It's already 'GOP nominee was a bully in high school' season

The mainstream media have decided that Jeb Bush is going to be the Republican nominee, and have deployed the now-familiar “he was a bully in high school” story, Jeb Bush edition.  Deploying a lot of investigative resources, the long article by Michael Kranish manages to come up with pretty thin gruel, but it is enough to reinforce the left’s tropes that Republicans are elites (he attended Phillips Academy, Andover), hypocrites (he smoked pot! And everybody knows Republicans are prudes) and anti-gay (one presumes) bullies.

That President Obama also attended an elite prep school and smoked pot matter not at all.  As for bullying, who cares? Nobody even bothered to look. Come to think of it, we don’t know much at all about President Obama’s time at Honolulu’s elite Punahou School (beyond the Choom Gang – that was in the yearbook, after all), or at Occidental or Columbia. But hey, everyone knows Democrats were saints when they were young. And no Democrat would ever bully someone (rape, maybe, if we’re talking Kennedys, but it is the GOP that has a “war on women” doncha know).

That Jeb Bush has acknowledged smoking pot at Andover (“I drank alcohol and I smoked marijuana when I was at Andover,” Bush said, both of which could have led to expulsion. “It was pretty common.”) also does nothing to detract from the big scoop, which has been picked up widely among the MSM. After all, he opposes legalization of pot for medical or recreational use. That he might have learned a lesson is an impermissible interpretation. He is a HYPOCRITE!

The bullying incidents excavated are pretty thin gruel, actually:

Their target was a short classmate whom they taunted, and then sewed his pajama bottoms so that they were impossible to put on. The act was particularly embarrassing, said Tibbetts [Bush’s accomplice], who said he felt remorse for joining in with “kids being cruel.”

I would call that a prank. Maybe a bit cruel. But sewing? A bully with a needle and thimble as his weapons? I’d wager most real bullies can’t sew.

The only other incident is at least as weak:

 David Cuthell, who thinks well of Bush today, remembers that Bush approached him one day in the school cafeteria, angry and ready to do some damage.

“He sort of lifted me up in the air and I think was going to squash a grapefruit in my face,” said Cuthell, who said he was around 115 pounds at the time. Then a friend who was even stronger than Bush came to the rescue, lifting Bush away from Cuthell.

Yep. Lifting someone up is a trauma all right. The grapefruit is a tell. Why was it at issue? Was this a breakfast table encounter? Were fruit under discussion?

The fact that the alleged “victim” thinks well of Bush suggests a story more complex than the Boston Globe wants to admit.

The real story here is that the media have a script for a melodrama in mind. Facts can be massaged to fit the narrative that is already predetermined.

The mainstream media have decided that Jeb Bush is going to be the Republican nominee, and have deployed the now-familiar “he was a bully in high school” story, Jeb Bush edition.  Deploying a lot of investigative resources, the long article by Michael Kranish manages to come up with pretty thin gruel, but it is enough to reinforce the left’s tropes that Republicans are elites (he attended Phillips Academy, Andover), hypocrites (he smoked pot! And everybody knows Republicans are prudes) and anti-gay (one presumes) bullies.

That President Obama also attended an elite prep school and smoked pot matter not at all.  As for bullying, who cares? Nobody even bothered to look. Come to think of it, we don’t know much at all about President Obama’s time at Honolulu’s elite Punahou School (beyond the Choom Gang – that was in the yearbook, after all), or at Occidental or Columbia. But hey, everyone knows Democrats were saints when they were young. And no Democrat would ever bully someone (rape, maybe, if we’re talking Kennedys, but it is the GOP that has a “war on women” doncha know).

That Jeb Bush has acknowledged smoking pot at Andover (“I drank alcohol and I smoked marijuana when I was at Andover,” Bush said, both of which could have led to expulsion. “It was pretty common.”) also does nothing to detract from the big scoop, which has been picked up widely among the MSM. After all, he opposes legalization of pot for medical or recreational use. That he might have learned a lesson is an impermissible interpretation. He is a HYPOCRITE!

The bullying incidents excavated are pretty thin gruel, actually:

Their target was a short classmate whom they taunted, and then sewed his pajama bottoms so that they were impossible to put on. The act was particularly embarrassing, said Tibbetts [Bush’s accomplice], who said he felt remorse for joining in with “kids being cruel.”

I would call that a prank. Maybe a bit cruel. But sewing? A bully with a needle and thimble as his weapons? I’d wager most real bullies can’t sew.

The only other incident is at least as weak:

 David Cuthell, who thinks well of Bush today, remembers that Bush approached him one day in the school cafeteria, angry and ready to do some damage.

“He sort of lifted me up in the air and I think was going to squash a grapefruit in my face,” said Cuthell, who said he was around 115 pounds at the time. Then a friend who was even stronger than Bush came to the rescue, lifting Bush away from Cuthell.

Yep. Lifting someone up is a trauma all right. The grapefruit is a tell. Why was it at issue? Was this a breakfast table encounter? Were fruit under discussion?

The fact that the alleged “victim” thinks well of Bush suggests a story more complex than the Boston Globe wants to admit.

The real story here is that the media have a script for a melodrama in mind. Facts can be massaged to fit the narrative that is already predetermined.