BARK!! Character Matters! (Now…)

By now, most all of us who follow politics have heard the collective barking over Mitt Romney and his dog, Seamus.

Seems in 1983, Mitt saw fit to attach Seamus’ kennel to the top of his car while driving to a family vacation.

I adore animals, including our clunky, slobbering, faithful doggies. And while I can’t understand why anyone would pop a pup on the roof of their car, the way this tail (excuse me, tale) has played out in the current political realm is just re-dog-gone-ridiculous.

I don’t remember the venue, but I saw Rick Santorum commenting on this during one of his latest interviews, attempting to question the character and decision-making qualities of Romney.

After watching and listening to this serious condemnation, I didn’t feel disgust or dislike toward Romney.  I felt embarrassed. Embarrassed at the fact that an ‘issue’ like this would actually be used in a serious manner, in a supposedly sincere attempt to discredit a political rival.

“Well, you know, the family dog is one [that] resonates with some people,” Santorum spokeswoman Alice Stewart said on MSNBC today. “If you can’t be nice to your dog, who are you going to be nice to?”


“As far as Seamus the dog, look, all I would say is, you know, the issues of character are important in this election,” Santorum told ABC’s Jonathan Karl Sunday on “This Week.” “We need to look at all those issues and make a determination as to whether that’s the kind of person you want to be president of the United States.”

Good grief, Charlie Brown.

I’m not sure where this ranks in true importance, or just how much mileage a rival candidate would get interjecting this into a campaign for the most powerful position in the world, but, as much as I love dogs, I just can’t believe this would be taken so seriously by any voter that it would be a factor in their decision.  (Though I’ve learned never to underestimate the shallowness of certain voters.)

This incident occurred about 30 years ago. Seamus has since bounded off this mortal coil. But I’m willing to bet, despite this ride of hellish proportions, he probably lived a healthy, comfy, happy life in the care of his financially secure owner’s home.

Be that as it may, the left-leaning polling company Public Policy Polling has now actually seen fit to ask potential voters how they feel about this, specifically “about what that decision says about the candidate.”

“Asked whether they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of both Barack Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s treatment of dogs, 20% of the 900 voters polled last week said they have a favorable opinion of Mr. Romney’s treatment of dogs, compared with 29% who hold an unfavorable opinion. “These numbers suggest that the Seamus story has gotten around enough for people to have a negative view of Romney on dogs, but 51% with no opinion indicates the story hasn’t penetrated that deeply yet,” the polling firm said in a statement. Mr. Obama, whose Portuguese Water Dog, Bo, has gotten plenty of good press, was ranked favorably on his treatment of dogs by 44% of voters, compared with 14% who hold an unfavorable opinion.
Asked “who do you think would be a better president for dogs?” 37% of voters choose Mr. Obama with 14%. Only 21% of voters believe a President Romney would be good for the dogs of America, and 42% had no opinion, perhaps because dogs are not typically considered to be part of the electorate, or simply because the question is silly.
But then came the critical question: for the first time in the survey, the pollsters described what Mitt Romney did to Seamus. Predictably, voters objected: 68% said it is “inhumane to put your dog in a kennel on the roof of your car.” Only 14% found such an action humane. That opinion was pretty much the same no matter which party the respondent identified with.

The pollsters found, however, that people who think that strapping his dog’s kennel to the roof of his car disqualifies Mitt Romney to be president wouldn’t have voted for him anyway. Only 17% of likely Romney voters say the incident makes them less likely to choose him, 75% say it makes no difference and 6% actually think it makes them MORE inclined to vote Mitt for president.

Overall, more than half of voters, 55%, said they won’t base their choice for president on whether or not a candidate has strapped his dog’s kennel to his car roof. Which sit-up-and-begs the question: Is the Seamus incident a political red herring?”

I am stunned that this is even an issue.  (I am, however, not stunned that this is already viewed by Team Obama as a viable line of attack.)

Alright, Romney made a strange decsion about how to travel with a dog. Who knows? Perhaps the dog loved riding atop the car. How many times have you seen someone elses dog (or maybe your own), cruising down the road, head poked out of the window, wind blowing in its face, sniffing at the thousands of smells swirling around?

Perhaps if Romney had exhibited some kind of pattern which jeopardised the saftey of his four-legged companions, it could, in some way, validate questioning his responsibilty and decision making prowess. MAYBE.

But this is just not the case.

Juxtapose this against the many truly questionable decisions made by Obama regarding his numerous bizarre associations.

Delving into the realm of his past personal relationships, Obama has spent decades in a ‘church’ pew, listening to the lunatic, anti-semetic, anti-American rantings of Jeremiah Wright. In such high regard did Obama hold the good Reverend, Wright not only married Barack and Michelle, but baptized both daughters Sasha and Malia.

Obama was/is friends with Bill Ayers,  a domestic terrorist, who bombed the Pentagon and the main headquarters of the New York City Police Department. So close is he to this freak-a-zoid of a man, he announced his presidental run in the guy’s house. He’s been friends with and received financial personal/campaign support from Tony Rezko,  a slimy real-estate huckster, convicted of numerous crimes. (Rezko helped the Obamas with the purchase of their $1.65 million Chicago home).  He’s been a staunch supporter of the late Harvard Law School professor Derrick Bell, an individual who had some down-right kooky and radical views regarding race .

Yes, many of those examples could be considered as decisions made during Obama’s younger days. And while some may suggest that the passage of time may have tempered his willing penchant for associating with people of ill-repute, it is precisely these kinds of decisions and associations which help to shape a person’s attitudes and beliefs which define the whole of that person’s life.

It also helps to illustrate the transparent hypocrisy of the Democrats and their left-wing media water carriers who have a rich tradition of playing hide-and-seek with their side’s history.

Teddy Kennedy abandoned Mary-Jo Kopechne to drown in a Massachusetts pond. What’d he get? A lifetime of Senatorial fame and riches, the adoration of millions of democrats and the media, who proudly and consistently described Kennedy as the “Liberal Lion” of the Senate, as he spiritedly lived off of his crooked family’s storied name.

Bill Clinton, a living democrat legend, cheated on his wife with numerous women, including one in which he treated a White House intern’s private parts like his own personal human humidor.

J.F.K., the ‘king’ of America’s ‘Camelot’, repeatedly cheated on his beloved wife, proving not even the Presidency could keep a good serial womanizer down.

Personal character?  These guys?  Nah… Has NOTHING at all to do with their capacity to lead and make responsible decisions.

But now…   A 30 year old story about Mitt Romney and Seamus the dog?

It’s all about character, I tells ya!!!  CHARACTER!!!


VIDEO: Richard Mourdock For U.S. Senate, Indiana
Definitely not Mensa qualified
  • JWH

    I see no use for the dog story beyond late-night comedy and a metaphor to be used in political cartoons.

  • UOG

    Is anyone else here familiar with the various outside the cabin of the vehicle means used to transport racing greyhounds, hunting dogs and racing sled dogs? I would need to see exactly what the setup used looked like (that means a actual picture, and not of one of those asshole protesters) before I would offer my opinion of the appropriateness of what happened.

    Until then, how about people save their ire for something truly abusive, like dogs traveling loose in the back of an open truck?

    • Bingo.  Details actually matter.

  • Hank_M

    Asked “who do you think would be a better president for dogs?”

    It really is hard to believe that a polling organization asked this and even harder to believe that some people took the time to answer it.

  • Hugh_G

    Nothing at all to do with character and everything to do with common sense.

  • Number of factors missing here.  What type of kennel? What was the weather like?  How packed was the car?  How long a trip? Was he an indoor or outdoor dog?

    I swear, our political so-called ‘vetting’ process is taking some bizarre turns any more…

  • ackwired

    That’s a lot of words to point out that character and politician are mutually exclusive.

    My theory is that Mit’s dog got car sick and would puke all over the inside of the car on trips.  Mit was trying to please the kids by taking the dog along, and put him on the roof where he could hose off the results of the dog;s neurosis.  I give Mit a plus for creative thinking.

  • Hank_M

    Turns out this story has been an obsession of Gail Collins, a hack for the NT Times.

    Per Collins: “I’ve made a kind of game of trying to mention Seamus every time I write about
    Mitt Romney”

    “For some reason, the idea that you’ve got this guy who would drive all the way
    to Canada with an Irish setter sitting on the top of the car — it absolutely
    fascinated me,”
    Collins has referred to the dog in over 3 dozen columns over the years.
    It’s a low level smear and she has no intention of letting it go.

    In a March 1st column, writing about eliminating the payroll tax cap, she wrote:

    “Romney has already ruled out the payroll tax cap. Also, he once drove to Canada
    with his dog tied to the roof of the car. End of story.”

    Bob Somerby of the Daily Howler sums her up nicely.

    “Incredibly, Collins sits at the very top of your “press corps.” (You might say
    she’s strapped to its roof.) But why is this person even employed? Why is she
    part of the press corps at all? And why do we “liberals” tolerate this, even for
    a suburban minute?

    Why are we the people so dumb? Some of us read Gail Collins.”

    • AndrewX

       I don’t read Gail Collins. Gail Collins once heard a tale about Mitt Romney driving with his dog on the roof, and saw fit to mention it in no less than three dozen columns. End of story.

  • I have the luxury of not needing to defend Romney about this or anything else that might be embarrassing to him in an upcoming fall campaign.

  • GarandFan

    Just when you thought the ‘campaign’ could not get any lower.

    Glad we’re still focused on SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES!