Here’s the key sentence in Jason Horowitz’s meticulously reported story of Mitt Romney’s sadistic assault on John Lauber, a younger, apparently closeted gay student at the prestigious private Cranbrook School when he was a teen:
“As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.” As one former classmate described Romney’s leadership of the incident, it was “like Lord of the Flies.”
Which, Romney said Thursday, he doesn’t remember — after the story had been recalled and recounted by about half a dozen of his former schoolmates. But if it happened he’s real sorry it did. And anyway he had no idea Lauber was gay.
As Joan Walsh points out at Salon, it’s hard to say what’s worse: On one hand, Romney is almost certainly lying about not remembering his vicious bullying (which he recast as a “prank”), which is bad enough. But if he really can’t remember such an act of cruelty, what does that say about him as a human being?
In other words, Romney’s cavalier reaction to the story means the Cranbrook Assault cannot be dismissed as youthful indiscretion because as an adult, as a former businessman and governor, as a father and husband, he has now made it a measure of his character.
Just about everyone, of course, did things as a child or youth that they regret. But fully formed adults have the ability to admit they did bad things, learned from them, grew and changed their ways. Voters generally are quick to set aside genuine youthful misbehavior, sometimes really bad stuff, like having been in a gang, or breaking the law, or whatever.
What voters can’t forgive is a phony, a fraud and a liar.
Lies upon lies: Aside from the Lauber matter, and Romney’s phantasmagorical claim to have invented the internet auto-bailout, Mitt’s greatest contribution to the death of truth this week was his vow to plot “a new course” for the anemic economy.
“I propose an entirely different course, a new course, unlike anything of our past,” Romney modestly declaimed in a little-noted speech in Michigan, going on to attack Barack Obama’s as “a throwback to the discredited policies of the past.”
The plain fact is that Romney has proposed exactly nothing to spur the economy that represents a substantive change from the same old, same old George W. Bush policies, which helped bring on the recession in the first place.
While several of his Mitt’s economic advisers have previously proposed right wing heresy notions like a carbon tax and looser monetary policy, the great man himself has refused to embrace them, content to cling to a platform of warmed-over supply side platitudes that caters to the 1% and is indistinguishable from the Bush agenda, as noted by Washpost whiz kid Ezra Klein:
The Bush economy is one of the worst on record. Median wages dropped. Poverty worsened. Inequality increased. Surpluses turned into deficits. Monthly job growth was weaker than it had been in any expansion since 1954. Economic growth was sluggish. And that’s before you count the financial crisis that unfurled on his watch.
Proposing to extend and expand the Bush tax cuts, Romney wants to repeal post Wall Street-meltdown financial regulations and double down on the kinds of fiscal austerity measures that have been oh-so-successful in Europe, among other great thoughts:
Reading Romney’s policies, you would never know that the nation is still facing high unemployment rates or that it just came through the worst financial crisis in a generation. You certainly wouldn’t think we’d just emerged from a decade in which large tax cuts and financial deregulation led to major economic distress…
There’s nothing in his campaign platform that couldn’t have been in Bush’s platform. In fact, most of it was.
Weed whacker alert: None of this would matter much, of course, if their Bush-Romney-Laffer tax-cut, anti-regulatory economic fantasy actually, you know, worked.
Sadly, a just-out analysis and review of the latest research on its effects – Actual Facts! – shows that it decidedly does not: by any measure – growth, jobs, small business, entrepreneurship, savings, investment, taxable income, revenue, for starters – the trickle-down crowd’s tried-and-untrue ideology is counter-productive, according to the report by Chye-Ching Huang at the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities (pdf link available here).
The evidence does not support the claim that raising top marginal income tax rates has a heavy impact on small business owners: a recent Treasury analysis finds that only 2.5 percent of small business owners fall into the top two income tax brackets and that these owners receive less than one-third of small business income. Moreover, even those small business owners who would be affected by tax increases on high-income households are unlikely to respond by reducing hiring or new investment…
History shows that higher taxes are compatible with economic growth and job creation: job creation and GDP growth were significantly stronger following the Clinton tax increases than following the Bush tax cuts. Further, the Congressional Budget office (CBO) concludes that letting the Bush-era tax cuts expire on schedule would strengthen long-term economic growth, on balance, if policymakers used the revenue saved to reduce deficits. In other words, any negative impact on economic growth from increasing taxes on high-income people would be more than offset by the positive effects of using the resulting revenue gain to reduce the budget deficit. Tax increases can also be used to fund, or to forestall cuts in, productive public investments in areas that support growth such as public education, basic research, and infrastructure.
Oh, and one more thing: As a political matter, the worst news of all for Romney is that his fool-all-the-people-all-the-time strategy of blaming Obama’s policies for shackling private enterprise, obstructing economic recovery and not curing cancer is going to be a very tough sell, according to some recent trustworthy polling on the matter:
A majority of Americans believe that former President George W. Bush is more responsible than President Obama for the current economic problems in the country, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Fifty-four percent of respondents said that Bush was more to blame while 29 percent put the blame on Obama; 9 percent said both men deserved blame while 6 percent said neither did. Among registered voters, the numbers are almost identical; 54 percent blame Bush, while 30 percent blame Obama.
Independents, widely considered the most critical voting bloc this fall, continue to blame Bush far more than Obama for the economic troubles. Fifty-seven percent of unaffiliated voters put the blame on the former Republican president, while 25 percent believe the blame rests more with Obama.
Heck, even one in five Republicans say Bush is more responsible than Obama for the state of the economy!
An entirely different course, indeed.
POTUS comes out of the closet. Key points on Obama’s shift on gay marriage: 1) anyone who votes against him because of this issue was already against him; 2) it energizes the GOP evangelical base reason for Romney, particularly in the battlegrounds of Virginia and North Carolina; 3) it energizes Obama’s base, particularly the large fraction of his fundraisers and bundlers who happen to be gay: 4) it heads off a looming, messy fight at the Democratic convention. 5) Joe Biden, great American. Bottom line, from Palm Springs Bureau Chief Hank Plante: “A net gain for Obama.”
Press Clips: Top 10 Must Reads of the week:
-Proving the conservative case about political correctness on campus.
-Mittens was bullying gays before it was fashionable.
-Onerous, job killing regulations come to Texas.
-Latest look at electoral map.
-Too little too late: light bulb finally goes on for Dick Lugar.
-Mega-kudos to old pal Bettina Inclan for letting the truth slip out, however inadvertently.
-Why the right really, really hates Obama (warning: do not read and operate heavy machinery).
-Terrific takedown of the repulsive David Brooks.
-Bristol Palin, Isaac Newton, apples and trees. Discuss.
-The people united will never be defeated.
ICYMI: Jimmy Fallon takes on Tanning Mom.