Friday, May 11, 2012

Fuzzy memory

Why do Mitt Romney's handlers believe that having Mitt deny that he remembers incidents of bullying  (in particular, we are talking about an incident at Cranbrook School in 1965 in which Romney led a gang of his asshole friends in an assault on a classmate in which Romney held the boy down and cut his hair) make the situation better for Romney or somehow absolve Mittens of guilt or responsibility? (Well, guilt. Cranbrook School absolved Romney of responsibility in 1965.)

I suppose claiming not to remember allows for a tiny possibility that the event never happened, even though Romney didn't deny that it did and has, finally, apologized for it. But anyone who follows politics, reads the news or has a brain realizes there's a difference between claiming not to remember  an event and denying that it took place.

Don't you find it strange that Romney would apologize for an incident that he claims not to remember? If someone accused you of assaulting another person and you didn't remember doing so, wouldn't you first deny the accusation and apologize only after it had been confirmed that you actually did commit the assault? (And then address whatever is wrong with you that you have no memory of such an incident?)

That seems to be the normal course of action that a normal person would normally take. Unless the person was drunk at the time of the incident. Then there's at least some explanation for why the person cannot recall the incident. But the last thing candidate Romney needs is another thing in common with George W. Bush.

Speaking of explanations, why doesn't Romney remember assaulting a classmate? As BooMan points out, none of the other people who witnessed and/or participated in the bullying have any trouble remembering the incident. Is it that such callous, chickenshit acts of bullying were so routine for Romney that this particular one doesn't stand out in his memory? Or is it that Romney was so unmoved by the incident that it failed to make a lasting impression on him? Or is it that Romney has done so many dickish things in the past that, even though he claims to have no recollection of this event whatsoever, it's entirely possible that this happened exactly as five witnesses recall? BooMan's right: whatever the answer, it points to a serious character flaw in Mittens.

All of this is pretty much academic, however, because everyone knows Mittens probably does remember leading a group of his douchebag prep-school friends to attack a weaker, outnumbered and basically defenseless classmate because the boy's haircut was an affront to Romney, and that Romney's claim of a convenient memory lapse is just bullshit political damage control. But as I see it, saying you don't remember a bullying incident just makes things worse. Imagine how refreshing the truth -- an honest admission of guilt and a sincere apology -- would have been, especially from a candidate struggling to appear human.

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