Drinking at a party at 17 is about behavior; pulling wings off flies is about character. Joy-riding in your parents’ car at 16 is about behavior; stealing a neighbor’s car and robbing a gas station in it is about character. Accidentally breaking someone’s window with a baseball is about behavior; sneaking in a house and setting fire to it is about character. Trying to get your hot girlfriend to make out with you in the backseat is about behavior; holding her down and shoving your tongue down her throat, while she struggles, is about character.
Smoking pot as a teenager is about behavior; holding down a weaker classmate and cutting his hair off in clumps because you just don’t think a self-respecting boy should have dyed hair is about character. Bad character.
Is the picture becoming clearer?
The right-wingers (in the form of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity’s panel, to name a couple) are launching best defense/good offense, quickly raking the coals of President Obama’s past, with both Hannity and Michelle Malkin’s website, Twitchy, finally coming up with an incident the President wrote about in his book, when he admitted that, at ten, he pushed a little girl (not mentioning, of course, that he felt badly about it afterward). The scoffing and mocking and denying are out there full bore from conservatives – after all, they say, it was 48 years ago and what does it matter now? (I’m not sure conservatives want to start flailing around on that slippery slope – after all, the passage of time hasn’t stopped conservatives from lobbing judgments on President Obama for rubbing shoulders with Bill Ayers way back when, or for his “radical” thoughts while at Harvard.)
I don’t care if Mitt Romney’s bullying incident happened a hundred years ago: This guy assaulted another student, didn’t give it a passing thought, apparently, until now (when his memory has most certainly been jogged), chuckled when asked about it, and issued a tepid apology for the “dumb” stuff he did as a kid.
But man, has the conservative punditry ever been busy. Breaking news . . . President Obama smoked weed as a younger man! President Obama, at ten, pushed a little girl! As deep as the right-wingers – desperate to salvage Romney’s reputation – dig, there are no gems for them in Obama’s past, like assaults on weaker kids, slamming the door in the face of a nearly blind professor and laughing about it, the mocking of gay kids when they talked in class.
I’ve never seen such rampant hypocrisy in my life – and such gang-banging sociopathy as the right exhibits on a daily basis, but particularly on this issue. Instead of tut-tutting about Romney’s cruelty in prep school, they rush to defend him and malign President Obama. Instead of admitting that an attack such as Romney launched on his classmate is a character flaw that should be evaluated in a presidential candidate, they circle the wagons and excuse him on the basis that it was 48 years ago – as if character, unlike behavior, doesn’t stay fairly true to form over the course of one’s adult lifetime. Five of the six kids involved in holding this young man down so Romney could whack off his blond locks with scissors feel badly about it to this day. Only Romney doesn’t remember.
The Thirteenth Article of the Mormon faith says, in part, “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men . . . .”
Turns out, Romney even sucked at being a good Mormon.