A Stumbling Block for the Blind

Mitt Romney’s “pranks” seem to have had a common thread: picking on the vulnerable. Not just boys perceived as effeminate, but also the handicapped:

One venerable English teacher, Carl G. Wonnberger, nicknamed “the Bat” for his diminished eyesight, was known to walk into the trophy case and apologize … As an underclassman, Romney accompanied Wonnberger and Pierce Getsinger, another student, from the second floor of the main academic building to the library to retrieve a book the two boys needed. According to Getsinger, Romney opened a first set of doors for Wonnberger, but then at the next set, with other students around, he swept his hand forward, bidding the teacher into a closed door. Wonnberger walked right into it and Getsinger said Romney giggled hysterically as the teacher shrugged it off as another of life’s indignities.

This wouldn’t matter as much if Romney’s preferred public policies didn’t reflect the same theme: find someone helpless, and make that person’s life miserable.

No doubt all the folks who oppose equal rights for gays on Biblical grounds will be familiar with the relevant scripture (Lev. 19:14): “You shall not curse the deaf nor place a stumbling block before the blind.”

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

Mark Kleiman

Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the New York University Marron Institute.