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Beowulf responds to WaPo hit piece on Romney’s youthful indiscretions

When, in the greatest poem written between the publication of Virgil’s Aeneid and Dante’s Divine Comedy, the wormy Unferth reminds Beowulf of his youthful braggadocio, the eponymous hero questions his accuser’s sobriety, noting that he an his friend Breca made those errors of judgment, “being but boys in our time of youth” (my translation).

Playing Unferth’s part, the Washington Post, Ed Morrissey reports, “Despite demonstrating zero curiosity over Barack Obama’s college transcripts to check on just how brilliant the academic actually was, the Post now has a big expose on Mitt Romney’s high school career as … a practical joker“.  And following the great Geatish hero’s lead, Romney has apologized, acknowledging his youth: “Back in high school,” he said in a radio interview, “I did some dumb things, and if anybody was hurt by that or offended, obviously I apologize for that” (via Ed).

Asking if  “a decades old high school story is really ‘news’,” Jennifer Rubin offers:

When long investigative pieces on Obama’s last three years (i.e. his presidency) start appearing on the front pages of newspapers, maybe the press has justification for going back decades to explore his opponent’s childhood. But so long as gobs of potential, substantive stories on Obama go unreported, you have to wonder why time and resources are spent on his opponent’s high school years. No wonder conservatives are suspicion of mainstream media.

Indeed.

Just as Beowulf questioned Unferth’s competence to ask question questions, so do we wonder at the Post’s competence to cover presidential elections in an even-handed manner.

UPDATE:  Jim Geraghty wonders about the absence of comparable Post coverage on Obama’s youthful indiscretions:

The fact that we see this all-out inspection of Romney’s teen years, with almost nothing equivalent four years ago, undoubtedly explains why “#ObamaTeenYears” is trending on Twitter. After all, this event occurred roughly two to four years before Barack Obama ate a dog, and about a decade before young Barack Obama used cocaine. If those events of youth are considered irrelevant to evaluating the presidential choice before Americans, it’s unclear why a scene out of Dead Poets Society should warrant such extensive coverage from the Post.

Do wonder when they’ll start asking Obama about his failure to release his college transcripts.

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24 Comments

  1. And this story is released the day after Obama’s Bush-like pandering on gay marriage. Coincidence?

    Comment by V the K — May 10, 2012 @ 5:19 pm - May 10, 2012

  2. Well, I think someone on Hotair summed it up best.
    “I know how this story plays out. News report that Romney bullied a gay boy. Then we find out Obama stoned a gay boy.” Or words to that effect.

    Comment by The_Livewire — May 10, 2012 @ 5:36 pm - May 10, 2012

  3. First it was Romney tied a dog to his roof then Obama ate the dog. Now Romney cut someone’s hair, did Obama eat hair? No but, while Romney was cutting hair and playing jokes, Obama was getting waisted at school.

    Comment by Name — May 10, 2012 @ 7:01 pm - May 10, 2012

  4. Actually, Name, Obama was bullying someone.

    Comment by Rattlesnake — May 10, 2012 @ 7:16 pm - May 10, 2012

  5. Do you really consider his behavior to be merely a practical joke?

    And, of course, what would your response, and the response of all of the rightwing blogosphere be if this story were about Obama?

    And one more thing – your response here is to question the credibility of the messenger – or the media outlet that reports what the messengers has to say. What do you think about the substance?

    Is being a violent bully, albeit at 17 yrs old, an insight into one’s character? Is that not relevant for one aspiring to become the most powerful person on earth?

    Comment by ChrisB — May 10, 2012 @ 10:21 pm - May 10, 2012

  6. Atta girls,

    He was a rich bully. Probably daddy was protecting him. And you are defending his behavior. What, bullying now is some kind of commie plot.
    When Obama was getting wasted. Romney was humiliating and bulling gays at his high school.
    Maybe, you should commend his leadership. After all, he was the ring leader.
    I don’t get it.

    Comment by George insane — May 11, 2012 @ 1:28 am - May 11, 2012

  7. Well, ChrisB, so you’re saying that people can’t change. And if Romney’s high school actions are so relevant, then you should be clamoring for the immediate of all Barack Obama’s college transcripts — and chastising the media for failing to do due diligence about Obama’s background in the 2008 campaign.

    On and one more thing. Despite major media/blog coverage, the story of the supposed bullying is falling apart rather rapidly.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — May 11, 2012 @ 1:35 am - May 11, 2012

  8. Um, George, the story is falling apart and Obama has acknowledging bullying a little girl.

    Please tell me where exactly I defended such behavior.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — May 11, 2012 @ 1:37 am - May 11, 2012

  9. Daniel Blatt, (or should I say atta girl)

    The story is not falling apart. It’s growing. There were four witnesses. Now you can dismiss one, but not all of them.
    You defend Romney when you attack Obama for some nonsense. The point here is Romney’s bully behavior, not how Obama did the same thing if he did.
    It’s such childish approach. I know you are, but what am I? type of argument.
    So, following your logic. Romney is a gay bully, but at least he is a republican bully. I guess free market would stop bullying because …….. You need to fill me in…..

    Comment by George insane — May 11, 2012 @ 10:12 am - May 11, 2012

  10. Well, ChrisB, so you’re saying that people can’t change

    Well, there are plenty on GP who are holding Obama’s past remarks about gay marriage against him. So … are they saying people can’t change?

    In what context is change permitted?

    Comment by Cinesnatch — May 11, 2012 @ 1:38 pm - May 11, 2012

  11. While the recent Romney story may be an example of liberal media bias, I would be lying if I didn’t say I found it 1) interesting/telling and 2) made me a little sick.

    Yeah, boys will be boys and all that. While I had been subjected to some hazing in my youth, it was some pretty light stuff (although it didn’t feel like it at the time). But, I do also remember ignorant stuff coming out of my mouth when it came to some of my Native American classmates. And I do remember bearing witness to some really sh!tty things happening to some of the less popular whites in my class.

    All I have to say is that I wish I had been one of those kids who would have stepped in and beat the sh!t out of Romney. But, sadly, I wasn’t.

    Comment by Cinesnatch — May 11, 2012 @ 1:47 pm - May 11, 2012

  12. Here’s a thought, Cinesnatch; since you admit you participated, why not beat the sh!t out of yourself and go out in public screaming about what an awful person you were and how your actions in high school make you unfit to ever hold any position of authority?

    Oh, that’s right. Your piety demands only apply to other people and not yourself. And they can be waived if the person is of the correct political affiliation.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — May 11, 2012 @ 1:57 pm - May 11, 2012

  13. But, I do also remember ignorant stuff coming out of my mouth when it came to some of my Native American classmates.

    Comment by Cinesnatch — May 11, 2012 @ 1:47 pm – May 11, 2012

    So if any of them are dead, it’s because of you.

    If anything in their lives has gone wrong, it’s your fault.

    And if they aren’t yet dead, when they are, it will be because of what you did to them.

    Romney rules. Or will you not apply them to yourself, Snatchy?

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — May 11, 2012 @ 2:04 pm - May 11, 2012

  14. The story is not falling apart. It’s growing.

    Yup — on conservative media, where the holes in it are being exposed and the fact that WaPo is desperately backpedaling and trying to airbrush the story is being called out.

    There were four witnesses. Now you can dismiss one, but not all of them.

    Actually, we can, because other sources are demonstrating that their stories completely contradict each other.

    But now we get to the real meat of the matter.

    You defend Romney when you attack Obama for some nonsense. The point here is Romney’s bully behavior, not how Obama did the same thing if he did.

    And that’s exactly the point, George. You are stating publicly that you don’t care about bullying if Obama Party members do it.

    That makes you a partisan bigot and a hypocrite.

    It’s such childish approach. I know you are, but what am I? type of argument.
    So, following your logic. Romney is a gay bully, but at least he is a republican bully. I guess free market would stop bullying because …….. You need to fill me in…..

    Comment by George insane — May 11, 2012 @ 10:12 am – May 11, 2012

    But that’s the point, George. You can’t define bullying because you state that a person is a bully based, not on what they do, but solely on their political affiliation.

    In your worldview, nothing Obama does would qualify as bullying, and everything Romney does would. You’re an irrational bigot who is no longer able to intelligently evaluate the situation.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — May 11, 2012 @ 2:14 pm - May 11, 2012

  15. You had me at “Beowulf”.

    Sorry. Someone had to say it. Let’s hear it for the classics!

    Comment by Rick67 — May 11, 2012 @ 5:42 pm - May 11, 2012

  16. And, of course, what would your response, and the response of all of the rightwing blogosphere be if this story were about Obama?

    Assuming the left had not made a big deal about some stupid thing beforehand, I imagine the right-wing blogosphere would not make a big deal about it. In fact, Obama’s past bullying was recorded in one of his autobiographies, but no-one made a big deal about it beforehand. Of course, if Obama had been properly vetted by the media in 2008, and assuming they were consistent in their reporting, Obama’s bullying would have been a story then.

    And one more thing – your response here is to question the credibility of the messenger – or the media outlet that reports what the messengers has to say. What do you think about the substance?

    The substance, or lack thereof, is exactly what makes the Washington Post incredible (i.e. that they reported something so irrelevant).

    or should I say atta girl

    What the f*** does that mean?

    You defend Romney when you attack Obama for some nonsense.

    If leftists hadn’t attacked Romney and conservatives for such trivial things, very few people would be attacking Obama for anything trivial. Most people on the right don’t care about trivial things, because there are much more substantial reasons to criticize Obama.

    It’s such childish approach. I know you are, but what am I? type of argument.

    No it’s not. It is the right playing by the left’s rules and using their tactics against them. That’s all it is.

    Comment by Rattlesnake — May 11, 2012 @ 6:10 pm - May 11, 2012

  17. Hmm,
    I am not outraged by the bullying. What worries me is that Romney CANNOT REMEMBER if he did this act or not. Sorry, but that does not pass the sniff test. The act, as described by the individual concerned is so egregious, that I find it hard to believe that Romney CANNOT REMEMBER. That is a BS stance, sorry. That is the sort of thing you remember–both victim and victimizer. If he didn’t do it, he should just say so. If he did it, he should just sincerely apologize.

    Comment by Cas — May 11, 2012 @ 11:08 pm - May 11, 2012

  18. Cas, You’re a gentleman and a scholar. Truer word neer spoken.

    It would be nice to see your comments as a post on this blog.

    Comment by Cinesnatch — May 12, 2012 @ 2:08 am - May 12, 2012

  19. Thank you CS for your kind words. It just amazes me that this gets cast in a partisan light, casting about for equivalences. If Romney is to be our President, he has to show us that he is worthy of being our President IN HIS OWN RIGHT. And his approach to this situation shows me that he has quite a bit of growing to do; maybe too much in such a short time–this is a failure of character…

    Comment by Cas — May 12, 2012 @ 4:12 am - May 12, 2012

  20. Cas,

    How old is Mitt Romney? He’s expected to remember every act he did in his entire life that might be questioned?

    I mean if he wrote a book about his bullying and then went and read said book aloud, you might have a point.

    I mean that would be like boasting about eating dogs and then making jokes about it.

    Comment by The_Livewire — May 12, 2012 @ 11:09 am - May 12, 2012

  21. Not everything, but assaulting people should be up there!

    Comment by George insane — May 12, 2012 @ 11:22 am - May 12, 2012

  22. Hi TL,

    How old is Mitt Romney? He’s expected to remember every act he did in his entire life that might be questioned?

    I would ask you to think and reflect on what the implications are of what you are saying about Mitt Romney’s approach to handling this current situation. Would you remember something like this–the holding down, the cutting, jeering, screaming, crying –if you had seen it or actively participated in it–during your stay at an elite private school? If you perhaps had planned it, carried it out, and then felt OK about it at the time? You would forget about it so well, that when someone (actually “someones” you knew and were perhaps friends with at that earlier time) brought it up even years later, you could legitimately and completely honestly say–”I have no memory of what you are talking about”? Is that what you are saying TL?

    Comment by Cas — May 12, 2012 @ 1:34 pm - May 12, 2012

  23. Actually Cas, that happens with me a lot. I’ll mention something from when we were kids, and it won’t jog a memory.

    Given that there are a number of questions in the story, and given that everyone is buying into Obama’s evolution, I find the “Romney was a horrible kid, so he must be a horrible man” argument absurd.

    I assume that you’ll be condemning Obama for his acts of bullying and won’t be voting in the election?

    Comment by The_Livewire — May 12, 2012 @ 5:32 pm - May 12, 2012

  24. Hi TL,

    I find the “Romney was a horrible kid, so he must be a horrible man” argument absurd.

    That is NOT my argument, My argument concerns the use of “I don’t remember,” TL.
    I am unsure if you have anything like the actions ascribed to Gov. Romney in your background, but I have a feeling that

    I’ll mention something from when we were kids, and it won’t jog a memory.

    would not be a response that you would ascribe to, if it were the case. And besides which, would you remember something like this if you had done it, with premeditation, etc, when you are 18 TL?

    Sorry, it just doesn’t pass the BS test. My issue, as I said above, is not with the bullying (youth has its indiscretions, though he should have manned up later and apologized to the unfortunate student), it is with the “I do not remember” move. It shows a real issue with his character, TL.

    Either deny it as untrue, or own it, and take responsibility for a cruel and humiliating episode that he perpetrated on another human being.

    Comment by Cas — May 13, 2012 @ 3:49 am - May 13, 2012

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