Mitt’s sad puppy

Today, we’ll introduce you to a story that peaks time and time again in the American blogosphere, but tends to be rather underreported in European media. And since we wouldn’t want to run the risk that you have to go through life without ever hearing this story, we proudly introduce to you today:

”The anecdote about how Mitt Romney put the family dog on the roof of the car during a 12-hour holiday trip.”

Let’s start with the canine star himself, as pictured to the left: Seamus, an Irish setter. Adorable dog, good with little kittens, ergo: the perfect family dog.

Then there is the Romney family,  captured below in a nice shot from the days when Duran Duran was seriously popular (also note how Romney’s hair still seems to be real in this picture, whereas these days Mitt seems to have traded in his haircut for some kind of gel-drenched fur patch. But we’re digressing here). Exhibit C is the wood-clad all-American family station wagon, here visible in this lovely photo of Mitt and his wife Ann.

So, what is the exact story? Well, the basics are that back in 1983, the Romney family left for a 12-hour drive from Boston to Canada. Seamus was brought along, but wasn’t allowed to travel inside the car. Instead, Mitt had created a special dog carrier with windshield, which was strapped to the roof of the car. But Seamus did not enjoy the trip, and developed severe tummy trouble. What happened next? Who better to tell it than the journalist who originally discovered it, Neil Swidey of the Boston Globe:

”Sometime during the drive, Mitt’s oldest son, Tagg, noticed a brown liquid running down the rear window of the family station wagon. Realizing the liquid was being discharged by their dog, Mitt pulled off the highway and into a gas station, borrowed a hose to wash down Seamus and the car, and then returned the dog to his rooftop carrier for the duration of the trip.”

Now, stories like this are not entertaining to everyone. For instance, animal-rights group PETA thinks Mitt is the devil incarnate and accuses him of dog torture. But there are others who argue that it says a lot about Romney’s personality. Swidey of The Boston Globe puts it like this:

”Although I think it would be nuts for voters to base their presidential selection solely on this incident, it’s always struck me as a valuable window into how Romney operates. In everything the guy does, he functions on logic, not emotion.”

Gail Collins of the New York Times, who is persistently trying to mention the incident in every single column she writes lest people don’t forget about it, is similarly psyched by the Seamus anecdote:

”I just love that story, because it came from one of his sons, who thought of it as a story about Romney’s leadership qualities. It’s very Mitt Romney in every way, and it’s very much about control. The point, for the son, was that they designated a certain number of rest stops, and Mitt had those stops identified. When the dog got diarrhea, Mitt got out and hosed down the dog, but nobody else was allowed to get out of the car, because it wasn’t one of the designated rest stops.”

You can imagine that Romney has hoped, ever since The Boston Globe unearthed the story in 2008, that it would disappear quickly. However, PETA and Collins make sure that it doesn’t, and during a recent campaign rally in South Carolina Romney was again faced by a protest group called ”Dogs Against Romney”:

So it seems Romney has lost the support of the nation’s dog owners. But Mitt might also have broken Massachussetts law, as this clip from Fox News shows, even though Mitt himself tries to laugh it off and claims that the dog enjoyed it:

Still, no matter what Mitt says about the incident, we cannot help but feel that ever since that afternoon in 1983, Seamus is bearing a grudge against Mitt. You don’t believe us? This sounds like a sour puppy to us…

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7 thoughts on “Mitt’s sad puppy

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