As Lowell detailed with in his book Netroots Rising with Nate Wilcox, George Allen’s macaca moment wasn’t just about one use of a bullying racial slur – it fit a pattern of mean-spirited, racially questionable behavior by Allen. The polls didn’t move right away, but kept moving steadily as Allen’s bungled, ever-changing attempts at explanation prompted voters to ask themselves again and again, “Do we really know George Allen?”
High school for a 65-year-old is a long time ago. I’m 43 and it seems like a long time ago. I was a different person in many ways. What strikes me most about this story is Romney’s intense equivocation. First he didn’t remember the incidents. Then he apologized to anyone who was offended but without saying he remembered anything specific. Then he said that he definitely didn’t know or think the kid they attacked was gay, even though he apparently didn’t remember the attack.
None of that really adds up. And I think this is long enough ago that if Romney just came clean and said it was almost 50 years ago and he regrets it that would be sufficient for most people.
If Romney had immediately copped to the episode & apologized, it could’ve been a chance to show newfound compassion & personal growth. Instead, after getting testy again just yesterday and with his clueless campaign directing reporters to former classmates who actually confirm the bullying, Romney’s prickly flim-flamming non-apologies are reinforcing everyone’s worst impressions of him – a dishonest, untrustworthy jerk.
UPDATE by Lowell: TPM reports that “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.” So, how has this guy changed since high school, exactly?