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Posted by on May 8, 2012 in Guest Contributor, Law, Politics, Society | 9 comments

Thurston Howell IV* on How To Beat A Rap

[* Thurston Howell III’s kid.]

Seems that Mitt Romney tired of abusing dogs and turned his attentions to boating. Buzz Feed reports [emphasis added]:

Mitt Romney Was Arrested For Disorderly Conduct In 1981

According to what Romney told the Boston Globe in 1994, he had taken his family off to Wayland, Mass.’s Lake Cochituate, about an hour outside Boston, for a summer excursion. As Romney prepared to put his family boat into the water, a park officer told Romney not to launch because his license appeared to have been painted over. The officer told Romney if he put his boat into the water he would face a $50 fine.

Romney felt that his license was still visible and decided to ignore the order from the officer and pay the fine.

Because, you know, it’s only about what you’re willing to pay. Laws? LAWS? We don’t have to pay attention to no steenking laws. Listen to Thurston opine on the fundamental pestiness of these stupid laws. Mitt “felt” that he was in compliance with the law. So, rather than change his plans, he ignored the officer’s instruction.

Hey, what’s fifty bucks? A mere Grant. Here, buddy. Buy yourself a new nightstick.

After Romney put the family boat into the water, the officer reappeared visibly angry and arrested Romney for disorderly conduct. Romney was handcuffed on the scene, taken to the local police station, and booked.

“There I was, dripping wet in a bathing suit,” Romney told the Globe. A magistrate let him go without bail.

Several days later, Romney appeared in Natick District Court and threatened to sue the arresting office for a false arrest. The charges were dropped and sealed at Romney’s request.

a turn of the century gag photo, in the public domain

Aw. Jeepies. Turn the tables and bring in your legal eagles to personally attack and harass the officer and drain the resources of the local court? Why, anyone to the Manor Born would do as much.

Hell, Thurston Howell IV would utterly appreciate how “sporting” Mitt had been. He graciously felt (according to his self-serving recounting) that if the fine was only $50, then the law is actually a sort of vending machine. You plonk in your fifty bucks and do as you please.

GET THAT: your money entitles you to break most any law you please, and if you get arrested, use your immense wealth to intimidate the police and the courts. And, in return for charges being dropped, the PERSONALLY EMBARRASSED zillionaire (‘There I was, dripping wet in a bathing suit,’ Romney told the Globe. A magistrate let him go without bail. – from the story) had the records sealed — so that none could ever talk about what had happened.

Except Mitt, when it came up.

Thus, the only version that we hear is Mitt’s self-serving version. (I guess that’s the inner madman Ann Romney in her thousand dollar tee-shirt told us about?)

But it is a disturbing character trait. When he returned from taking credit for rescuing the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, in 2002, he was not eligible to run as a Massachusetts resident for Governor. RETROACTIVELY, he paid Massachusetts resident taxes for the years in question — when you have homes in several states, as Thurston Howell IV would understand, your “residency” is merely a matter of some tax laws. Hey. He’d pay the $50 fine.

And a grateful Utah refunded Mitt’s Utah taxes, his lawyers took charge, and,presto, chango! Mitt was a Massachusetts resident despite very publicly living in Utah for two years.

Seriously.

Who you gonna believe? as Richard Pryor said, ME or your lyin’ eyes?

Then, on camera, Mitt and Paul “Eddie Munster” Ryan handed out what Wisconsin election law calls political bribes, and adjudges a low-class felony.

But I guess they threatened to sue the non-arresting officers and the court, because not a damned thing has even been heard about “Oh, I’d just go ahead and pay the fine” Mitt’s little FELONY IN PURSUIT OF THE HIGHEST OFFICE IN THE LAND.

Hey! After Watergate, what’s a few felonies among friends? You know. Give him a mulligan felony. Country Club rules. Gentleman’s agreement.

That is his APPROACH to law. That is his understanding of it. If you’re willing to pay the fine, fine. If you get in trouble, you know that in America, enough money turns the tables on the courts, when the Defendant has far more resources available than the harried local police, prosecutor’s office and court.

Just imagine those hands on the levers of power, and then think of the audacious immorality (if not to say treason) of Iran-Contra, and then get back to me on what the multiplicand would be. Tenfold? Fiftyfold?

People tell you who they are.

Even when they lie to you with a straight face, a clear eye, an untroubled brow and all the time.

Right, Thurston?

Courage.

====================

A writer, published author, novelist, literary critic and political observer for a quarter of a quarter-century more than a quarter-century, Hart Williams has lived in the American West for his entire life. Having grown up in Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico, a survivor of Texas and a veteran of Hollywood, Mr. Williams currently lives in Oregon, along with an astonishing amount of pollen. He has a lively blog His Vorpal Sword. This is cross-posted from his blog

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  • zephyr

    Laws are for shmucks… which means just about anyone who isn’t well heeled and influential. Justice is usually available for a price. The old saying that nobody is above the law is just a joke. Just ask any 1 percenter.

  • EEllis

    Because, you know, it’s only about what you’re willing to pay. Laws? LAWS? We don’t have to pay attention to no steenking laws.

    I have to say that seems a bit unfair. Here he is kids in the car everyone ready to go out in their boat and a officer says “put that boat in and it’s a $50 fine”. So you have the choice, because the officer laid it out in that manner, of paying the fine or ruining your kids vacation. What’s wrong with you if you wouldn’t make that choice?

    Aw. Jeepies. Turn the tables and bring in your legal eagles to personally attack and harass the officer and drain the resources of the local court? Why, anyone to the Manor Born would do as much.

    Anyone should do so if it’s a bad charge and there is no reason to believe he had any representation there. I think it was obvious that the cop got pissed off when he in fact made a mistake in how he phrased his statements and arrested Mitt for basically pissing him off. The officer was in the wrong so to try to blame Mitt for wasting resources? There is partisan and then there is loony.

    When he returned from taking credit for rescuing the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics

    Which for the most part is pretty darn accurate, but who cares about facts when slander can make your point

    Mitt was a Massachusetts resident – despite very publicly living in Utah for two years.

    He was working a temp job in a State he was never planning on making his home. He lived in Maine and he returned there basically proving his point. Maybe if you type presto chango a few more time you comments will seem serious, or not.

    Soo you have this little theory backed up by what ends up being, well, nothing real. A few distorted events and a lot of insults and name calling. Not a serious article at all

    • EEllis: This is just the sort of slick sophistry that Mitt keeps coming up with.

      Let me ask you this: If a police officer tells you not to do something, then you do it the second he’s out of sight, and get caught, how do you handle it?

      MNitt could NEVER be guilty of anything? Stupid cop enforcing the stupid law?

      And, if you wanted to “save” your family vacation, how do you think being arrested and arraigned worked out, practically? Do you suppose that, had Mitt driven to a service station and fixed the boat tag it would have taken MORE time? Win-win! Break the law AND wreck the all-important family vacation!

      Do I understand your argument that if you’re not in a state you live in, by clear implication, their laws are just ridiculous and OUGHT to be ignored.

      I note that you have zero commentary on the Wisconsin felony or the Massachusetts outrage. I assume, therefore that the notion of a pattern of behavior isn’t worthy of comment? Or is there no argument against this?

  • slamfu

    I have to say I totally have Romney’s back on this one. EEllis is right, you going to ruin the whole family trip over $50? Pay the fine and move on. That officer sounds like a douchebag. I suppose if he hadn’t paid the fine there would be an article about how Romney was a cheapskate. There are many reasons not to like Romney, but this isn’t one of them.

    • @Slamfu: From a purely practical standpoint, how do you think daddy being arrested and hauled off to jail affected the family trip? $49 worth?

      And, one doubts that Mitt threatened to sue and got the records sealed all on his own. Probably a lawyer there with him (actually almost undoubtedly) and I doubt the lawyer showed up for $49.

      So: Wrecked the family vacation, cost a LOT more than $50 to get the fine dropped and charges sealed, and it still “dogs” him to this day.

      Would you call that “intelligent” decision-making? “Wise” policy choice? Moral OR ethical?

      (And remember: the ONLY version of the “facts” we have are Mitt’s. Do you really believe that the officer would 100% agree with Mitt’s self-serving retelling?)

      Oh, and how come the idea of breaking the law seems unworthy of notice in your arguments?

      Isn’t LAW the ultimate goal and duty of an elected official? Don’t they have to swear an oath to preserve protect and defend?

      Wouldn’t you at least agree that lawfulness is an important if not critical element of the job sought?

  • DaGoat

    This is bad for Mitt, really bad. He’s already lost the crucial dog transportation voting bloc, now he’s losing the visible boat license contingent.

  • zephyr

    Sophistry is an important element of modern conservatism allright, not sure what they would have left without it. As for Mitt? His candidacy tells as much about the abysmal state of the GOP as GWB’s did. They are a canker on govt.

  • DR. CLARISSA PINKOLA ESTÉS, Managing Editor of TMV, and Columnist

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  • EEllis

    Let me ask you this: If a police officer tells you not to do something, then you do it the second he’s out of sight, and get caught, how do you handle it?

    MNitt could NEVER be guilty of anything? Stupid cop enforcing the stupid law?

    I think I made it pretty clear. Even slamfu who agrees with almost nothing I write got it. If the cop said “do this and you will get a fine” then I would do so rather than trash my kids vacation. If however he said just don’t do it then I wouldn’t do it, but that doesn’t seem to be what happened. Like you have never driven a car that had an inspection expired or something, figuring you’ll get it done as soon as you can but you need to get to work so “what the heck” you’ll just pay the fine if you get stopped. Big deal. You are being partisan and the idea that anyone is going to care is zero. Maybe you get a few Romney haters to join in but no one with any objectivity is going to think the whole thing is anything but partisan and, apologies, silly.

    Oh, and how come the idea of breaking the law seems unworthy of notice in your arguments?

    It’s a traffic ticket! Pretend otherwise but forgetting your life jacket is a more serious fine.

    And, one doubts that Mitt threatened to sue and got the records sealed all on his own. Probably a lawyer there with him (actually almost undoubtedly) and I doubt the lawyer showed up for $49.

    Facts not in evidence. Maybe he did but then again I’ve seen Judges smack down over eager cops before without lawyers getting involved. Your just positive because it plays into your desires so neatly.

    Wouldn’t you at least agree that lawfulness is an important if not critical element of the job sought?

    IT IS A TRAFFIC TICKET!!!!!

    What about our current president who wrote about using illegal drugs? But I should get worked up over a ticket? How about writing about a real issue occasionally?

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