Tag Archives: 2012 primaries

The Omega House Rules: Mitt the Bully and Other Bullies

“You’re all worthless and weak! Now drop and give me twenty!” Doug Neidermeyer Animal House

Neidermeyer, Marmalard and Omega Bullies

I can’t stand bullies. I did’t like them when I was a kid and I don’t like them now. When I first heard about and read about Mitt Romney leading a mob chasing down, pinning and forcibly cutting the hair of a gay student at his exclusive prep school I was disgusted but not surprised. (See http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/05/former-romney-classmate-describes-bullying-supreme-a-pack-of-dogs-who-targeted-differentboy/ )

You may want to know why I am not surprised. I just see this action as part of a pattern. During his career as a venture capitalist at Bain Capital he specialized in buying up, parting out and for the most part destroying companies while shipping the jobs overseas.  He can boast that he helped some companies but for the most part his actions as a businessman only benefited him and his stockholders. He preyed on the weak as a businessman and was quite successful in doing so. Mitt was a Bully again during this year’s Republican Presidential primary campaign. He carpet bombed his opponents, notably Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum with a nasty, negative ad campaign that even left many conservative Republicans crying foul.  I wasn’t a big fan of either Newt or Rick but Mitt’s destruction of them was the work of a bully who obviously relished his work. I lost whatever respect I had for Mitt during those primaries.

Mitt Romney reminds me of Greg Marmalard and Doug Neidermeyer, the leaders of the elite “Omega” Fraternity in the movie Animal House. They were rich, sanctimonious and polished bullies that attempt to bully and brutalize the socially unacceptable students over at Delta House.  Mitt has  serial bully who loves to destroy those he believes might become a threat even if they are weak and underfunded.  However he seems to be afraid of the bullies of the Religious Right, but since he needs their support he is willing to let them dictate his decisions. This happened most recently when he appointed an openly gay man as his foreign policy spokesman and then tossed him under the bus after being excoriated by Bryan Fisher of the American Family Association. Fisher then mocked Mitt for buckling to him, a self described “Yokel.”

Bullies are not tough guys, they prey on the weak or those they perceive to be weak while inside they are spineless and soulless.  Maybe that’s why he is on three sides of every issue and was described as an “Etch-a-Sketch” by one of his senior campaign aides during the primaries.

Mitt sort of apologized in a non-apologetic way today saying “I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks during high school and some might have gone too far and for that, I apologize.” That was a crock. He claimed not to remember the incident and I almost want to believe him, simply because I see the bullying trait as part of who he is, he probably doesn’t remember because the incidents all kind of run together.

However, if one is basically a peaceful person that does not habitually engage in physical or emotional abuse of those that you deem less than yourself you tend to remember violent acts in your life. It doesn’t matter if you participated in something that you later regretted and didn’t repeat because you knew that you were guilty of something that was wrong, immoral and against your moral code or if you were the victim of someone else. Violent and traumatic acts burn themselves into our memories.

When I was a kid I was not very big and was pretty much always the new kid in town. As a result there were some places where I got picked on or bullied. I was an easy target for some. I remember every fight that I got into, where I got hit and the emotions that I felt when bullied, the fear of wondering if someone else was going to bully me. In every case I fought back against bullies or groups. My first fight was when I went to the aid of a neighbor kid that was being beaten up by the block bully, a kid that was older and bigger than the kids on my street. I got the worst of it and the fight was broken up by adults. My new school jacket was ripped and I had a black eye and was grounded by my parents for getting into a fight. However the bully didn’t bother my neighbor or me again. I could give details of the others but it would pretty much be the same story, except I was the kid getting bullied and decided to defend myself. There was one event in 4th grade when I transferred mid year to a school in a different state and two in Junior High School.  Those in Junior High were against kids that were much taller and bigger than me, one who had bullied me for all three years before I knocked him down hard with an uppercut to the jaw.

Those incidents are burned into my memory. If Mitt was not a serial bully who whether it was the rich kid that picked on those he deemed unworthy of being in his privileged prep school, those that he destroyed as a venture capitalist or his political opponents I think that he would remember details. But then maybe he does remember and like so  many other things in his campaign he is simply trying to lie his way out of it, giving as ambiguous apology as he can without admitting any real guilt. Romney denies knowing that his victim in prep school was gay, but others say that he knew.

One thing that I learned in all four incidents was that bullies like to pick on those smaller or different than them. Those that the perceive as weak and those that they think they can dominate. They seldom feel guilty for their acts or have any empathy for their victims.

Mitt is now supported by various leaders of the “Christian right.” These men and a few women are mostly minsters or heads of para-church and allied organizations. All are associated closely with Evangelical Christian groups conservative Catholic ministries not directly connected with the Church. They include on the evangelical side Bryan Fisher, Peter LaBarbera, Tony Perkins and Gary Bauer, Franklin Graham, Bill Donohue and Randall Terry. These guys don’t seem to mind bullying those that they see as different (Moslems), inferior (Women) or believe that God particularly hates (Gays).  Of course it’s okay because they believe that the Bible or Church Tradition gives them that right. Of course they almost always ignore the parts of the Bible and Church Tradition that don’t agree with their position.

I find that bullies are bullies and always will be bullies. They prey on those different than them, they prey on those smaller and weaker than them and they will use whatever rational they need to use to justify behavior that is unjustifiable.

Why is an incident that happened nearly 50 years ago important and relevant in the election of a President? Because it demonstrates a lack of character and willingness to victimize the weak. It is important because it shows that his business practices and his treatment of his fellow Republican primary contenders. It important because he seems to think it is not important and even chuckled as he apologized. It shows that appears that to believe that different rules apply to him.

Mitt Romney seems to be an unrepentant and unabashed bully. He is a real life Greg Marmalard or Doug Neidermeyer.

The Omega’s will rule, unless the Delta’s fight back. If we don’t we’ll all be on our knees saying “Thank you sir may I have another.”

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Romney Stops the Bleeding but Race far from Over

The Republican nomination process was supposed to be a done deal by now. Mitt Romney was by now to have for all practical purposes secured the nomination. It hasn’t been that way. After an advertised win that was not really a win in Iowa Romney went on to win on his home turf in New Hampshire. Then things came apart. A series of gaffes led to a strong win by Newt Gingrich in South Carolina. Then Romney clobbered Gingrich with negative ads in Florida and Gingrich added to the meltdown by two lack luster debate performances. Romney’s win in Florida made it look like he had seized control of the race.  Romney quickly picked up the endorsement of the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) and a narrow and disputed win in the Maine Caucuses over Ron Paul and a win in Nevada. However that did not last as Rick Santorum stormed to victory in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri.  Those defeats sent the Romney campaign which had just seemed to have recovered some momentum int a near panic.

The Romney camp spent an anxious two weeks before the upcoming Arizona and Michigan primaries. Santorum continued to surge during these two weeks and for a couple of days began to poll ahead of Romney in that state. The two campaigns bombard each other aided by the attacks of Newt Gingrich and Ton Paul on the front runners. Santorum then departed from his emphasis on the economy and understanding of blue collar family concerns which contrasted sharply with Romney’s inability to connect on these subjects. Santorum turned the conversation to conservative social and moral issues and made some comments which probably took his numbers down in Michigan. I think that the key mistake for Santorum was his comment that President John F. Kennedy’s religious freedom speech had made him “want to vomit” accusing the late President of promoting an absolute separation of church and state that denies religious people and churches access to the public square and debate. It was a terrible misrepresentation of Kennedy’s speech and plays to a certain paranoia in the conservative Evangelical Christian and Catholic base.

Romney easily won Arizona with the conservative vote being divided by Santorum and Newt Gingrich who improved his showing in that state.  However Romney won Michigan and won the Roman Catholic vote showing a weakness in Santorum’s strategy to go after moral issues that may lay Catholics even have problems with. At the same time even though Romney won the popular vote by about 3% he split the delegates 15-15 giving Santorum a claim to have at least tied Romney in Michigan.

Romney stopped the bleeding and won what were described as “must win” states. However the post primary speeches revealed just how tenuous Romney’s wins were. Santorum closed the night with a passionate speech in which he attacked Romney and President Obama and looked like he was trying to cover some to the damage he had done over the past few days by focusing almost exclusively on moral and social issues where he already has the support of the conservative GOP base.

Romney made a speech that showed little passion and looked to me to be like a businessman trying to close the deal rather than a passionate believer in his cause.  Saturday is the Washington Caucuses and next week is Super Tuesday. I expect that Romney, Santorum and Gingrich will all have wins, just who wins what states and how big those wins are could define the next stage of the campaign.  But even more importantly it is how badly the candidates continue to damage each other will drive the narrative going into the later primary season. This could also effect their fundraising support and possibly increase the calls for another candidate at a brokered convention.

I expect that all four candidates will remain in the race and do whatever they can to gather delegates and seize the momentum. Into this mix the national GOP including major leaders are beginning to wonder what the primary campaign is doing to their chances of winning in November.  When people like Jeb Bush, Sarah Palin and others question the viability of their field in a general election it is time for the GOP to wake up.

The race continues and my prediction is that the GOP fratricide will continue and that if it does the chances of the party winning in November will go down with them. I think that  at this point barring reconciliation and a true united front in the GOP before the convention that any nominee that they field will be damaged goods and despite the obvious weakness of President Obama and the economy stand a diminished chance of winning in November. Democrats should not rejoice and count they’re chickens before they are hatched because they can still lose the election especially if the economy gets worse. However, if the inter-GOP civil war continues they stand an excellent chance of losing an election that even a few months ago I assumed as did many others was theirs for the taking.

It shall be interesting.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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