COMMENTARY | The Washington Post has started the hard but necessary work of vetting Mitt Romney, which is to say dredging up every last embarrassing fact about his past to make certain that he can never become president.
Shockingly, the straight-laced, soft-spoken Mormon businessman and politician was a something of a hooligan in prep school. The Post breathlessly relates an incident in which Romney and some friends held down a classmate at the prestigious Cranbrook prep school and forcibly cut off his bleached blond hair, which had apparently affronted the future governor and presidential candidate.
Romney, for his part, having seen the story in the Post, has apologized for his youthful indiscretions. Mind, it was kind of a stretch dredging up 50-year-old stories of anti-social behavior that would seem mild compared to instances of drug abuse by both presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, according to a report by MSNBC's Chris Matthews. Both have admitted to it, though Obama added that he actually inhaled, in his case both pot and cocaine.
It is somewhat axiomatic that many politicians were wild children in their youth. George W. Bush drank to excess, for example, stopping after a period of self-examination brought on by a conversation with Billy Graham. Teenage boys, hormone addled as they are, will do things that their adult selves look back on and cringe.
This brings us to the question: What was the point of the Washington Post bringing up Romney's prep school hijinks? What bearing does that have on -- say -- his ability to heal the still ailing economy?
We were told with breathless fervor that Clinton's sexual misconduct, even when it was conducted within the bounds of the White House, did not matter so long as the economy was booming. Even the nasty story of Juanita Brodderick and what Clinton is alleged to have done to her was passed over with a shrug.
Double standard? Of course it is. Romney's crime is not that he was a something of a thug in prep school. His crime is that he dares to think that he can deny Barack Obama a second term. That means that everything he has ever done or said, all the way back to infancy, will be held up to scrutiny and, if possible, outrageous outrage.