Ok, everyone in the country knows about yesterday's Washington Post story about Mitt Romney's pranks during prep school. We won't get into much details here about it, only to say that it was wrong (really wrong), but it was also happened 47 years ago. Of course, the charges of liberal media bashing have begun and more conservative outlets are trying to punch holes in the story. Classic media tactics, depending on what said you want to believe, you will believe it.
In the meantime, we would like to focus on Romney's reaction to all this. The damage control, to say the least, has been awful. Why is no one telling Romney that he should be pissed about this? Why doesn't Romney be a little more sincere about the story? Why is he allowing the story to be bigger than him? Talk about bungling through this. The following video from FOX (taken from Crooks and Liars) gives you the context of Romney's response:
And here is what he said:
ROMNEY: First of all, I had no idea what that individual’s sexual orientation might be. Going back to the 1960′s, that wasn’t something we all discussed or considered. So that’s simply just not accurate. I don’t recall the incident myself but I’ve seen the reports and not going argue with that. There’s no question that I did some stupid things when I was in high school and, obviously, if I hurt anyone by virtue of that I would be very sorry for it and apologize for it.
Romney's spin is pure campaign handling. He dishes it out as well as many other politician, but leaves his answer so non-committal, you are left to wonder. First, he has no idea about the individual he allegedly bullied (and it was bullying), blames it on the ignorance of the 1960s (or is it the insular world of an elite prep school in Michigan). He admits that he doesn't recall the incident himself, but then does not deny the actual reports. Then offers an apology in a vague "if" statement. So, basically, Romney is not denying the story but he is not taking responsibility for the story. Like our abuelo would say, ¿dónde están sus cojones, Gobernandor?
Look, Romney has issues and so does Obama. Political campaigns of this magnitude will be ugly, and this is all a game. Why did Romney not go ahead and be more forceful about this? Don't you think that if he did, he would have at least earned a bit more respect? Instead, Romney is following the same mistakes as fellow Massachusetts presidential candidates Mike Dukakis and John Kerry. Both of them were slammed by Republican tactics, and both of them were cautious and non-committal in their reactions, and as a result, they came out wishy-washy and weak. You might not agree with Romney's politics, but we would venture to say that more Americans, especially those in the middle, would actually respect someone who used a little more authenticity and passion to defend himself or herself.
Only goes to prove again that all these major political candidates are being handled and are not allowed to say what they really want to say because they are afraid of upsetting their base. But by not taking a real stand when personal accusations about someone's character are made, candidates wind up looking goofy and unlikable.
Nevertheless, Romney's response was lame, sounding more like boilerplate scripted by the campaign team than a heartfelt expression. Note to anyone in a similar situation: sincere regret is not expressed in the subjunctive.
And you wonder why Romney is still seen as out of touch?