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It would appear now that a passage from a news story from 2007 has come back to bite Willard "Mitt" Romney in his figurative mom-jeans-covered ass good and proper since it inadvertently reveals a lot about Romney's flip-flopping-at-all-costs efforts to paint a more Norman Rockwell public image of himself even though he's changed several major telling details over the past four years about that story to try to exonerate himself with dog lovers.


> Excerpt from the June 27, 2007 Boston Globe newspaper story by Neil Swidey and Stephanie Ebbert entitled:

JOURNEYS OF A SHARED LIFE
Raising Sons, Rising Expectations Bring Unexpected Turns


The white Chevy station wagon with the wood paneling was overstuffed with suitcases, supplies, and sons when Mitt Romney climbed behind the wheel to begin the annual 12-hour family trek from Boston to Ontario, Canada.

As with most ventures in his life, he had left little to chance, mapping out the route and planning each stop. The destination for this journey in the summer of 1983 was his parents' cottage on the Canadian shores of Lake Huron. Romney would be returning to the place of his most cherished childhood memories.

Even for someone who had always idolized his father, the similarities between his path in life and the one George Romney had cut before him were remarkable. Husband to his high school sweetheart, father to a brood of young children, bishop of his local Mormon church, and businessman on the threshold of life-altering success.

If anything, 36-year-old Mitt, who had just been tapped to lead a new venture capital firm, was on track to achieve more at a younger age than his famously overachieving father.

His father had known poverty as a child, Mitt only privilege. His father had succeeded without a college degree while Mitt was launched with the finest educational pedigree. Given all his advantages, Mitt seemed restless to make his mark sooner.

Before beginning the drive, Mitt Romney put Seamus, the family's hulking Irish setter, in a dog carrier and attached it to the station wagon's roof rack. He'd built a windshield for the carrier, to make the ride more comfortable for the dog.

Then Romney put his boys on notice: He would be making predetermined stops for gas, and that was it.

The ride was largely what you'd expect with five brothers, ages 13 and under, packed into a wagon they called the "white whale."

As the oldest son, Tagg Romney commandeered the way-back of the wagon, keeping his eyes fixed out the rear window, where he glimpsed the first sign of trouble. "Dad!" he yelled. "Gross!" A brown liquid was dripping down the back window, payback from an Irish setter who'd been riding on the roof in the wind for hours.

As the rest of the boys joined in the howls of disgust, Romney coolly pulled off the highway and into a service station. There, he borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the highway. It was a tiny preview of a trait he would grow famous for in business: emotion-free crisis management.

And it offers his sons a rare unplanned stop.

"Think about it," Tagg says, "a 12-hour drive and the only time we stop is to get gas. When we stop, you can buy your food and go to the bathroom, but that's the only time we're stopping, so you'd better get it all done at once."

_________________________________________________



Recently, Willard "Mitt" Romney himself has brought the story back to life, only now with new additions to it.


> Excerpt from the December 23, 2011 Crooks & Liars Blog entitled:

Romney on His Irish Setter Strapped to Car Roof During Cross-Country Car Trip: 'I Love My Dog'

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney offered no defense Wednesday when asked about a dog he had made ride on the roof of his station wagon during a family vacation....

On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal asked Romney to respond to New York Times' Gail Collins, who had recently revived the old story.

"Uh...," Romney said, clearly caught off guard by the question. "(I) Love my dog.... That’s all I’ve got for ya."

Asked about the idea that his treatment of the animal had been cruel, Romney replied, "Oh please. I’ve had a lot of dogs and love them and care for them very deeply."

With that, an aide abruptly ended the interview.

It was one of the first times the former Massachusetts governor had spoken of the incident since PETA criticized him during the 2008 campaign.

__________________________________________________



What's significant about these developments is that in well-honed-and-true flip-flop style, Willard "Mitt" Romney has changed several major details of his story to try to unpaint himself from the unflattering corner it leaves him in for he now claims that he didn't strap his dog to the roof of the car but that he'd put the dog in some sort of carrier with a protective windscreen that was strapped to the top of the car.

And even more recently, Romney added yet another somehow-overlooked detail to that story: that the dog carrier strapped on top of his car was "air-tight"! Those incredulously strained Johnny-Come-Lately afterthoughts of an explanation, however, does NOT minimize the impact of the story because that essentially means that the new additions to the story -- the wind-proof and air-tight dog carrier -- put the story in an even more damning context: Evidently, Romney's car-sick dog must have filled his dog carrier so full of diarrhea that its noxious gases apparently had become so overly pressurized with methane that it caused the "air-tight" dog-carrier container to come slightly ajar enough for the overflow diarrhea to leak out of the carrier, be blown back by the wind, and come streaming down the back windows of the Romney family car.

I just wonder how many hours into that 12-hour -- yes, *twelve-hour* -- cross-country car trip to Ontario, Canada that poor Romney's dog got sick. Why, this even puts Chevy Chase's Clark Griswold character from the movie "Vacation" to shame because amidst all his other road misadventures, at least Griswold had merely forgotten that he'd tied his family dog to the back bumper of the car before later eventually making that grisly discovery. He hadn't knowingly done that. (Bigger irony yet: The movie "Vacation" was released during that same summer of 1983!)

And guess what? That Romey dog story AIN'T going away.


> Excerpt from lawyer Lanny Davis' January 12, 2012 opinion column for The Huffington Post Online entitled:

Romney's "Dog on Car Roof Story" Won't Go Away

It might be unseemly to bring this up just as Mitt Romney celebrates his win in New Hampshire on Tuesday night and seems to be a strong front-runner for the GOP nomination. But the story of his putting his dog in a carrier on his car roof for a 12-hour family trip is spreading again on the Internet and disturbs me the more I learn about it.

And I am betting the more it gets out, the more votes Romney loses -- red, blue and purple. (Note: "Purple states" would be states that are neither all Republican nor Democrat.)

When, in a campaign debate, Romney opposed allowing a non-documented worker who has lived here for 25 years to stay and earn his way to citizenship, he struck me as heartless.

But when I read the story recently in greater detail about what Romney did to his Irish Setter, Seamus, that struck me as more than heartless -- it struck me as downright cruel.

In brief, as the Boston Globe newspaper first reported in 2007, in 1983, Mitt Romney, then 36 years old, drove his station wagon packed with five sons and his wife on a 12-hour trip from Boston to Ontario, where his parents had a cottage on Lake Huron.

He took a dog carrier and attached it to the station wagon's roof rack, built a special windshield, and put his dog Seamus into the carrier, where the dog remained for the 12-hour trip.

Was the dog distressed? Was it illegal under Massachusetts law as cruelty? There is some evidence that both are true.

During the trip, the Boston Globe reported, Romney's oldest son, Tagg, looked around through the rear window and yelled, "Dad -- gross!" A brown liquid was dripping down the back window -- diarrhea from an animal that just might have been caused by the stress of being inside a cage for 12 hours on top of a car going 60 mph.

And what did Romney do, even after knowing of the dog's diarrhea? Did he realize that perhaps Seamus should be shown some mercy, cleaned up and allowed in the car, to sleep on someone's lap?

No.

Here's how the Boston Globe newspaper described what Romney then did: "As the rest of the boys joined in the howls of disgust, Romney coolly pulled off the highway and into a service station. There he borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the highway. It was a tiny preview of a trait he would grow famous for in business: emotion-free crisis management."

"Emotion-free crisis management"??!

I love animals, especially dogs. I don't like people who are cruel to animals. I am told it is illegal in Massachusetts to put an animal on a car roof while driving. Had I been the local sheriff, I would have arrested him.

But I am a forgiving person. If today Romney, looking back, were to say, "You know, in retrospect, that was a cruel thing to do to our dog -- I was young, it was a long time ago, I am sorry" -- if he said that today, I'd forgive him.

But instead -- Romney being Romney -- he defaults into saying something utterly implausible. He recently told Fox's dog-loving Chris Wallace that Seamus actually loved it up there!

He then told Wallace that the dog was in an "air-tight container," not mentioning the diarrhea.

"Air-tight container"??!

This is the ultimate Purple Issue -- it cuts across Republicans, Democrats, blue states, red states, liberals and conservatives.

There are more than 78 million Americans who own one or more dogs -- about two out of every five households. A Google search of "Romney Dog on Car Roof" brought me 1,080,000 results.

I don't know how many of these 78 million dog owners (and thus, dog lovers) have yet heard or read about Romney doing this horrible thing, much less making his disingenuous claim that Seamus loved the experience on top of a speeding car for 12 hours, while his bowels turned to water.

But I'm thinking if this story gets out and stays out, there will be tens of millions of Google hits by next October. And I am also thinking that Romney is going to lose a lot of dog-lover votes on this issue alone, regardless of party or ideology.

Here's one dog lover's opinion -- mine: I think anyone who puts his dog in a cage on top of a car for a 12-hour drive and then deludes himself or tries to delude others that the dog really enjoyed it -- to me, with all due respect, I feel such a man shouldn't be president of the United States.

_______________________________________________



Thank Heavens dog lovers of all political stripes can vote their consciences against such outrages this November, thanks to Rusty the Dog and his Dogs Against Romney coalition which he began back during the Summer of 2007 and which he's reviving again.






Rusty has his own website at: http://www.dogsagainstromney.com/

As to Rusty the Dog's conclusion about the ever-changing story that Willard "Mitt" Romney offers to try to explain away how and why he strapped his pet Irish Setter to the top of the family car for a 12-hour cross-country trip to Canada: Rusty's says that Romney's ever-changing dog story "fails (his) sniff test" and leaves him feeling even more howling mad than ever before. After all, Romney didn't even offer Seamus the family dog a bathroom break during that entire 12-hour trip!


So, we shouldn't be surprised to see more and more dogs and dog lovers everywhere sporting Rusty's anti-Romney T-shirts like these in the coming weeks and months:











As in Love and War, all in Politics seems to be fair, regardless of Ronald Reagan's so-called Eleventh Commandment: "Though shalt not speak ill of another Republican." At least, that's the impression Willard "Mitt" Romney and his Super Pac friends have left with us over the past few weeks. In either case, dog lovers of every political stripe now have a bone to pick with Romney about his ever-changing story about that 1983 12-hour cross-country trip to Canada during which he strapped down the family dog to the top of the car roof.

And unfortunately for Willard "Mitt" Romney, he won't be able to buy off either Rusty or his master and put 'em out of business. Yes, Romney can complain about Rusty's barking; however, in Rusty's case, one can really say that his bark against Romney's cruelty to a canine really is worse than his bite!

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Well, I used to fish for Steelhead and hunt Elk. I also insisted on killing a rabbit that my stepsister wanted to adopt in order to make a very delicious rabbit stew.

Guess I'll never be President now.

This is an example of the stupid propaganda that I just can't stand. Deliberate attempt to tar and feather someone on an emotional level.

Goebbels would be proud.

Darilian

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Nazis already in a James thread? This can't end well...
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jmilum wrote:
Nazis already in a James thread? This can't end well...


Oh come on.

I clearly don't blame JAMES for this politicking.

Its PETA that I can't stand. But, they're the same ones who called the factory killing of animals as 'A Holocaust on Your Plate'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_rights_and_the_Holocaust...

Darilian
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I get the vague impression that Romney's first name is Willard, but that he goes by the nickname "Mitt".
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It's his middle name.
 
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Darilian wrote:
But, they're the same ones who called the factory killing of animals as 'A Holocaust on Your Plate'.


Such a delicious holocaust.
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Darilian wrote:
Its PETA that I can't stand.

Why not mention them rather than Goebbels? From the link you posted it seems that they enacted animal protection laws actually, was that your point? If so, then good show.
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jmilum wrote:
Darilian wrote:
Its PETA that I can't stand.

Why not mention them rather than Goebbels? From the link you posted it seems that they enacted animal protection laws actually, was that your point? If so, then good show.


Are you speaking as Jmilum, the person behind the keyboard, or Jmilum, BGG Moderator?

1). This stupid dog story is just an attempt to link an 'ewwww' response in people when they hear about Romney. Given that most Americans don't know that much about the man, and also given that Americans don't really research candidates that much, means that if this attempt is successful in derailing Romney (which I doubt, but that's another issue), then it just demonstrates the power of emotional appeals with visceral imagery.

The man who in the 20th Century best utilized and understood this type of propaganda technique was Goebbels. The comparison is direct and apropos. Merely change the word "Romney" to 'Jews' and the concept 'Left a dog on top of a car, dog hater' to 'Murders Gentiles and seduces Gentile girls' and functionally, you have the same argument. Its an irrational appeal to baser instincts for the sake of a political program.

2). Given that I've made it explicitly clear that I am neither blaming James for this post, attacking him FOR making this post, or in any other way breaking the rules of the site, I'm not sure why you're commenting on this. If you want to take me over whether or not my argument listed in 1) is valid or not- as Jmilum, the poster- sure! That sounds like fun.

But I will neither apologize for or retract my comments.

Darilian
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Dogs belong outside. While I didn't read the whole article, I'll just say that dogs travel fine outside the automobile in most weather. During hunting season here in Michigan, you often see dogs in crates in the back of trucks or even in crates hooked onto the trailer hitch. Trust me, hunting is serious up here, if it impaired the dog's ability to function, they wouldn't be doing it.

There are plenty of reasons to not like Romney, this isn't one of them.
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Darilian wrote:
Are you speaking as Jmilum, the person behind the keyboard, or Jmilum, BGG Moderator?

If I was going to accuse you of a violation, it would be in private, not public. If I was posting as an admin about a rules topic it would have been in red and in general not directed at you as again, directed comments would be done in private.
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Think about it," Tagg says, "a 12-hour drive and the only time we stop is to get gas. When we stop, you can buy your food and go to the bathroom, but that's the only time we're stopping, so you'd better get it all done at once.


Welcome to every trip I had as a kid.
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jmilum wrote:
Darilian wrote:
Are you speaking as Jmilum, the person behind the keyboard, or Jmilum, BGG Moderator?

If I was going to accuse you of a violation, it would be in private, not public. If I was posting as an admin about a rules topic it would have been in red and in general not directed at you as again, directed comments would be done in private.


Very good then.

So unless you have an actual rebuttal to my argument as to why I feel the comparison is justified, I'm done here.

Up Up and AWAAY!!



Darilian
 
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I don't want to play anymore. You killed my fun.
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jmilum wrote:
I don't want to play anymore. You killed my fun.


I've been told I'm a buzzkill.

Darilian
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μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος/ οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,/...
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tscook wrote:
Darilian wrote:
jmilum wrote:
Darilian wrote:
Are you speaking as Jmilum, the person behind the keyboard, or Jmilum, BGG Moderator?

If I was going to accuse you of a violation, it would be in private, not public. If I was posting as an admin about a rules topic it would have been in red and in general not directed at you as again, directed comments would be done in private.


Very good then.

So unless you have an actual rebuttal to my argument as to why I feel the comparison is justified, I'm done here.

Up Up and AWAAY!!



Darilian


Comparing PETA to Nazis is just another base emotional appeal, no matter how you gussy it up!


Actually he wasn't comparing PETA to Nazis but comparing a technique PETA used for a specific purpose to a technique the Nazis used for a purpose Darilian maintains is comparable. Please stay focused on the somewhat bizarre argument and pass the popcorn and/or (good) beer.
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tscook wrote:
Darilian wrote:
jmilum wrote:
Darilian wrote:
Are you speaking as Jmilum, the person behind the keyboard, or Jmilum, BGG Moderator?

If I was going to accuse you of a violation, it would be in private, not public. If I was posting as an admin about a rules topic it would have been in red and in general not directed at you as again, directed comments would be done in private.


Very good then.

So unless you have an actual rebuttal to my argument as to why I feel the comparison is justified, I'm done here.

Up Up and AWAAY!!



Darilian


Comparing PETA to Nazis is just another base emotional appeal, no matter how you gussy it up!



They're both a bunch of ultra-committed, ideological fascists, determined to radically remake the world along their lines, who feel that no political tactic is too low in order to further thier agenda.

No, its not an emotional appeal. It's a factual comparison.



But Moshe is more correct. I was directly comparing their tactics, which are functionally identical.

Acting like a Nazi doesn't make you a Nazi, per se. There are degrees and degrees here.

But I am sincere in that I don't just dislike PETA, I do, in fact, think that they are a political blight.

Darilian
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Darilian wrote:
Well, I used to fish for Steelhead and hunt Elk. I also insisted on killing a rabbit that my stepsister wanted to adopt in order to make a very delicious rabbit stew.


Are you seriously comparing killing animals for food with being cruel to animals?

Why don't you join PETA?
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Darilian wrote:
tscook wrote:
Darilian wrote:
jmilum wrote:
Darilian wrote:
Are you speaking as Jmilum, the person behind the keyboard, or Jmilum, BGG Moderator?

If I was going to accuse you of a violation, it would be in private, not public. If I was posting as an admin about a rules topic it would have been in red and in general not directed at you as again, directed comments would be done in private.


Very good then.

So unless you have an actual rebuttal to my argument as to why I feel the comparison is justified, I'm done here.

Up Up and AWAAY!!



Darilian


Comparing PETA to Nazis is just another base emotional appeal, no matter how you gussy it up!



They're both a bunch of ultra-committed, ideological fascists, determined to radically remake the world along their lines, who feel that no political tactic is too low in order to further thier agenda.

No, its not an emotional appeal. It's a factual comparison.



But Moshe is more correct. I was directly comparing their tactics, which are functionally identical.

Acting like a Nazi doesn't make you a Nazi, per se. There are degrees and degrees here.

But I am sincere in that I don't just dislike PETA, I do, in fact, think that they are a political blight.

Darilian


PETA is a political blight? Did I miss the part when they actually had any political power?
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Darilian wrote:
They're both a bunch of ultra-committed, ideological fascists, determined to radically remake the world along their lines, who feel that no political tactic is too low in order to further thier agenda.

No, its not an emotional appeal. It's a factual comparison.

Wake me when they strap you to the top of a cattle car.
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sbszine wrote:
Darilian wrote:
They're both a bunch of ultra-committed, ideological fascists, determined to radically remake the world along their lines, who feel that no political tactic is too low in order to further thier agenda.

No, its not an emotional appeal. It's a factual comparison.

Wake me when they strap you to the top of a cattle car.




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SpaceGhost wrote:
Quote:
Think about it," Tagg says, "a 12-hour drive and the only time we stop is to get gas. When we stop, you can buy your food and go to the bathroom, but that's the only time we're stopping, so you'd better get it all done at once.

Welcome to every trip I had as a kid.

? Did your dad strap your family dog or cat to the top of your car, too???




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Darilian wrote:
Well, I used to fish for Steelhead and hunt Elk.

Geez, talk about apples and oranges!

Hunters are excused for strapping down their deer or elk kill to the top of their cars to transport them home. However, that same practice is NOT appropriate for the transport of their hunting dogs and most especially not in the same/similar style as Willard "Mitt" Romney did in strapping down his Irish Settler, Seamus, to the top of his car for a 12-hour cross-country ride.

Moreover, strapping down the dead fish you caught to the top of your car is simply impractical in terms of time consumption and effort.


Darilian wrote:
I also insisted on killing a rabbit that my stepsister wanted to adopt in order to make a very delicious rabbit stew.

Well, as long as you weren't deliberately doing that just to upset your stepsister and as long as you genuinely enjoyed eating rabbit, I don't see what your point of contention is.


Darilian wrote:
Guess I'll never be President now.

At least not of PETA.


Darilian wrote:
This is an example of the stupid propaganda that I just can't stand. Deliberate attempt to tar and feather someone on an emotional level.



"A man's soul can be judged by how he treats his dog." -- Charles F. Doran, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of International Relations, director of the Global Theory and History Program & director of the Center for Canadian Studies.


Darilian wrote:
Goebbels would be proud.

Really? After what Hitler did to his dog Blondie and her pups???

But that only raises another "What If...?" question: How might Adolf Hitler himself have reacted upon learning that Willard "Mitt" Romney was transporting his pet dog Seamus strapped down on the top of his car on a 12-hour cross-country ride to Canada?

Despite the that fact that he euthanized his own dogs before committing suicide himself with Eva Braun, might Adolf Hitler have reacted like this (see YouTube link below) to the news about the way Romney transported his dog to Canada?




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ShreveportLAGamer wrote:
However, that same practice is NOT appropriate for the transport of their hunting dogs and most especially not in the same/similar style as Willard "Mitt" Romney did in strapping down his Irish Settler, Seamus, to the top of his car for a 12-hour cross-country ride.


He didn't strap the dog down like the carcass of a fresh kill. He put the dog in a box, and strapped the box to the roof.

Is there any reason to think that the dog wasn't taken out at each stop for petrol? If you've got a bunch of kids, it's pretty trivial to get one of them to exercise the dog a bit each time you stop, and makes the most sense.

The fact that people allow themselves to be manipulated by such mealy-mouthed and dishonest outrage bodes really badly for the chances of a world leader ever being elected on the basis of actual merit.
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KAndrw wrote:
ShreveportLAGamer wrote:
However, that same practice is NOT appropriate for the transport of their hunting dogs and most especially not in the same/similar style as Willard "Mitt" Romney did in strapping down his Irish Settler, Seamus, to the top of his car for a 12-hour cross-country ride.

He didn't strap the dog down like the carcass of a fresh kill. He put the dog in a box, and strapped the box to the roof.

Which does NOT mitigate matters whatsoever since the poor dog was subjected to adverse conditions which eventually made it so carsick that it got diarrhea.


KAndrw wrote:
Is there any reason to think that the dog wasn't taken out at each stop for petrol?

The way Romney children and his wife told the story to the reporter, the dog wasn't taken down from the top of the car until after its diarrhea episode when they stopped at a gas station to hose down the top of the car and the dog as well.


KAndrw wrote:
If you've got a bunch of kids, it's pretty trivial to get one of them to exercise the dog a bit each time you stop, and makes the most sense.

Not if the dog in question is in a box/carrier/crate securely tied to the top of the car.

Moreover, I've never heard of such an outrageous practice as putting a pet in a box/crate/carrier and strapping it to the very top of a wind-buffeted car roof. Indeed, it's *illegal* to transport dogs, cats, etc. that way in most, if not all, of the United States.


KAndrw wrote:
The fact that people allow themselves to be manipulated by such mealy-mouthed and dishonest outrage bodes really badly for the chances of a world leader ever being elected on the basis of actual merit.

"World leader"??? Just because the Republican establishment has pretty much settled on him as their anticipated Presidential candidate based on the results of only one state's Republican Presidential primary election, that does NOT mean that Willard "Mitt" Romney will become President.

Moreover, the reason that the story has been re-invigorated interest in the Romney dog misadventure must be attributed to none other than Mr. Willard "Mitt" Romney himself who keeps changing the details of that story about as a more than transparent attempt to try to make himself look better.

Indeed, Neil Swidey, the Boston Globe reporter who first reported the Romney dog story back in June 2007, recently wrote an opinion column about why it's had such legs (stay power) as to still be provocatively thought-provoking today.


> Excerpt from the January 8, 2012 opinion column by Boston Globe reporter Neil Swidey entitled:

What Our Fascination with Mitt Romney’s Dog Seamus Says about Our Culture

Seeking to penetrate the stock image of the air-brushed family, I had asked that friend (of the Romneys) what stories the Romneys reminisced about in the privacy of their own home. As soon as the Seamus road trip anecdote passed his lips, I knew it was a gem. But I was determined to avoid a situation where Romney’s handlers could call into question the anecdote — or the entire article — because I had gotten some small detail wrong.

So I insisted that (Romney's son) Tagg poll his mother and brothers and persisted until I had confirmed every last fact. Far from being tone-deaf, Tagg realized as I dug deeper that the story could cause his father grief. Yet Tagg’s participation actually helped his dad. After all, the first version of the story I’d heard from the family friend — who hadn’t been an eyewitness — improbably had Mitt driving the station wagon right through a carwash. Imagine the howls from PETA if Seamus had been introduced to the world with the image of high-pressure wraparound brushes pummeling a defenseless, diarrheal dog.

Some commentators have complained that I failed to show sufficient animal-rights indignation when I ushered in the Seamus story. Although I wrote that the diarrhea was “payback from an Irish setter who’d been riding on the roof in the wind for hours,” I had deliberately tried to play the anecdote straight so readers could draw their own conclusions. Still, it was no accident that I had chosen to open the lengthy front-page story — part of an exhaustive 2007 series on Romney — with Seamus. 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.

To me, Romney’s critics have focused on the wrong part of the anecdote. It’s not that Romney put his dog on the roof. Remember how different standards were in 1983. Back then, I was a kid sloshing around in the cargo section of my family’s station wagon, competing with my equally unbuckled younger sister to see how many passing truck drivers we could get to pull their horns. I’ll take the Romneys at their word that Seamus loved his alfresco rides. Hell, my dog loves doing all kinds of things I don’t, chief among them luxuriating in the stink of other dogs’ duffs.

What is beyond debate, though, is that this far into this particular trip, Seamus had ceased enjoying his ride. Faced with such irrefutable evidence, most people, I suspect, would have relented and let the ailing dog cram into the back of the wagon, even if logic dictated that cleaning up a repeat episode of his gastric distress would be a whole lot messier than if he were returned to the roof.

I think another reason for the story’s endurance is that Romney remains an enigma, the product of two of the most mysterious and least understood subcultures in the country: the Mormon Church and private-equity finance. So Seamus has become a shortcut for people trying to get a bead on a candidate whose image has shades of ageless businessman and Stepford husband. Ironically, behind the scenes, Romney showcases a sharp, agile mind. But when he’s engaged in retail politics before rolling cameras, he can seem as maladroit as he was during his first campaign back in 1994, when he approached a reluctant woman on the street to shake hands and said, “I know, you haven’t got your makeup on yet, right?” (Dumbfounded, she replied, “I do!”)

His awkward moments this campaign have included sidling up to a crusty older veteran in a New Hampshire diner and inveighing against gay marriage, only to learn later that the man’s husband was sitting across from him. The more Romney’s handlers try to control his environment and prevent him from going off script, the more people will hunt for flashes of unscripted behavior, whether that involves clumsy conversations with voters or the ham-fisted handling of a distressed dog half a lifetime ago.

If he’s not careful, I won’t be the only person who has to worry about Seamus making it into the lead paragraph of his obiturary someday.

_______________________________________________



Last night on her news-commentary show, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow gave an excellent appraisal, analysis and assessment explaining why the Romney dog story has such energy and significance this political season.


Part 1





Part 2





Yep, I think it's safe to say that when a politician resorts to continually changing the facts of an embassing story about himself in a vain and futile effort to try to exonerate his own stupidity and callousness, that dog won't hunt!

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