It was a remarkable week as North Carolinians voted on Tuesday to ban same-sex marriages and domestic partnerships, President Obama on Wednesday historically stated that he supports gay marriage, and then, less than 24 hours later, Willard Romney’s campaign was rocked by the story that, during high school, Romney led an assault on a fellow student who had longer hair and was thought to be gay. Obama’s use of the presidential “bully pulpit” only made it that much clearer that Romney and the Republicans have a “bullying pulpit” problem.
The Romney bullying story, and Romney’s incredulous answers about it (saying he doesn’t recall the incident but somehow recalls that he didn’t know the sexuality of the victim at the time), are bad enough by themselves. But they are much worse when viewed as part of the larger narrative against Romney and the Republican Party as mean-spirited bullies in virtually all areas.
First and foremost, Romney and the Republicans are economic bullies, going after seniors by supporting the Ryan budget that would end Medicare as we know it. The Republicans are also bullying young people, by blocking legislation that would prevent student loan interest rates from doubling overnight. Republicans are bullying female Americans with their War On Women, which even includes attempted state-sponsored rape. Republicans are bullying the ever-increasing Hispanic population in the U.S., by enacting “show me your papers” laws, opposing immigration reform, and suggesting that some 12 million “illegals” in the U.S. be deported, or, in Romney’s view, that they should “self-deport.” The Republican Party is bullying working Americans with pathological union-busting legislation and tactics. And the Republicans are bullying blacks, seniors, poor people, Hispanic residents, and students (many of whom, surprise surprise, are likely Democratic voters) by slapping them with unnecessary voter i.d. requirements that are impossible for many Americans to meet.
What we have, increasingly, is a Democratic Party, led by President Obama, that wants to help people by giving them more rights and more opportunities, and a Republican Party, with Willard Romney as their standard bearer, that wants to take away rights, sell fear, and sow division. As the November elections approach, the contrast is becoming crystal clear.