Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mitt Romney. A dog. A roof. A legend.

You know the story by now, surely. In 1983, during a 12-hour drive from Boston to Canada, Mitt Romney's oldest son, Tagg, noticed something brown on the family station wagon's rear window. It was the family dog, Seamus, having a post-digestive event while in the carrier that was attached to the roof of the car.


Romney pulled the car off the road and into a gas station, where he found a hose to wash off the car and dog (although not necessarily in that order). Then Mitt put Seamus back in the carrier and hit the road again.

The story was broken rather innocently by Boston Globe reporter Neil Swidey as part of a profile of Romney in 2007. It has found its way into political coverage and dog shows and, frequently, the columns of New York Times writer Gail Collins, who has made great sport of finding ways to mention Seamus, including a whole column this week.

Also this week, a riff on the story made our new favorite cover of the New Yorker.

The tale is, first of all, kind of funny, given that Seamus survived the rest of the trip just fine. Swidey says he included it in his series because he thought it was a telling example of how Romney operates on logic, not emotion. It's also a clear illustration of Romney's not-like-us-ness, and although we might not like what that says about us as voters, it matters at least a little in the selling of a candidate. (See George H.W. Bush, supermarket scanner.)

Is it, however, a political cheap shot to keep bringing this up? There's an interesting discussion on the matter at Politico, where Democratic and Republican strategists are debating if and why the story should matter.

One interesting take, from Democratic strategist Margie Omero:
"Lots of people have a story of the safety risks they took in the 70s and 80s. So I wonder if this story actually makes Romney seem more like a regular guy than his real-time gaffes about working people."
The panelists' consensus on Seamus and Romney: It's politics, and it's America. Maybe it's easier to buy into these narratives - Mitt and his dog, Gerald Ford and his clumsiness, George H.W. Bush and the checkout line - than it is to pursue the substance of candidates. Or maybe it's just a fun story.

Peter St. Onge

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The tale is, first of all, kind of funny, given that Seamus survived the rest of the trip just fine."

You think it's funny? You're as stupid as Mitt Romney...maybe more so, since he was just ignorant, but you should know better. The dog was probably terrified. Tell you what, let me put you in a dog crate, strap it to the top of my car, and take you on a little trip...not stopping to let you go to the bathroom. Think you might come up with a few brown stains?

Is it a "political cheap shot" to keep bringing up the story? No, not in the least...because it shows Romney's lack of intelligence, common sense, and further highlights his uncaring nature.

Anonymous said...

I am appalled by the story-poor, poor Seamus- and I think Gail Collins is one of the best columnists writing today.

But I think this story has just about run its course.

Jim said...

Do I think it's a political cheap shot? Well, I dunno, Peter. . .why are you keeping it going if it's questionable?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Jim - it's an excuse for the media to ignore real issues like the wars, the debt, and the shredding of the Constitution.

Anonymous said...

I bet also when Romney's kids were little he let them ride around on their tricycles without helmets, knee pads, elbow protection, or safety goggles.

The Observer Editorial Board said...

Jim,

A great point. There's a fine line between noting what people are talking about, and being a part of keeping that conversation going. My rationale here: This post touches more on what the Seamus story says about us, not Romney.

Thanks...

Peter

Anonymous said...

Moral of the story: Michael Vick would still be in jail if he had done this.

Anonymous said...

Peter,

By "us" you mean the media, NOT real people who want to discuss real issues - deficit, war, indefinite detention - not the fake "issues" thrust upon us like birth control and dogs.

Step away from the Frank Bruni and Maureen Dowds of the world and talk to REAL people.

The Observer Editorial Board said...

Anon, 12:18:

I've heard "real" people talking about contraception and laughing about Mitt's dog. They can do that and talk about more substantial issues, too, as we do in this space and on our editorial pages.

Peter

Anonymous said...

If Obama was depicted as an animal, such as Romney, would there be cries of racism?

Anonymous said...

the american public certainly bought into the narratives concerning obama rather than pursuing his actual substance

Anonymous said...

The pro-left bent of the media is so obvious.

You guys never vetted Obama:
why was he and Michelle's law licenses revoked? His associations with Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorn...why does he bow to the Saudi's? He has stated numerous times he is a Muslim...on and on...

Nary a word from you in the "State-runned" media....

Jim said...

Peter St. Onge: thanks for keeping an eye on the comments and participating in discussion! I tend to think that the perpetuation of this anecdote is an effort to mass those of the PETA faith to oppose Romney. Outrageous! Shame! Damnable cultist! How dare he! Irish setters are people, too!

Anonymous said...

1:12, Snopes begs to differ.

Specifically, there was no "voluntary surrender."

There was a request for inactive status. Like many professions, a law license requires continuing education (CLEs) and since neither Obama was going to be practicing law, there was no need to take CLEs and keep their respective licenses active.

I'm afraid you'll have to find some other tinfoil myth to pursue.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting how liberals just love slaughtering unborn babies but get all bent out of shape when someone mistreats an animal.

Anonymous said...

Liberals know that a zygote is not a baby.

Anonymous said...

I do not think this is funny, not even a little bit. It makes me want to strap Mitt on top of a car and make a long drive.

and only an idiot would claim that liberals just love to slaughter unborn babies

Anonymous said...

Romney: flip flopped on abortion

Gingrich: serial adultere

Santorum: endorsed Specter over Toomey

Paul: delivered 4,000 babies, performed zero abortions, provided services for free rather than taking Medicare

Remind me again who's the moral candidate in this race?

Anonymous said...

Never met a liberal who wanted to permit abortion ONLY in the first 4 days after conception (the total time a zygote exists).

Liberals are often celebrating abortion when they are not parading through the streets celebrating other acts of deviancy.

Anonymous said...

By changing the title to this op-ed just a little, I think you could've had a much better piece.

Oh, and the new title?

"Mitt Romney, a dog."

Anonymous said...

And a "good" conservative these days is a Catholic priest, bishop, or cardinal -- Republican, to be sure -- who rails against birth control while, all the time, either sexually molesting children himself or criminally protecting fellow pedophile priests. Sexual activity is a matter of personal choice and no one else's business so long as it is between consenting adults. A woman's reproductive rights belong to that woman and no one else -- surely not to the all to many aged male Republican legislators who, in the name of reducing government, want to thwart individual contraceptive rights by using government legislation to disrupt womens' lives. And as for Mr. Romney, well, he is a highly narcisstic, selfish, faux religious man who shows weak and/or ever-changing judgment on political matters, wrecked many Americans lives economically by eliminating thousands of jobs as he orchestrated the demise of many putting profitable US companies/ businesses in order to fatten his own wallet, and -- as the example of his dog Seamus demonstrates -- has no common sense and no more compassion for animals than he does for other human beings.

Wiley Coyote said...

I'll be waiting for humor on Obama and his ties to terrorist Bill Ayers and other radical comedians.

Jeremiah Wright will be here all week.

It's an election and just humor, right?

Thnak you.

Anonymous said...

Romney is a dog, just like the headline says. He is out of touch with most of the country and should be ashamed. Thank God Almighty that President Obama will be re-elected.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Wow. Just, wow.

Anonymous said...

Three of the most despicable people I've ever seen or heard voice their opinions.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the dog always had the episodes while travelling, hence his position atop the car.

I am not shocked that people care more about this than they do Obama's admitted cocaine and heroin use growing up. While certainly not shocking, it seems a more defining event than a family road trip.

Anonymous said...

Change of topic but isnt it just GREAT and WONDERFUL that Ballentyne will be splitting from Charlotte to create its own city?

We need a few more cities to split off and be created.

Since H845 NOMORE ANNEXATION without 60% approval was passed by both houses in Raleigh and went into effect June 30th 2011 things are removing fast.

Purdue copped out and of course ex-Mayor Pat McCrory will be elected the new GOP Govenor to go with the GOP NC Legislature.

Once the GOP takes the WH in Nov and also takes the Senate there will be major changes after all the illegals are shipped back to Mexico and guards put at the border to shoot to kill intruders.

We need a total of 4 new cities in Mecklenburg that will whiz thru the GOP in Raleigh. This should reduce the size of Charlotte by 50% and make it possible for separate new independent school systems to be created. Taxes will be reduced greatly also.

Free at last free at last Thank God Almighty free at last ...

City of Ballentyne
City of Lake Wylie
City of Lake Norman
City of UNC Charlotte

The future looks bright !!!

Jim said...

Well! This offering begins it's second day in the lead spot on the "Opinion" web page. Begins to look more and more like a "...political cheap shot...", Peter!

Anonymous said...

The story was a loser to me, until Mr. Romney commented on the furor over the story.
He said, "The dog loved riding there in the carrier and it was air tight so there was no danger and the dog was just fine."
Excuse me, but if you put a dog in a 3X3X4 foot space that was airtight for a length of 6 hours twice, the dog would not be a problem, it would be dead from lack of O2.
It seems like a case of Romney making up an excuse while flying by the seat of his pants. Not a story with a very presidential ending.

Jim said...

A third day in same position (lead item in "Opinion". . .I'm sold, Peter. . .political cheap shot.

Anonymous said...

In the words of the immortal Teddy Roosevelt "you have to save the liberals from themselves".

bill zebub said...

Placing Seamus on the roof of his car was a symbolic way for Romney to show his veneration for the Golden Calf. It was undoubtedly unconscious but it's there, plain as day, for anyone with a little imagination to see. Mitt Romney loves the Golden Calf more than he loves G-D.

Anonymous said...

http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/10/opinion/fonda-morgan-steinem-limbaugh/index.html?hpt=hp_c1

The most evil lib perv soddomite commies want to silence free speech (its an election year for their messiah)

Jim said...

I hope you're keeping this Romney roast refrigerated! Leaving it out too long will cause it to spoil.

I'macountrygirl said...

Come on, folks. Have you never seen a pickup truck scooting down the street with a dog in the back? Dogs ears are flying in the wind and dog has a big smile on his face? Don't you remember riding in the back of your dads pickup in the '50s,'60s before it was outlawed for safety reasons? It was such fun.
Lighten up, folks. That was not a crime. Chill!!

Unknown said...

Actually the Real Issue is not being ignored. The real story is this man's thinking is that it is ok to do this to an animal. Does no one think that someone with that little caring for his own family pet will actually give a darn about the people of this country?
Frankly the Romney's seem to have a ongoing issue with lack of caring for Animals and that concerns me.

Susan Gamble said...

What a humorous story. I never read too much into this during the election because I always thought it was irrelevant to what the actual issues were. Humorous none the less.

Susan from Olympic Roofing