Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Having a Dog in the Race

Let's discuss this incident wherein Mitt Romney put his dog in a kennel strapped to the roof of his car for a 12-hour road trip with his family in 1983.  I just heard about this story today on NPR, which shows you how uninformed I am regarding the Presidential hopefuls and their pet catastrophes.  I am quite informed about the love affairs though (not Romney's).  Let me also make the disclaimer that I am not a Romney supporter.  I find him to be wishy washy.  Additionally, I question the sanity of anyone who has survived five sons.  He had to have been on drugs during some part of that endeavor.  And so, with all of that in mind, I'd like to submit three important considerations for people who are spending their time protesting by strapping stuffed dogs to the tops of their cars, making signs that say "Mitt is Mean," and just in general continuing to discuss this issue at all.

First of all, this happened in 1983.  I have clear memories of riding in the car with my family in 1983, when I was six.  They all involve me in one of three positions: (1) poised on top of the "hump" that was in between my parents in the front seat belting out Tammy Wynette songs at a volume much higher than the tape deck; (2) stretched out on the backseat reading; or even (3) crammed into the space between the back windshield and the top of the backseat applying lip gloss in an attempt to get my lips as shiny as Barbara Mandrell's.  My guess is that the five Romney boys in the back of the station wagon did NOT have on their seat belts in 1983.  People just didn't think about stuff like that back then.  So it seems completely understandable to me that they wouldn't have thought twice about putting the dog on top since the children were likely not belted in.  At least the kennel was strapped down.

Second of all, in the interview with Fox News, Romney stated that the dog in the air-tight kennel was no doubt more comfortable than he would've been in the back of the car with the five boys.  I tend to agree with that -- I mean, given the choice of being in the crowded back of a station wagon with the five fighting brothers, I might prefer my own quiet space.  But I'm not sure I would want to be in an "air-tight" quiet space.  How did the poor dog breathe?  Never mind the roof issue ... am I wrong that "air-tight" typically means that no air can get in or out?  Why aren't the animal rights people concerned about this detail?

And third of all, this business about how the dog pooped up there in the kennel and then the Romneys stopped and simply "hosed him off and put him right back up there" seems to be one of the most ridiculous details of the case.  How else could you wash the poop off of a dog on a road trip?  What other options are there with regard to cleaning poop off an animal at a service station or rest area?  While I have no experience with freshening up canines, I do have plenty of extended experience cleaning vomit and fecal matter off of children on road trips.  Let's just say that using a hose would've been WAY more sanitary and humane than some of the things I have done simply for the sake of not getting too far behind schedule.

IT IS A DOG.  DOG'S WILL EAT THEIR OWN VOMIT.  THEY WILL EAT OTHER ANIMALS FECES.  HOW IS THIS AN ISSUE IN AN AMERICAN PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN?!?!?!?!?!?

Don't these people know that Dick Cheney transports his hunting dogs in the back of a pickup?
{GASP!}

Moreover, why did W's dog Barney not wear a bullet-proof vest when they were out for jogs?
{THE HORROR!}

And finally, why hasn't our current president mandated pet insurance as part of Obamacare?
{SHOULDN'T EVERYDOG HAVE IT?!}

Now, admittedly, I do like cats better, but that doesn't mean that I have a vendetta against dogs.  And I certainly don't have any particularly strong feelings against Romney's dog.  But I do have an interest in American politics, and I'd prefer it if this ridiculous issue weren't clouding the reality of what makes someone a good leader.  In fact, this is one of the worst red herrings I've ever seen on such a high level.  While the Syrians and Egyptians and Iranians and countless others are being persecuted, tortured, and killed by their government officials, we are sitting over here fixated on how one of our potential officials chose to treat his dog during a vacation that occurred twenty-nine years ago.

Really?

Forget liberty.  Give me relevance, or give me death!

Onward & upward (but not as far upward as the roof of your car),
~k

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