Mitt not fit to be president

A bout the time Mitt Romney was symbolically clinching his party’s nomination, several revelations about his past came to light which should have eliminated him from consideration.

It seems that as a high school senior, young Mitt had a disdain for homosexuals and nonconformists. Romney became enraged when he saw a gay youth sporting long flowing hair, and said to his friends, “He can’t look like that. That’s wrong.” Mitt then led five of his buddies in a cruel assault on the student. They held the boy down against his will and while he screamed for help, Romney cut off his hair. Recently when confronted about the incident, the other assailants expressed remorse for their crime, but not Mitt the homophobe. His campaign spokesperson said, “Governor Romney has no memory of participating in this incident.” Later, however, Mitt backtracked, saying that he didn’t remember the incident, but apologized for “pranks he helped orchestrate that might have gone too far.”

Many of my friends, including some liberals, dismissed Romney’s offense as a mere youthful indiscretion, but anyone who has ever been bullied or attacked by a gang knows different. The hair-cutting incident showed Romney’s deep seeded prejudices and his cruel streak. Simply put, he did things because he felt entitled to do them. Same way in college, where his favorite hobby was dressing up in a stolen state trooper uniform, sticking a flashing red light on his car and pulling unsuspecting motorists over to the side of the road. Impersonating an officer is a serious crime, and Romney was an adult when he committed it, so you’d think that law enforcement officials would be outraged at Mitt’s arrogance. But when I told a cop friend of mine about Romneys’ crime, he said, “Well what about Obama using drugs in college?” That attitude must be pretty pervasive because right after both of these stories surfaced, Romney’s poll numbers went up, sending him into a virtual tie with President Obama. Here’s the thing, folks: Recreational drug use in the privacy of your own residence is a victimless crime. Assault is not. But Romney’s crimes are particularly disturbing because they are indicative of serious character flaws which still exist today.

This is a man who strapped the family dog to the roof of their car on a long road trip. This is a man who said, “I like to fire people.” This is a man who said we should let the housing crisis play out even though thousands more people were facing foreclosure. This is a man who said, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” And worst of all, this is a man who, as head of Bain Capital, profited from the misfortune of others, making hundreds of millions of dollars by orchestrating leveraged buyouts, which resulted in layoffs and closings.

Romney claims he created jobs while at Bain, but that is simply not true. First of all, even the few companies who survived his greed didn’t actually add jobs under Romney’s regime, and most of his LBO victims ceased to exist after being punked by Mitt the prankster. Take Kay Bee Toys as an example. Prior to Bain, Kay Bee had been the second largest toy store in America, valued at $305 million. Romney and Bain put up $18 million in cash and borrowed the rest against Kay Bee’s assets. Romney the vulture capitalist, then restructured Kay Bee and paid himself and his Bain buddies a staggering $85 million in dividends. Kay Bee, who could have used that $85 million to stay afloat, soon went bankrupt and had to close 460 stores. And while thousands of people lost their jobs, Bain walked away with a 372 percent return on investment. This was typical of Romney’s LBO track record, where he orchestrated dividends of up to $1.78 billion on one deal alone (Dade Behring) and caused layoffs at one company (Stage Stores) of nearly 6,000 people. In fact during his reign at Bain, Romney earned up to $20,000 per laid off worker. Even racist Whites who hate Obama should be offended by that statistic.

Romney’s cruelty should matter to us. His victims should matter to us. But our ambivalence toward them is what may propel Mitt into the Oval Office.

Ann Romney once said of her husband, “There’s a wild and crazy man inside of Mitt just waiting to come out.” News flash, Ann. It’s already out, and it scares hell out of me.

JIM LONGWORTH is the host of “Triad Today,” airing on Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. on ABC45 (cable channel 7) and Sundays at 11am on WMYV (cable channel 15).