by Max Brantley
Now that Mitt Romney is the certain Republican nominee, even the Republicans who detested him in the primaries — and they were in the majority of cumulative not-Romney votes — say it is simply unfair to repeat unflattering anecdotes about high school days. But if you must, the multiple eyewitnesses who stand by their story of the forced haircut of a lonely prep school classmate? They are to be ignored. You are supposed to believe instead those who were NOT there who say they can't believe Mitt Romney could ever be so insensitive.
I'm willing to forget a youthful conformist-rage haircut — though I don't believe he's being truthful when he says he doesn't remember it. But James Wolcott has encapsulated the Romney that has had such a hard time inspiring Republicans, never mind Democrats.
The incident of hair assault revealed this week that led colleague Bruce Handy to dub Romney "the Demon Barber of Cranbrook" shows the mark of a bully, part of a pattern that goes from strapping his dog to a car roof to "I like to fire people." But I think that Romney as bully misses something larger about the political, public man: He's a coward. He's never gone against the grain, stood up for an underdog or advanced an unpopular cause before it became popular, risked a single gleaming hair off his head, shown any backbone apart from the determination to win, tapped into anything larger than himself, risen to the moment. His selfishness is such that you think conservatives would appreciate him more, since that's their driving ethos. He may have to show some of that old nasty Cranbrook spirit if he truly wants to win their love.