If Mitt Romney really wanted to prove that he has what it takes to be president, he would have picked up the phone last week and placed a call to Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke before President Obama had a chance to reach her.
If Romney really wanted to prove that he stands for traditional American values of decency and fair play, he would have demanded a speedy apology from Rush Limbaugh and beaten to the punch the angry advertisers who refused to continue supporting the obnoxious talk-radio host’s disgraceful behavior.
If Romney really wanted to prove that he understands the plight of the little guy, he would have expressed concern for Fluke’s well-being and support for her right to speak out on the controversial issue of access to contraception, even though he disagrees with her position. And then he would have held a press conference and called out Limbaugh as the big, fat bully he is for saying those terrible things about Fluke, and let the world know that such disgraceful language has no rightful place in the political sphere.
In other words, he would have shown some guts, character and concern for the First Amendment rights of a citizen who came under unfair attack from an unprincipled jackass who exercises an outsize pernicious influence in the political party that Romney seeks to champion.
Had he done so, Romney would have been walking down the same road that President John F. Kennedy walked down in 1960 when he called Coretta Scott King to express his concern about her husband, Martin Luther King Jr., who was languishing in a jailhouse in Atlanta after being arrested in a civil rights protest.
He would have been walking down the road that Obama did when he called the law student last week (in the words of his spokesman, Jay Carney) “to offer his support, express his disappointment, that she was the subject of an inappropriate personal attack and thank her for exercising her rights as a citizen to speak out on public policy.”