Last week the Washington Post ran a piece on presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s high-school years, in which he supposedly was cruel to a shy, perhaps gay fellow student. The piece, mirabile dictu, appeared in the middle of the Biden-Obama reversal on gay marriage. Errors were spotted almost as soon as it was published, and the essay was summarily denounced as nonfactual by the family of the supposed victim of Romney’s supposed half-century-old callousness.
Of more interest was the reaction to the story. Aside from Romney’s gracious acknowledgment that he might have done something in his teens that he was not proud of (although he could not remember the Post’s hazing incident), and aside from the errors of fact pointed out in the Post story, apparent Romney supporters hit back hard — and in equally trivial fashion. If Romney was an insensitive preppie, well then, so was Obama — and for the matter, we had the punkish young Joe Biden. Almost immediately, all over the Internet, Obama’s own voice was heard reading from Dreams from My Father about his ancient drug use while in prep school, and about earlier unkind treatment of a middle-school girl chum. If high school is fair game in these doggy wars, then why not seventh and eighth grade?
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