Today's Washington Post online has a revealingly in-depth story on Mitt Romney's mistreatment of some of his classmates as a high school student at the Cranbrook private school in Detroit back in the 1960s. In short, it details conversations with a number of his peers who recount him engaging in, and sometimes leading, bullying behavior towards students perceived to be gay (among other youthful "pranks"). Romney has denied any recollection of these activities, and issued the usual tepid Washington non-apology.
A couple of quick thoughts. First, I don't think it's fair to judge Mitt Romney the "60-something-year-old presidential candidate" by something Mitt Romney the "high-school prankster" did. I know it's tempting to all the people who can't stand the guy, and I must admit he's not currently on my Christmas card list. But something he did FIFTY YEARS AGO would have to be a lot worse than this to disqualify him from consideration - President Obama was smokin' weed and carrying on himself around the same age, and Lawd knows that Bill Clinton and GW were up to...
That said, what is fair to consider is how the present-day Mitt Romney responds to the allegations of misdeeds against his younger self. I kind of wish he'd just said "you know, I remember that incident and I've always regretted it. I wish I'd taken the time to apologize to that gentleman before he died." Oh yes, if you missed that part of the story, the victim of the most disturbing act of bullying succumbed to cancer in 2004. Today Mitt issued a general apology for any ancient malfeasance, even though he claims not to remember it. I wonder if he ever apologized to the victim, while dude was still alive? That's a greater measure of the man than the childhood ignorance we were all complicit in to some degree or other.
Turns out a second victim of Mitt Romney's bullying is in fact still alive today. Care to apologize to him Governor Romney? The rest of us don't really need the generalized apology, so maybe you might make a phone call?
It would say a lot more to us about the kind of man you are today.