Mitt’s Bully Pulpit: Weekend Poll

By: wheatmeister
May 19, 2012

A recent news story about Mitt Romney’s highjinks or bullying, depending on your perspective, at a prestigious boys school in 1965 has raised questions about his character.

What do you think of Mitt Romney's bullying incident? (choose the one answer that most closely fits your view)

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Is the bullying incident relevant to Romney's candidacy?

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29 Responses to Mitt’s Bully Pulpit: Weekend Poll

  1. Stephen M (Ethesis) on May 19, 2012 at 7:40 AM

    Interesting how high school never leaves some of us. Most kids change a lot on their missions. I suspect he did as well.

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  2. Bonnie on May 19, 2012 at 8:38 AM

    I remember a story that someone told in General Conference of baiting a black child when he was a boy. His mother was so disappointed in him, and expressed it so clearly, that he learned a profound lesson about kindness in our speech to others. I can’t seem to find it or remember the principals, but it seems obvious that few of us were born perfect. Instead, we all seem to need the atonement and to learn at least some of the time from our mistakes. Good grief. Sometimes I think the milk of human kindness is dried up in politics.

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  3. Cowboy on May 19, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    I have a few issues concerning Mitt’s character, mostly to do with his convenient change in opinions. I mention this only to make the point that I am not a die hard Mitt Romney supporter, and yet, I find very little relevance in this bullying issue. If he had done this in college I would be a bit more disturbed. As a high school event, I’m satisfied that “hijinks” isn’t too far off the mark, as far as a descriptor goes.

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  4. Cowboy on May 19, 2012 at 8:48 AM

    By the way – why wasn’t there a voting option for the best all time W&T graphic??


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  5. MH on May 19, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    I second Cowboy’s nomination as Best Graphic!!!

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  6. Tristin on May 19, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    For me the issue is not that he bullied the kid, but that he is unwilling to give an honest and sincere apology for what he did. He insists on the fact that he can’t remember it and uses that as an excuse to not apologize in a genuine way. Even if he honestly cannot remember, the words of the many other people that were there should give him reason to reflect on what he did and show that he feels real remorse that he ever did it. It would show leadership and character, much more so than the dodging and excuse-making he is currently doing.

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  7. alice on May 19, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    For me it’s a pattern of callous and convenient behavior that’s deeply, deeply unsettling.

    I’d like to think otherwise but when I try I just don’t feel like I can rely on his character. I wish that weren’t so but there’s too much at stake in this country and this world to delude myself.

    Controversial! What do you think? Thumb up 3

  8. FireTag on May 19, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    The premise of the poll choices that the incident had ANYTHING to do with issues of homosexuality is simply FALSE, and makes it impossible to answer with any of the choices.

    I grew up in West Bloomfield Township, Michigan, and was in high school there in the mid-60′s. Cranbrook Academy is in Bloomfield Hills, less than 10 miles or so away. Our school played Bloomfield Hills as part of an 8-team league every year; I traveled with the football team, of course as the geeky team statistician.

    Although West Bloomfield eventually became a rich suburb — the popular TV sitcom “Tool Time” was later set there — Bloomfield Hills was the rich suburb then, and West Bloomfield kids were the poor relations.

    Cranbrook didn’t have sports teams; Cranbrook was socially above Bloomfield Hills the same way Bloomfield Hills was socially above the rest of the league. League schools took field trips TO Cranbrook for enrichment, for crying out loud. I’ve been personally “bused” there on such a field trip. THE BOYS SCHOOL ROMNEY ATTENDED WAS BUILT AS AN ON-CAMPUS ATTACHMENT TO AN ART MUSEUM AND INSTITUTE, and there was a separate girls school on campus, too.

    There is simply no way that any gay boy would have been recognized as such or hazed for that reason at 1965 Cranbrook. “Gaydar” hadn’t been invented yet. Students at Cranbrook would have more plausibly been hazing jocks — if jocks had had any chance to go there to be hazed.

    So what would account for hair cutting of a kid in 1965 northern suburban Detroit? Well, suburban Detroit was de facto segregated in 1965; blacks did not live north of 8 mile road except in the already deteriorating inner city of Pontiac. Suburban Detroit was largely white union territory, and the same unions that built automobiles there had also been building military tanks in the same area since World War II.

    In 1965, a DEMOCRATIC administration strongly supported by auto workers and the bulk of the American public had just deployed US combat units to Viet Nam and started an Indo-China bombing campaign. The peace movement, such as it was, was largely symbolized by the “long-haired hippies”. Mitt’s own father had not yet made his political career-destroying statement that he’d been brainwashed over the Gulf of Tonkin war resolution.

    So, if you tell me that Mitt Romney was cruel to a student he perceived as somehow anti-American, that might at least be plausible. And it would explain why he might have come later to a more measured position as his own father took a different view of the peace movement.

    But to connect that event retroactively to some sort of GAY BIGOTRY is as silly as trying to connect Ann Romney to some sort of “war on women”. In fact, Mitt probably committed no more serious a breach of ethics with the haircut than Obama admitted to in his own autobiography, where he told of reducing a girl classmate to tears of humiliation because his classmates were teasing him for having a girlfriend. The latter incident would be a better example of a war on women, wouldn’t it?

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  9. Jon on May 19, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    I don’t know about the past, but I know that for the present he wants to bully other countries to do what he thinks is best for them. Do I need to know anything else?

    I know in Massachusetts he voted in legislation that bullies people to buy health care insurance. Do I need to know anything else?

    Controversial! What do you think? Thumb up 0

  10. hawkgrrrl on May 19, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    FT – thanks for that helpful context. Most of the articles on the incident considered his motives from a modern context, to your point inaccurately.

    Jon – I don’t have a problem with mandates for health insurance in Massachussetts where they had a huge problem with “free riders”: mostly young single professional men who could afford health insurance but felt healthy and assumed they wouldn’t get sick. When they are in an accident or get cancer, care givers are still obligated to treat them. If they have no insurance, who foots the bill? The rest of us. That was a specific problem Mitt was solving in his state. Not all states have the same issues. For Mass mandates increased fairness.

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  11. Jon on May 19, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    “More fairness” would mean that no body would be forced to foot the bill for anyone, that is fairness, anything else is bullying. I cry out again, how do we expect individuals not to be bullies when we allow the so called “collective” to be bullies?

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  12. Marjorie Conder on May 19, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    The child in the story Bonnie referenced grew up to be Pres. Hinckley. He told the story himself. And he apparently never did such a thing again.

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  13. Bonnie on May 19, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    I thought so, Marjorie, but I can’t find it anywhere. Do you have the reference?

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  14. Mike S on May 19, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    - Love the graphic.

    - Don’t think the incident had anything to do with homosexuality.

    - Kids do really dumb things. I’m glad that not everything I did as a kid has been dragged up to haunt me now.

    - Mitt’s answer or non-answer is par for the course – for him or really any other politician who actually hopes to get elected. The problem with 99% of these things is that actually addressing it with an answer, no matter what the answer is, will generally get twisted around. They become very good at talking yet not actually saying anything. If they don’t they don’t get this far.

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  15. Stephen M (Ethesis) on May 20, 2012 at 7:22 AM

    “The problem with 99% of these things is that” what really happened is greatly shaded by who remembers it. So that you have dramatically different renditions of stories, motivations, actions and related issues.

    To be accused of something like that, when you do not have a firm memory, and when what others are saying varies starkly, puts one in a difficult situation.

    Heck, I recently had someone, who was morally certain they were right, accuse me of being untruthful about not getting documents on October 18.

    The problem? The documents were dated October 20 for the one set, and the next year for the other set. No one gave me documents that did not yet exist on the day the person says they did.

    Where they lying? No. Confused with a bad memory echo? Yes.

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  16. Glass Ceiling on May 20, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    Who cares? It’s politics.


    Romney’s socialized medicine in Massachusetts was also an attempt at states’s rights.

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  17. Jon on May 20, 2012 at 10:18 PM

    In 11 I should have said:

    Just because everyone is bullied equally doesn’t stop it from being bullying.

    If someone that is poor steals my lunch money at fist point so he can eat doesn’t change the fact that he stole my lunch money. If he does this to everyone and gives it to his friends so they can eat doesn’t change the fact that he is stealing from everyone. If he would have asked nicely I would have shared my lunch, but since he didn’t I’ll begrudge the crime and cry foul.

    I can see that there are at least 5 people who are in favor of bullying. According to comment 9. Oh the duplicity in people’s minds.

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  18. Jon on May 20, 2012 at 10:22 PM


    I care more about what he would do at a national level, if he were to come to AZ, I would then care what he would do in AZ. Although I sympathize with the people in Massachusetts.

    I would prefer state’s rights rebellions that bring more liberty and freedom to the people, like the states that fought against national law and created safe havens for the slaves, or California that allows medical mj (of course it would be nice for them to legalize all drugs medical or not).

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  19. Jon on May 20, 2012 at 10:24 PM


    So the solution is to take away more freedom and liberty? Why not say the state won’t pay for them with the ill gotten funds and that they will need to take it upon themselves to take care of themselves (i.e., liberty).

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  20. Rigel Hawthorne on May 21, 2012 at 12:52 AM

    I find interesting the critiques of his responses to the incident and how they might be interpreted. Someone on another blog suggested that his advisors did not do an adequate job of vetting his response. So, if his answer is a product of vetting, what was the goal? Does denying memory of the event minimize political fallout? I suppose this would be the prime objective of the advisors. Could his denied memory of the event be interpreted as “I don’t remember it (as it was described)?” This would avoid pitting his memory of the actual events against those who have described it according to their memory. Why do this? Protecting those who are describing the events for some reason, protecting others who are not currently named, declining the invitation to rehash all high school era regrettable incidents as they are not relevant to who he became and who is is?

    Some have taken offense to his apology to any ‘if’ they were offended. It does seem to imply a decreased level of sincerity for the incident at hand. On the other hand, more private and personal communications that may have taken place should remain that way.

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  21. Douglas on May 21, 2012 at 1:00 AM

    If bringing up Mitt’s boyhood stupidities is the best that the liberals and Obama can do, the alderman from Chicago is going to join the ranks of the unemployed on 21 Jan 2013. Good friggin’ riddance.

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  22. hawkgrrrl on May 21, 2012 at 8:41 AM

    “Why not say the state won’t pay for them with the ill gotten funds and that they will need to take it upon themselves to take care of themselves (i.e., liberty).” Mike S might be better equipped to answer than I am, but I believe it violates the hippocratic oath. In my field, I’m not obligated to provide service to those who don’t pay, but doctors don’t turn away the sick and dying.

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  23. Jon on May 21, 2012 at 8:57 AM


    It’s due to the laws that legislators (i.e., bullies) create, it is not because of their “oath.” I’ve read enough to know that. Maybe some would still take anybody and everybody, but that would be their choice, i.e., charity.

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  24. FireTag on May 21, 2012 at 10:50 AM


    I think the large number of dislikes you’re getting on #9 is in regard to your ‘tude. You seem to be the bully people are opposing, rather than people being in favor of bullying.

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  25. Jon on May 21, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    Well, unless people that marked -1 on mine I’m safe to assume that it is because people are bullies and like to bully people that don’t like be forced at gunpoint to give up their monies.

    When I read it I don’t see any problem with my attitude. I would need a clearer reason why the attitude is wrong and a more reasonable way to state the same thing in a better manner. FireTag, could you rewrite it for me so I can know in the future how to better write comments? Just saying that it is my attitude doesn’t give me much to go by.

    To me it appears some of the answers to the OP have the same type of attitude, are we to give the OP a -1?

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  26. Will on May 21, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    Alice, Howard, etal…

    The only thing that is deeply, deeply disturbing about this story is the fact the new media does a 5,000 word article on a false allegation about Mitt Romney. The family of the alleged victim publically stated “portrayal of John is factually incorrect and we are aggrieved that he would be used to further a political agenda’ That was from the victim’s family. Alice, Howard and other’s:, why would Romney apologize for something that did not happen the way it was portrayed by the clearly bias media?

    On the other hand, Obama brags in his book about using cocaine and other hard drugs; bullying a girl while in high school; smoking marijuana on a consistent basis; skipping school and a whole host of other criminal activity and no one in the main stream media reports or discusses the story.

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  27. Will on May 21, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Sorry Howard, that should be Tristin…

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  28. Douglas on May 21, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    #26 – Oh Will, you expected OBJECTIVITY from the “mainstream” (re: ultra-liberal) media?
    Expect that by Labor Day Mitt will be portrayed by his political opponents as a mysoginistic, sexist, bigoted flaming Nazi homophone..and that will be considered his better attributes.
    To be fair, there are those that pick on Barrack HUSSEIN Obama as if his Muslim heritage somehow automatically makes him anti-American, which is grossly unfair. His policies may indeed ill serve the greater American interest, but it’s not because of any genetic disposition to inwardly cry out “Allah Ackbar” and do all to bring down the “Great Satan”. BHO’s form of liberal idiocy he managed fair and square in the marketplace of ideas. Just as fair and squares he ought to be rendered a one-term President. I won’t even begrudge his considerable pension, expense account, and Secret Service protection for life.

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  29. Jon on May 22, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    OK, I’ll conclude that it wasn’t the way I said it that makes everyone upset since no one is willing to help me learn to say it better. I’ll assume that the real reason is that people are afraid of the elephant in the room and recognize the real bullies.

    And the people shall be oppressed,

    every one by another,
    and every one by his neighbor;

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