President Obama: It Gets Better
Uploaded by the White House in Oct/2010, it’s good to rewatch this video, and compare President Obama’s stance, even before he came out in favour of legalizing equal marriage.
Compare, and contrast, to the actions of Mitt Romney:
…[A] soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it.
“He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann
…A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.
…[A] closeted gay student at the time, recalled that his efforts to speak out in class were punctuated with Romney shouting, “Atta girl!”
English teacher, Carl G. Wonnberger, nicknamed “the Bat” for his diminished eyesight…Romney opened a first set of doors for Wonnberger, but then at the next set, with other students around, he swept his hand forward, bidding the teacher into a closed door. Wonnberger walked right into it and Getsinger said Romney giggled hysterically as the teacher shrugged it off as another of life’s indignities.
“Tacky, obnoxious, rude, mean-spirited and downright small”: that’s how I described Romney on April 20th, after his nasty dig, known now as “Cookie-Gate“. And now, apparently, he’s a bully as well. A mean, vicious bigot. Not only that, a leader of bigots and someone that will perform this viciousness for the delight of others. I can’t say it surprises me at all that this story about Romney’s youth should come out.
Sure, it was 48 years ago – he laughs. Lots of us have likely done stupid things as young people. But it says something about our character, especially when one of those things involves a vicious attack on a weaker person. That he denies it, plays it down, and LAUGHS, actually laughs about it? That is a serious sign of a defective character. It’s not the only time he’s done it either. Strapping his dog to the roof of his car was callous enough – and also illegal in the state in which he did it – but then he laughed about that too, despite the fact that the dog was clearly so terrified that it literally shit itself with fear. These kinds of things are apparently a source of great hilarity not only for Romney, but for the family, and when you consider how often his wife Ann Romney gets used as a human shield, I think it’s important to remember that she apparently thinks it’s funny too. Maybe it’s harsh to judge her, maybe it’s not fair, but if anyone knows what sort of person Romney is, she’d have to have an inkling. Then again, in front of a private audience, Ann did mention what she considered a gift and showed that she can be manipulative and possibly as vicious as her husband.
All in all, what sort of people are these? And what do they have in store for the American people should they gain power? Despite all of Romney’s lies and obfuscations, despite the etch-a-sketch moments as they’re called, it’s been made pretty clear what he would do once in power. He hasn’t gone beyond the vicious bullying of those he considers smaller than, lesser than, himself, and that’s telling.
A bully with that kind of power – and that kind of audience – just isn’t acceptable.
• Is It Possible Not to Remember?: So what about Romney? If he really doesn’t remember the event it says something deeply troubling about him. It would mean that he committed this act against his classmate without feeling very much about it one way or the other and without reflecting on his actions later in life. Maybe this was just another day at Cranbrook for him. I would find that deeply disturbing because that is consistent with the behavior of a sociopath.
I’m not a doctor, and I am in position to “diagnose” Romney, but this is not the only troubling incident that gives me pause to really wonder about his character. Obviously, the infamous Seamus the dog story also suggests a person who lacks the normal empathetic emotional responses as well. And it doesn’t end there either, there are lots of little things that have popped up over the years (comments, testy responses, etc.) that strongly suggest he has little of the normal ability to empathize with others. His ability to make decisions in an affectless kind of way has even been touted as one of his strengths by his supporters (remember the Seamus story was not the result of oppo research, but was initially offered to the Boston Globe as an example of Romney’s ability to respond cooly under pressure). I suspect this isn’t that last we’ve heard about this. [talkingpointsmemo/Josh Marshall/TPM Reader WB/10 May 2012]
• Obama vs. Romney: How the Game is Played: So bad was Romney, in fact, that classmates have claimed that Romney’s behavior was “evil” and like “Lord of the Flies.”…Back when President Obama was a young man, trying to figure out who he was and writing pensive letters to his girlfriend about T.S. Eliot and other philosophical shit, Romney was picking on and assaulting gay people. [rawstory/ABL/10 May 2012]
• Mitt Romney, High School Bully: [T]he world famous “If anybody was hurt or offended, I apologize.” These responses today are almost as disturbing to me in the man who wishes to be our President, as the actions of the teenaged Mitt Romney were back before I was born. Those actions are of a piece with other things in his life that we know about, and that is concerning. What I find most disturbing about all of this is his apparent lack of any sense of responsibility to others or to even himself as a Christian to acknowledge his role and his place in the world and how he deals with and affects other people. That his attitude about this incident is roughly the same as his attitude about the workers of the various companies he destroyed during his tenure at Bain Capital, and is similar to his attitude towards anyone he deals with—”I like being able to fire the people who work for me”—are indicators to me of a deeply morally flawed human being, and certainly one not fit to lead a great nation. [balloon-juice/Soonergrunt/10 May 2012]
• Mitt Romney’s Non-Apology Apology: …Romney campaign told Horowitz the candidate couldn’t recall any such incident. Now Romney has reversed course and issued an apology: “Back in high school I did some dumb things and if anybody was hurt by that or offended by that I apologize,” he told reporters. “I certainly don’t believe that I thought the fellow was homosexual. That was the furthest thing from our minds back in the 1960s.”Did I say “apology”? I meant “total dodge that absolves him of any responsibility for what happened, and any genuine regret”—what CNN political analyst William Schneider once coined the ”past exonerative.” By inserting “if,” Romney leaves open the possibility that, in fact, no one was hurt or offended by the assault. Maybe the tears were tears of joy? It’s also curious that Romney, who purportedly didn’t remember the incident, now remembers the incident so well he’s able to refute the accounts of his classmates, who explicitly noted that the Lauber’s perceived homosexuality had made him a target. As Conn Carroll of the conservative Washington Examiner puts it, “Romney bullying apology [is] unacceptable. It is non-responsive. Only guarantees more questioning. Does he remember incident or not?” It’s not an apology if you never really say you’re sorry. [motherjones/Tim Murphy/10 May 2012]
• Romney Friend Stu White Says Campaign Wants Him to Counter Prank Accusations: One former classmate and old friend of Romney’s – who refused to be identified by name – said there are “a lot of guys” who went to Cranbrook who have “really negative memories” of Romney’s behavior in the dorms, behavior this classmate describes as “like Lord of the Flies.” The classmate believes Romney is lying when he claims to not remember it. [ABC/Emily Friedman, Steven Portnoy/10 May 2012]
• More high school classmates of Mitt Romney have come forward in the wake of a blockbuster Washington Post story on his bullying of a presumed gay classmate, with one telling ABC News that Romney engaged in “bullying supreme”, and saying that he witnessed one event that could be considered “assault and battery.” He described Romney and his friends as a “pack of dogs” who targeted other victims.
It goes beyond one man. It’s a mindset:
• Romney Battled LGBT Anti-Bully Commission As Governor: Mitt Romney clashed with a state commission tasked with helping LGBT youth at risk for bullying and suicide throughout his term as Massachusetts governor over funding and its participation in a pride parade. He eventually abolished the group altogether. [talkingpointsmemo/Benjy Sarlin/10 May 2012]
• Republicans Limit Gay And Lesbian Rights In Defense Bill: Hours after President Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage, Republicans in the House took two steps back for gays and lesbians and approved two measures limiting their rights. The amendments, passed in the House Armed Services Committee, would “protects religious freedom of military chaplains and the conscience and moral principals of service members who are opposed to homosexuality” and prohibit same-sex marriages or a “marriage-like ceremony” that involves a same-sex couples “from being held at any military installation or on any property owned, rented or under the control of the Defense Department.” The measures are now part of the House’s $642 billion National Defense Authorization Act. Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), a sponsor of so-called “conscience” measure — which may turn into a “licence to bully” gay and lesbian servicemembers — claimed, “The president has repealed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ and is using the military as props to promote his gay agenda.” Akin is running for Senate in Missouri. [thinkprogress/Igor Volsky/10 May 2012]
• Top Romney Adviser: We’ll Campaign on Constitutional Marriage Ban: Ed Gillespie, senior adviser to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, told Chuck Todd on MSNBC’s Daily Rundown that the campaign would make President Obama’s support for marriage equality an issue this November and that Romney will actively push for a constitutional amendment to take away the right of states to voluntarily extend marriage equality to same-sex couples. [nationofchange/Josh Israel/10 May 2012]
• House Responds to Obama Marriage Equality Statement by Moving to Reinforce Homophobic DOMA: It seems like LGBTQ rights advancements in the U.S. always have an element of “one step forward, two steps back,” and yesterday’s developments appear to have been no exception. No sooner had Obama’s pro-marriage equality hit the airwaves than the Republican-controlled House was making moves to reinforce the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). [AlterNet/Lauren Kelley/10 May 2012]
• Colorado Republican Leadership Kills Civil Unions And 30 Other Bills With Epic Obstruction And Dishonesty: Civil unions are dead for this year in Colorado and Republican obstruction is to blame after an unprecedented night of antics on the House floor. The civil unions bill passed out of its final committee yesterday evening and needed to reach a floor vote by midnight. Republicans instead chose to intentionally run out the clock with hour-long debates on noncontroversial legislation about historic license plates and trans-fats in school lunchrooms, with Rep. David Balmer (R) filibustering, “Not a one of you has the courage to vote against chocolate!” …There is no way to spin the absurd obstruction that took place last night. Despite ample support for civil unions from Republicans, it was the Republican House leadership that sacrificed 30 other bills to prevent same-sex couples from obtaining legal rights. It’s an historically sad day for Colorado politics. [thinkprogress/Zack Ford/09 May 2012]
• How much of an idiot do his followers have to be to accept anything that he has to say about marriage? For a guy who has burned through three marriages and is on his fourth, maybe he ought to be more concerned about his own war on traditional marriage.
• MOAR MISOGYNIST JACKASSERY: Rush Limbaugh isn’t sorry about his Fluke rant. He’s simply sorry that it has caused him so much trouble.
• Hey Fox, What About This “War on Marriage?” Divorce Rates Are Highest Among Evangelicals: Fox News is loudly proclaiming that President Obama has declared War on Traditional Marriage!. Really Fox? Then why were divorce rates among Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christians the highest in the country since before someone even imagined that Gays and Lesbians should be allowed the same right to marry as other people? Those statistics came, by the way from a Evangelical Christian research institute, the Barna Group, in the year 2000 [Booman Tribune/Steven D/10 May 2012]
• Did you notice that each of these things that Mitt got testy about are issues important to young people?
• “I certainly think that bipartisanship ought to consist of Democrats coming to the Republican point of view.“—Indiana’s new Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock.
• President Obama warned congressional Republicans that he would veto a proposed bill that would partially replace upcoming automatic budget cuts and protect military spending at the expense of food stamps, social services block grants to states and the Medicaid health care system for the poor.
• Rand Paul Backs Gun Campaign Featuring Image Of Rifle Pointing At Obama’s Head:
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Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is lending his name and political clout to a gun group’s email campaign that features an image of a rifle pointed at the head of President Barack Obama. …On Thursday, Ladd Everitt, director of communications for The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, told Raw Story he found the image troubling. “Death threats against this president are up 400 percent as compared to President Bush,” Everitt said. “We are living today in a supercharged, partisan political climate where threats of violence and violent rhetoric are everywhere, and you would think that anyone — anyone, no matter what their political views or disagreements with this president — would have the common sense and decency to not create a banner image for a conspiracy theory-fueled email that shows a gun pointing directly at [the president's] head, while simultaneously preaching to folks about some ridiculous Obama gun ban that exists only in a fantasy world.” [huffingtonpost/Nick Wing/10 May 2012]
• GOP Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock Touts Anti-Woman Judge Robert Bork As Model Nominee
• Meet the Extremist that Took Out Richard Lugar: Richard Mourdock
Elsewhere in US Political News:
• It’s been a BFD week for Joe Biden, who helped make yesterday’s historic announcement possible when he “got out a little bit over his skis” on marriage equality, as Obama said this morning. And last night, the vice president appeared on “Jeopardy!” where he delivered clues about classic American cars.
• President Obama said he is not upset at Vice President Biden for saying, a bit prematurely, that he was “comfortable” with same-sex marriages because Obama had already decided to back marriage equality. “I had already made a decision that we were going to take this position before the election and before the convention,” Obama said in his interview with ABC News that aired this morning.
• Can you imagine if Obama had dual citizenship? Can you imagine if he had kept it quiet for some 30 years?
• She’s One of Us Again!: Bachmann renounces her Swiss citizenship. In all seriousness, I find it stunning that someone could have run for president only months ago and did not disclose this or think it would be a problem. [talkingpointsmemo/Josh Marshall/10 May 2012]
• Gas prices continued their steady decline this week, falling roughly 20 cents in recent weeks to $3.76 nationally. Despite the blame they heaped on Obama when gas prices were rising, none of have credited the president for falling prices, and some have even continued the attack.
Military Industrial Complex:
America’s top military officer condemned in the strongest possible terms a Defense Department course that taught troops to prep for a “total war” on Islam using “Hiroshima”-style tactics. “It was totally objectionable, against our values and it wasn’t academically sound,” Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at a Pentagon press conference on Thursday. The instructor responsible for the course, Army Lt. Col. Matthew A. Dooley, is “no longer in a teaching status,” Dempsey added — but he is still employed at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va. [WiredDangerRoom/Spencer Ackerman/10 May 2012]
• Residents startled by Army drill: MIAMI, May 9 (UPI) — A U.S. Army spokesman said the sounds of helicopters and explosions coming from a Miami hotel were part of an urban training exercise. Residents of the Coconut Grove neighborhood reported being awakened by the sound of helicopters around 1:45 a.m. Tuesday and seeing soldiers rappelling down from the vehicles to the Grand Bay Hotel, where they set off flares and smoke bombs, The Miami Herald reported Wednesday. Maj. Michael Burns, a U.S. Army spokesman, said the “realistic urban training” exercise was organized by the U.S. Special Operations Command and involved about 100 military personnel, three military helicopters and simulated gunfire and explosions. “They have to train in a realistic environment,” Burns said. “We didn’t use any real bullets.” Burns said Miami police helped oversee the exercise to ensure the safety of the public. [upi/9 May 2012]
• Radiation scenario part of test incident at local post: FORT CAMPBELL, KY. — Fort Campbell first-responders and security officials, as well as off-post agencies from Montgomery County and Hopkinsville, were tested on Thursday with a scenario involving a radioactive “dirty bomb” incident. [The Leaf-Chronicle/Philip Grey/10 May 2012]