage when teenagers left their hair grow, and fathers would badger their sons to get haircuts.
~ Fellow Cranbrook Alumnus Michael Barone
The Post reported that the abused boy was ultimately expelled from Cranbrook—for smoking a cigarette. Really. The victim got expelled for smoking a cigarette, but Mitt faced no sanctions for maliciously victimizing a vulnerable student and a teacher. It's good to be a prince. Maybe that's why Romney felt entitled to take a $10 million bailout for Bain, but opposed President Obama's bailout of the auto industry. He thinks there's one set of rules for the privileged, and another for the rest of us.
~ Paul Begala on The Daily Beast

What I see is an opportunity for Mitt Romney to lead and really be an advocate for decreasing bullying. It’s sad to hear what occurred many years ago characterized as ‘pranks’ and ‘horsing around.’ We’re no longer conformable with the notion of describing bullying as ‘kids will be kids.’ This was a presidential moment, and this should be a teachable moment for him.
~ Lee Hirsch, the director of “Bully”, a new documentary that focuses on bullying in U.S. schools, in a phone interview with TPMemo

Imagine holding someone down on the ground against their will. Imagine raising scissors to their head because you didn’t like the style of their hair. Imagine cutting the hair while the boy or girl beneath you struggled to get free. Is she crying? Is he? Is this a moment you could forget? Once you had matured would you want to? In the best scenario, a lesson is learned and behavior changed; in the worst, the behavior is rationalized and outwardly forgotten, finding rest in the dark recesses of the soul.
~ Tim Durnin, Santa Barbara Noozhawk

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