Tilting at Windmills

July/August 2012 Of bullies and blowing smoke

By Charles Peters

If the recent story of Romney’s prep school bullying belonged on the front page of the Washington Post, so does the story of Obama’s collegiate pot smoking. So goes the argument in a recent piece by Mike Allen and Jim VanderHei in Politico. But Obama had told the story of his drug use years ago—it is no longer news. Romney, however, had never confessed to forcibly holding down a fellow student who was screaming for help. That is news.

Though Allen and Herbert failed to teach me how to smoke marijuana, most of my colleagues at the Washington Monthly over the last forty-three years have been users from time to time. Many of them have become lifelong friends for whom I have the highest esteem. On the other hand, when I was fourteen, I was the victim of a bully. I have never wanted to see that guy again, much less vote for him to be president of the United States.

Charles Peters is the founding editor of the Washington Monthly and the author of a new book on Lyndon B. Johnson published by Times Books.