There is so much wrong with Romney’s response that I hardly know where to start.
But let’s start here: If the haircutting incident happened as described, it’s not a prank or hijinks or even simple bullying. It’s an assault.
Second, honorable men don’t chuckle at cruelty.
Third, if it happened, Romney’s explanation that he doesn’t remember it doesn’t ring true. It is a searing account in the telling and would have been even more so in the doing. How could such a thing simply melt into the milieu of other misbehavior? How could the screams of his classmate not echo even now?
It was a little more than disconcerting hearing those on Stephanopolous this morning, particularly people like Spitzer, dismiss the Romney bullying as a non-issue moving forward.
I was bullied in high school. I remember EVERY push into a locker, EVERY cruel word, and EVERY aggressive action because it was hardly the norm. Fortunately for me I was able to overcome it and stand up to those who did it (in a fight that many in high school remember), gain respect and put it behind me. Most do not get that chance.
I also made fun of one guy and did apologize to him later in life. The fact that I did make fun of him, whether as a reaction to it happening to me or not, was not representative of who I am or wanted to be. The apology didn't need to be coerced. I truly felt guilty. Anyone with an iota of compassion or self-reflection would.
By the same token, anyone who would react to an accusation they way Romney did is a substantial event. He showed us in one brief moment that he is as callous as his business dealings suggest, as indifferent to those not like him as his actions suggest, and it puts a personality behind the forced smile we see from him at every turn and in his dealing with everyone not like him.
Is he a better person now? I would certainly hope so. But having never had to answer to anything in his life and to choose a profession that turns bullying into a profit center tells me all I need to know.
Our Presidential candidates, if nothing else, need to be moderately compassionate for those they hope to help in their governing duties. An act as cruel and ugly as the one attributed to Romney is not the norm, not "hijinks", not forgettable, and not dismissable.
It is, in my opinion, the ONLY thing potential voters should concern themselves with when weighing this man's life, career and actions. For anyone who's ever seen the "Up" series it's pretty clear that our core personalities are developed by the age of 7. Changing your personality is a dramatic action. I don't believe Romney, at his essence, has changed at all.