May 21, 2011

How not to become President, 4 years later

4 years ago, I wrote about the story told by Mitt Romney's son, Tagg, about the day the family strapped their Irish setter, Seamus, to the roof of their station wagon when they went on vacation. I said that Americans like their presidents to have dogs and to treat their dogs well. And I predicted that this story would come to haunt Mitt Romney.

I was right. In particular, NYT op-ed columnist Gail Collins seems to have made it her mission to mention Seamus-the-dog-on-the-roof every time she writes about Mitt Romney. She wrote about it in 2007 ("every time I see him, all I can think about is Seamus the dog"), in 2008 ("I’m going to have to get through the rest of the year without ever again referring to the fact that Romney once drove to Canada with the family dog, Seamus, strapped to the roof of the car."), in April of 2011 ("there is not a single mention in [Romney's book] 'No Apology' of the fact that Romney once drove to Canada with the family Irish setter strapped to the roof of the car"), and in her most recent quiz she brings up that fact
again.



Alas, she is not the only one who thinks that proudly announcing that one strapped the family dog to the roof of one's car on the way to Canada does not really demonstrate presidential qualities. There's even a blog called "Dogs against Romney." (Seamus himself is not one of them, he passed away.)

Edited to add: She has done it again! In her op-ed on 5/28/11, Gail Collins compares two potential GOP candidates, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, the Governor of Texas.
Who is this man called Rick? He is, in his own words, “the kind of guy who goes jogging in the morning packing a Ruger .380 with laser sights and loaded with hollow point bullets, and shoots a coyote that is threatening his daughter’s dog.” That really happened. In fact, it was possibly the high point of Perry’s political career. You can see the attraction. Try to imagine the Republican convention being asked to choose between Mitt Romney, who once drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of his car, and the guy who shot a puppy-eating coyote. With a Ruger .380 with laser sights!
In the end, however, she doesn't think too highly of the puppy-saving candidate either:
If Perry were elected president, perhaps he would do for the entire United States what he’s done for Texas, which ranks first in the nation in the percentage of the population without health insurance, and 45th in high school completion. We could return to grass-roots, state-driven environmental regulations, the kind that have made Texas the nation’s leader in clean-water permit violations, hazardous waste spills and toxic emissions from manufacturing facilities. But the coyotes would really have to watch out.

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