From disorderly conduct to bullying, even Romney’s image is a flip-flop

Buzzfeed brought a story from Mitt Romney’s past back yesterday, reminding voters of the candidate’s arrest for disorderly conduct in 1981. (This is interesting in the context of John’s post on AMERICAblog Gay about Romney having organized a small mob to physically bully a gay student in high school.)

On its face, a rap sheet isn’t the worst thing for a candidate like Romney. The multi-millionaire, who’s in the process of installing elevators for his cars in his beach house, is struggling to convince America that he’s an average guy who isn’t afraid to mix it up now and again even if it means an altercation with the boys in blue. But the nature of Romney’s arrest deviates so little from his image of, to quote Jon Stewart, someone who looks like they “just stepped off the Monopoly board,” that I laughed out loud when I first read the details. From Jackie Koszczuk:

Romney was arrested…for putting his pleasure boat in the water at Lake Chochituate in Massachusetts. The crime unfolded after a park ranger told Romney to cease and desist because his boating license was not properly visible [a violation that would incur a $50 fine]. Romney later told the Boston Globe that he felt that the license was sufficiently visible and that it was worth it to him to be fined $50 in order to enjoy the day on the lake with his family.

Additionally, the charge of disorderly conduct was dropped and sealed after Romney appeared in the local courthouse the next day and threatened to sue.

I’ll leave it to the comments section to try and find a more elitist way to get arrested and subsequently let off the hook for disorderly conduct.

Setting aside the fact that the incident highlights Romney’s life of luxury, it shows just how little money means to the man. $50 in 1981 is $126.18 in today’s terms and, considering how little thought Romney seemed to give to that amount, he was likely willing to pay quite a bit more in order to get the park ranger off his back.

This reminds me of Romney’s $10,000 bet with Rick Perry earlier in the campaign and further indicates why Romney is struggling to connect. Plenty of people have a lot of money, but few of them have so little of a clue as to what their money is worth.


Jon Green is a graduate of Kenyon College with a degree in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. A veteran of the campaigns of Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and President Obama in 2012, he writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @JonGreen8, and on Google+. .

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