Published May 16, 2012
If you haven't talked with one lately, most Republicans are up in arms that the media is covering several alleged bullying incidents by Mitt Romney when he was in high school. Conservatives allege that the liberal media is tearing Romney limb from limb while then-candidate Obama was never really vetted.
The media is looking into credible stories of hostility and anti-social behavior by the actual candidate himself while, four years ago, the media surfaced and regurgitated story after story not about what Barack Obama himself did but the words and actions of everyone he ever met --- and the right has the audacity to cry unfairness?
Just weeks ago, in response to lingering jabs at Mitt Romney for strapping his dog on the roof of the car, conservatives had no hesitation reminding Americans that, as a little boy living in Indonesia, Barack Obama had once eaten dog. Per the format of the above tweet: Eating dog meat in boyhood is fair game, but bullying as a young adult high school student? That's off limits!
Via Twitter, some conservatives have struggled to explain to me why what Rev. Jeremiah Wright once said when Barack Obama wasn't even in the room is more relevant and attention-worthy than what Mitt Romney himself did in high school.
This can only make sense to those who think tax cuts are a good idea when proposed by Republicans but anti-American socialism when proposed by Democrats. Like everything else, politics is in the eye of the beholder.
The reality is, candidate Obama was vetted, thoroughly and with an ugly intensity never before seen in presidential politics.
The man's citizenship was questioned over and over and over again, despite uncontroverted evidence. But the thing is, even when the president sadly had to come out -- in office -- and present his birth certificate, it didn't quiet the critics.
Those who argue that President Obama was never vetted clearly aren't referring to a process of information gathering and investigation, they're referring to desired outcome that has yet and will not come. To them, it's not that the vetting process happened and the president passed but, rather, that the process was flawed and never seriously took place yet. Sore losers, really.
Listen, I will be grateful if it turns out that Mitt Romney never held down a gay kid in high school and forcibly cut his bangs, just like I'll be grateful if it turns out that, while at Bain Capital, Romney never held down thousands of workers and cut their jobs.
Sure I'm a Democrat and want President Obama to win re-election, but first and foremost I'm an American and I'd like the presidential candidates from both parties to be kind and decent human beings.
Moreover, I'm fundamentally confident that coming off of a recession caused by the clear failure of conservative economic ideas, when faced with a choice between an economy designed to work only for the 1% versus an economy that works for everyone, the American people will wisely and overwhelmingly vote for fairness and opportunity for all.
But elections are about more than policy. Like it or not, elections are also about character and it matters to voters if Mitt Romney has shown a pattern of callous disregard and bullying since high school and throughout his career.
And it darn well matters more than what some professor said years after President Obama once hugged him. Then again, to most voters facts and information matter. To conservative extremists, the only facts that matter are the ones that, however strained, accomplish their singular goal of undermining our president.
Sally Kohn is a writer and Fox News contributor. You can find her online at http://sallykohn.com or start your own debate with her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/sallykohn