June 30, 2007

Did Mitt Romney torture his dog?

This cruelty to animals story has legs... and a tail... and loose bowels.... This is the clearest example ever of smearing a candidate with shit. You know the story. Romney transported his dog in some sort of container that was affixed to the top of his station wagon, and the dog got diarrhea that the family became aware of when one of the kids saw it dribbling down the window.
“If you wouldn’t strap your child to the roof of your car, you have no business doing that to the family dog! I don’t know who would find that acceptable,” [said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk]....

While PETA doesn’t take a position on any candidate, Ingrid offered up the theory that Mitt may have “what neurologists call an ‘absence of the mirror neuron,’ a physiological condition in the brain which means they cannot feel basic compassion.”
Isn't it quite standard to plant the idea that Republicans lack feeling? I was just reading this review of a biography of Condoleezza Rice ("Twice as Good: Condoleezza Rice and Her Path to Power," by Marcus Mabry). The reviewer, Jonathan Freedland, tells us the reader feels "oddly estranged" from Rice, not through any fault of the author's, but because of the "chilly steel he finds" in her heart:
His search for vulnerabilities or doubt reveals only a cold, unwavering self-discipline. One of the book’s most telling moments comes when the 17-year-old Rice realizes, after surrendering her childhood to the goal of becoming a concert pianist, that she is not, after all, good enough. Her teacher ruled that while “technically competent ... she was too detached emotionally to be a great pianist.” She needed “disciplined abandon”: she had the discipline all right, she just couldn’t let herself go. Yet even this major blow barely troubles her. She simply decides to pursue another goal....

The former arms inspector David Kay calls her the worst national security adviser since the office was created, and the verdict seems harsh but not wholly unwarranted.

Rice’s defense would rest on her extraordinary presentational skills, her fluency and poise under inquisitorial fire. So what if she is more a synthesizer of others’ ideas than an original thinker, runs this logic; she has a sure political touch. Except even that is in doubt. Caught shopping for shoes in New York as the corpses floated in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, Rice explained that “I didn’t think about my role as a visible African-American national figure. I just didn’t think about it.” Given what we know of her upbringing, that isn’t psychologically surprising — but it showed a political tin ear.
So heartless and cold, these Republicans... who will, of course, take every opportunity to say that Democrats are so mushily sentimental they can't even think.

UPDATE: From Ann Romney's blog:
Surprise, surprise, the media didn't get the dog story right. Our dog Seamus rode in an ENCLOSED kennel, not in the open air. And he loved it. Every time he saw it, he jumped up on the tailgate, walked in, and lay down. It was just like the kennel he curled up in at home.
The dog wasn't in an exposed cage.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Is this wrong?

142 comments:

GeorgeH said...

More proof Romney is really a democrat.

Republicans object to nanny state programs to help the peepul, but take care of their employees (and pets).

Democrats are all for big government programs (social Security, mandatory dog neutering), just as long as they aren't expected to actually pay SS taxes on their household employees or spend a dime on their animals.

Bissage said...

(1) I'm curious to know how the foul stuff made its way out of the pet carrier. They're designed to contain such substances.

(2) Assuming it was cruelty to animals, Romney wouldn't be the first government offical to commit the offense.

(3) NTTAWWT.

sidhra said...

Romney gave Fido the runs by strapping his cage to the roof rack. LBJ picked his beagle up by its ears. Politicians of all stripes are animal torturers, I guess.

ntodd said...

That cinches it, then: I am totally not going to vote for LBJ in 08.

Nancy Willing said...

Oy

Apologists for cruelty - spin it -the DEMs fault.
did you say you had a psych background Ann?
And no, time on the couch does not count.

AJ Lynch said...

Ann:

That is a very funny line you wrote ..."smearing a politician with poop".

Do you think the dog ever recovered or did it run away from the cruel Romney clan heh? Wonder if anyone took the stray dog in? ..."oh what a cute little shit-covered pooch you are?...where is your big bad owner- what did that mean man do to scare the crap out of you? "

Ann- consider writing a serious post examining why libs have no sense of humor will you? PETA kooks could be Exhibit 1 , Simels could be Exhibit 2, etc.

Bissage said...

I don't see how properly securing a pet carrier to the roof of a station wagon, properly sheltering it from the wind, was cruel.

Maybe it was negligent if the increased distance from the tires increased unreasonably the risk of motion sickness. I don't think the difference would have mattered very much.

Besides, we've had pets and kids poop and hurl in the car. It happens.

I hope people aren't bent out of shape because the roof thing implies "second-class citizenship."

Abandonment issues? Then leave the dog in a kennel. That's better?

Mike said...

... who will, of course, take every opportunity to say that Democrats are so mushily sentimental they can't even think.

"It's a fair cop."

Bissage said...

But society is to blame!

AJ Lynch said...

The oh so funny Simels said:

"Posted by an idiot who's admiration for another idiot is too close to cult membership for comfort."

But we are organized. ....Ann and I are charter Members of Amalgated Union of Morons, Local 6 & 7/8ths.

Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk.

Internet Ronin said...

His initial action and subsequent behavior demonstrates a lack of both judgment and compassion. That someone in his family thought this demonstrated a positive aspect of his personality and repeated the story to the press is astounding.

For some reason, this post reminds me of Ann's contemptuous dismissal of Congressional hearings into the adulteration of pet food by Chinese companies. We now know that such adulteration by Chinese companies is not confined to animal food but extends to human food supplies,medicines, and even toothpaste shipped worldwide. Far from being just an isolated accident involving dumb animals, it was early evidence of what turns out to be a systemic intentional disregard for human life that has caused the death or injury of thousands worldwide. In hindsight, those congressional hearings don't look so silly after all. But then, I didn't think they were at the time.

Beth said...

I don't see anything unfair or inaccurate in either characterization. Transporting an animal atop a car is dumb, and Condi's detachment from Katrina was spooky. I don't think either has to do with being Republican, if that matters.

Ann Althouse said...

Beth: It's just the way the stories caught on that I'm talking about. I'm sure there's an anecdote for every politician that would show them behaving in an insensitive way. The question is which ones stick.

reader_iam said...

Is it a smear in the classic sense if the story was something offered by the subject or a family member, and it is legitimately open to interpretation?

I understand that people view this in different ways. But I think the word "smear" may be misplaced in this case (as far as Romney goes, not the car); I'd prefer to reserve it for situations in which it better applies. Let's not dumb that term down.

ricpic said...

Crush the insensitive! Crush them utterly!!

dbp said...

This whole episode reminds me of that scene from "Vacation" where the Griswalds are pulled over because the cop sees a leash tied to their car...

From what I have observed, dogs like the breese and love to put their heads out the window. Most humams prefir the windows shut and the AC on, so it seems like a win-win solution.

The problem with folks like PETA is that they think animals are essentially humans with fur. They neither understand human, nor animal nature.

dbp

sidhra said...

Transporting an animal atop a car is dumb

Also illegal in Massachusetts. The truth, as opposed to "truthiness" is not a smear. Spreading lies about a political opponent is.

Internet Ronin said...

dbp: If you want to know the truth, talk to a veterinarian. Most dogs are not interested in enjoying the breeze for 12 straight hours.

dbp said...

I would like to know what kind of car can go 12 straight hours without stopping. Let alone passangers who can go that long between rest stops.

dbp

Paco Wové said...

"Condi's detachment from Katrina was spooky."

Damn Michael Brown all you want, but I never understood why the National Security Advisor was supposed to don sackcloth because of a natural disaster. Presumably, if she had gone out for a nice dinner, that would have been awful too. Maybe she just needed some shoes?

Paco Wové said...

...and yes, Romney should have just put his dog in a kennel, if the alternative was to treat the dog the way he reportedly did.

Freder Frederson said...

I don't see how properly securing a pet carrier to the roof of a station wagon, properly sheltering it from the wind, was cruel.

I highly doubt that a home made contraption could "properly" shelter the dog from the wind. Regardless, there is still the question of the summer sun beating down on the metal roof of the car on a long drive. You ever try to sit on a car that has been out in the sun? The whole incident, as reported, belies a serious lack of compassion and judgment, as does Condi Rice shopping for shoes in the aftermath of Katrina. But of course, the current crop of Republicans seem to lack any moral compass or sense of compassion, in spite of their claims to be the party of family values and morality.

Pogo said...

Here's hopin' Fred Thompson wasn't mean to his dog, iffen he gots one.

Internet Ronin said...

Then leave the dog in a kennel. That's better?

Yes.

Here's hopin' Fred Thompson wasn't mean to his dog, iffen he gots one.

LOL! Probably rented one, like that red pick-up truck ;-)

Jeff said...

"The whole incident, as reported, belies a serious lack of compassion and judgment, as does Condi Rice shopping for shoes in the aftermath of Katrina. But of course, the current crop of Republicans seem to lack any moral compass or sense of compassion, in spite of their claims to be the party of family values and morality."

So true. Does anyone know what the Secretary of Energy was doing during Katrina? How about the Department of Energy? Commerce? I bet we would discover a trend there. Not like during the Clinton years where every single employee of the government from the White House on down was bagging sand during the floods of '93. Those people had heart, damn it.

P. Rich said...

The roof of a moving vehicle will be cooled by air flow, reaching and maintaining approximately air temperature, as would anything on the roof exposed to the flow. That's basic thermodynamics and fluid mechanics, which of course Liberals don't study given the lack of touchy-feely subject content. Heh.

Is it possible that this has occurred in the past with no harm to the dog?

Pogo said...

Is it time for a Romney Checkers speech?

Thompson: "I ain't never put my rented lab on my rented truck. Lessen it's fer pictures."

Jeff said...

"For the record, Romney said Thursday that his dog liked being on the roof. "He scrambled up there every time we went on trips," he said at a campaign stop in Pittsburgh, the AP reported."

Stupid dog. If he could only read blogs he would know how much he really hated that.

Bruce Hayden said...

According to Romney family lore, Mitt tied Seamus, an Irish Setter, to the station wagon’s roof rack in a carrier before heading off to Lake Huron. He had, according to the Boring Ones, fashioned the carrier with a windscreen “to make the ride more comfortable for the dog.”

I was wondering who from PITA was along on the ride, so I went and reread the article. And, apparently it is based on "Romney Family lore", which is apparently as reputable as it gets.

So, everyone is going to tar Gov. Romney because of something is likely inadmissible in court.

Besides, he supposedly installed a windscreen for the dog. That showed concern.

Seriously though, the fact that this story is likely not be able to be collaborated (after all, which of his kids is going to admit this, if it means not being able to visit the parents in the White House?), means that this is likely a smear.

Ann Althouse said...

How about the way they transport horses and cattle? It's not very pleasant, but we don't regard it with outrage. I'm sure some excrement emerges in the process.

Also, dogs like to stick their head out of the car and maximize the wind flow, so it's anthropomorphic to assume the dog hated it. I really don't think shit is that eloquent.

Bissage said...

Freder, as I understand it, to be “cruel” is to intentionally inflict suffering to obtain pleasure. It is a colloquial way of saying “sadistic.”

What Romney did might have been negligent, as I noted, although, I confess, the sun aspect did not occur to me. Still, it might have been a cool, overcast day. The burden is on the accusers and let us not presume facts not in evidence.

That said, I’m happy to see commenters, here, erring on the side of kindness toward animals. I’m a softie, as people who understand my comments can tell. By the same token, however, I am disinclined to presume the worst in people.

I should note that I would never put our dog on the roof – not in any situation I can imagine – even if the nuclear power plant exploded and we had to flee or fry. But we treat our dog as a member of the family. I’m well aware that most people do not and the standard is that of an ordinarily reasonable person. Norms and all that.

P.S. We just came from the vet’s this morning and paid $175 for a check-up. I’m happy to have the scratch to be able to pay it. You could hand that sum to many people and ask them to take their dog to the vet and they’d smile and put it in their pocket. Oh, well.

Bissage said...

For what it's worth, I think it is "cruel" to abandon your dog to a kennel. We've never done it. Either the dog comes with us, . . ., or we don't go. It's as simple as that.

How does the dog understand that you're coming back?

I once had to leave one of our cats at the vet's overnight and then for a day after that. I showed up first thing in the morning with presents for him and the other cats.

I honestly believe he found that a comfort.

I got all choked up.

Internet Ronin said...

And, apparently it is based on "Romney Family lore", which is apparently as reputable as it gets.

So, everyone is going to tar Gov. Romney because of something is likely inadmissible in court.


Gee, Bruce, I had no idea that only things admissable in court were worthy of discussion. We are all suitably chastened. Romney was "tarred" by this only because someone in his family told the story (to illustrate another point than the one most people have taken). The law of unintended consequences at work, I think. Or maybe someone in his family really does have it in for him. Maybe Romney dislikes himself, because he has already corroborated the gist of the story.

Internet Ronin said...

How about the way they transport horses and cattle? It's not very pleasant, but we don't regard it with outrage. I'm sure some excrement emerges in the process.

Also, dogs like to stick their head out of the car and maximize the wind flow, so it's anthropomorphic to assume the dog hated it. I really don't think shit is that eloquent.


No offense, but I really do think that argument borders on the absurd

Naked Lunch said...

You morons seriously don't see anything wrong with strapping the family dog atop a station wagon for a road trip and having it literally shitting its pants down the windows as a result? This is even a bit much for the goo brains that frequent here. Really.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I'm thinking Seamus is long since dead as this happened in 1983.

What's the statute of limitations on shatty dog stories?

Paco Wové said...

"the family dog ... literally shitting its pants"

N.L., you are confused, either about the concept "literally", or the concept "pants" (or perhaps both, can't tell).

Luckyoldson said...

would anyone here put their dog in a cage, on top of a moving car?

reader_iam said...

Naked: it seems to me that there's more diversity of opinion than your generalized "comment" credits.

Typical.

(Oh, and I LOVE my iPhone!!! My Lord, it rocks! I was a skeptic, but I am so glad DH talked me into it. Just for today, he can be as all "I told you so" as he likes.

/OT)

Bissage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ruth Anne Adams said...

Do you think loose shits sink Mitt?

Bissage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bissage said...

Blogger won't let me do a proper link so I'll say it without:

For dog lovers looking for a good tear-jerker, Bissage recommends the 2005 remake of "Lassie."

There!

Mr.Murder said...

Romney's own campaign determined this to be an example of his steely resolve in crisis management.

Ann you said the media jumped on this unflattering point.

His campaign staff placed it in the record.

Yet your own persecution complex assigns this as a smear campaign.

He bragged about his dog shitting itself at 60mph on the roof of his car for 12 hours.

You see this as proof someone else is out to smear him, not as a major malfunction in Romney's own competency and psychological makeup.

I heard that he drove the car for another hour just to keep from scaring the kids.(/9-11)

Richard Fagin said...

Cold, unwavering self-discipline is what makes all successful people, well, successful. Or to borrow a quote from the father of another successful African-American, "Successful people do the things that other people won't do." Not ca't do - WON'T do. So of course the charaterization of Republican candiates as cruel sticks. In a day and age of interminable adolescence, anything resembling discipline is thought of as cruel.

Susan said...

For dog lovers looking for a good tear-jerker, Bissage recommends the 2005 remake of "Lassie."

Or 2000's My Dog Skip.

As for the question of whether I would strap my dog to the roof of the car: Some dogs like to ride motorcycles or ride in the basket of a bicycle. My border collie, on the other hand, totally freaks if I try to so much as get her to sit in a wagon and let me pull her around the yard. So, no, I don't think riding on the top of a car would be her thing.

blake said...

Lassie

My Dog Skip

To link, use

a href="http://yoururl.com"

in angle brackets, followed by the text you want to show, followed by:

/a

in angle brackets. Substituting square brackets, a link looks like this:

[a href="www.google.com"]Google it![/a]

Luckyoldson said...

Susan said..."As for the question of whether I would strap my dog to the roof of the car: Some dogs like to ride motorcycles or ride in the basket of a bicycle."

i have a lab who loves to stick his head out the windows, but he has a tendency to pullback once we reach a speed of 50-70 mph. (i think it may be the tiny pebbles, etc. that hit him in the nose.)

*as for mitt...i find it hard to believe his entire family would go along with a dog, in a cage on top of the car, driving for hours on end...but the story does appear to be true.

Bissage said...

(1) Thanks, Susan. Consider it rented.

(2) Thanks, blake. Consider it learned.

(2) Everyone else, consider this. I’ve been thinking (always a dangerous thing) and I think any argument that denigrates the proud tradition of riding "up on the top" evidences invidious discrimination against a proud American tradition, . . ., yes, . . ., that’s right, . . ., you, . . ., are an anti-Hillbilly-ite!!!

Well, the first thing you know, ol’ Mitt’s a candidate.
The media said, "No, you’re a piece of shit."
They said, Massachusetts is the state you oughtn’t leave.
'Cause you lost the dog vote, there’s no presidency.

LoafingOaf said...

Ronin: this post reminds me of Ann's contemptuous dismissal of Congressional hearings into the adulteration of pet food by Chinese companies.

Yeah, Prof. Althouse was extremely misguided in her mockery of the media coverage and hearings related to the ongoing pet food scandal.

She mocked it at the very moment pet owners were scambling to figure out what foods in our supermarkets were still safe, and were dependant on the media to get that info. I recall her suggesting that the media was being ridiculous to cover the story of "just a few" cats and dogs getting sick and dying.

Every day since has brought more revelations that have, as you point out, extended to a long list of poisonous, unsafe products for humans.

It's too bad Althouse's coldness towards pet lovers and her desire to look down on them caused her to not understand the seriousness of that story. All she could see was pet owners who loved their animals "too much."

But she had every right to comment on how ridiculous she, personally, found Senator Byrd for getting emotional while talking about how much his dog means to an old timer like himself.

Now we're presented with a Senator who idiotically strapped his dog to the roof of his car for a 12 hour car trip and thought this made him sound good. Althouse is worried dog lovers will think badly of him.

Well, I have every right to take this as one more indicator that Mitt Romney is a jack-ass, since only a huge jack-ass would even consider strapping his dog to the roof of his car for 12 hours, let alone actually doing it.

Cedarford said...

Lets look at the time 1983 - Mitt before he hit the big bucks, or just "frugal" still takes his family (8 people) to vacation in West Ontario. No room in the wagon for a dog. Apparantly no US authorities OR what liberals consider "morally superior" Canadians had a problem with this.

25 years ago, the Safety Nazis and PETA were much less a hectoring pain - and people and kids and dogs loved riding in the back of pickup trucks, especially down South and out West.

In the Service, almost 20 years ago, we gave a ride to an Hispanic Marine, wife and his two dogs in a Chevy S-10 pickup from San Diego to San Antonio on a "give a Buddy a Ride" - so they could attend to a family emergency.
Other than the wife riding shotgun a little bit, and rest stops where the couple and pets pounded down chow and water and expelled the remnants of the same, it was a dawn to near dark ride.
The Marine and the two dogs were in face to the wind bliss the whole time, the wife, less so but she didn't bitch much except about her ass getting sore.

Others have bought up that horses, cattle, poultry ride in open cages similar distances.

Get past the "Griswalds" and you have a pretty nogistalic, typical tale of Americans in an overpacked station wagon or van or SUV on their summer vacation trip..

Although you've got to wonder about the Romney kid that told this one as an example of his intellectually gifted Harvard Law, Harvard MBA, Crisis Fixer, Situational/Opportunity Master of Complexity Dad.

"Another reason to vote for my Dad is that he is smart enough to hose down a crapped up dog and car and diplomatic enough not to offend delicate Canadian sensibilities at customs about shit-dripping vehicles. My Dad. Hero."

Past the PETA nuts, the story may work well to "humanize" Mitt. No Lear Jet, on family vacation in a packed vehicle Just Like Us! Dog was in heaven like our dog is whenever it can put it's fool head out. Billionaire who changes diapers on his grandkids, hoses off dog shit himself, can't cook for anything but will make pancakes whenever he can get away with it.

Contrast to Hillary, Kerry - anyone imagine that they would hose dog shit off their vehicle personally? That is what flunkies are for.

Obama though...he and Mike Huckabee I could see at a rest stop laughing doing the same thing kids licking Tasty-freezes warning Dad - watch it! watch it! He's going to shake himself soon!

Rudy I could see doing it, enjoying it, but yelling "bad dog!" the whole time.

The final words of wisdom are that the dog was an Irish Setter. If there is any breed of dog dumb enough to enjoy the same 12-hour experience repeatedly, like each time was the first it remembered doing.....it is the Irish Setter. If there is one type of dog whose brain would NOT get bored and tired of the same thing hour after hour, it is the Irish Setter.

The Drill SGT said...

Bissage.

a good link

Cedarford said...

Smarter or more compassionate than the Romney family "Lucky Olds" sez:

as for mitt...i find it hard to believe his entire family would go along with a dog, in a cage on top of the car, driving for hours on end...but the story does appear to be true.

8 people in a station wagon. I guess the kid who objected would have to take the dog's place.

My wife leaned the other way..."but...but...they should have MADE room!" But I hit her with a sore subject - again - she loves pets but one time travelling with her carsick kids on vacation from a previous marriage --got so distracted she stopped in Florida, went into a restaurant,got the kids settled down, forgot about the kids two hamsters left inside the car. Which both died of heat stroke in under an hour. "If only you had done what Mitt did, sweetheart, those 2 little innocent furry ones might have lived!"

The Exalted said...

Ann Althouse said...
How about the way they transport horses and cattle? It's not very pleasant, but we don't regard it with outrage. I'm sure some excrement emerges in the process.


uh, most people tend to treat their treasured pets differently than cattle.

but thanks for pointing out how commercial animals destined for slaughter are transported, it was so apropos!

Eli Blake said...

It seems odd that you would raise this objection.

Three short years ago, John Kerry was castigated as being too 'cerebral, detached' while George Bush was supposed to be 'nicer.'

But as long as you pledge not to reverse course again if Hillary Clinton is the nominee (since most of the knocks from the right I've seen on her are of the first variety.)

The Exalted said...

also, ann, your insinuation that this story is a "smear" that was "planted" by the big bad liberal press is astoundingly absurd, even for your blog.

the story came from romney's family, who apparently, somehow, thought it reflected positively on the candidate. and it was reported in a massive love letter to romney in the boston globe that could have written by the romney campaign.

but again, thanks for trying.

Bissage said...

Sarge, thank you very much.

I appreciate your thoughtfulness.

LoafingOaf said...

"Successful people do the things that other people won't do." Not ca't do - WON'T do.

You can't be a leader of a country and be a person with much feeling for others. We need people to be our leaders and act or else we probably wouldn't have an America at all, but they are a pretty inhuman breed of humans. They are people who play with other people's lives and take actions that will cause suffering. Even the warmest leaders probably have to be colder than most people to both get to their position and be successful leaders.

If they thought about it too much they would be tormented into inaction and paralysis. A leader is a good leader if he/she makes decisions on what needs to be done and then does them, and then those actions prove to have positive results. But leaders view us coldly as a mass of humanity and the world as a chess board.

When Bill Clinton bombed a medicine factory in Sudan he said was worried about the janitor who died because of his order. I don't believe Clinton had much concern about that (he was just cribbing from a Michael Douglas movie, American President), or for all the people in Sudan who would not have medicines. But I often wonder how much a Commander in Chief does allow himself to think about the "collateral damage" that comes with his decisions. The fact they call it "collateral damage" proves they are cold-hearted people. It was shocking when I saw Albright on CNN in the lead up to Operation Desert Fox respond to a question about all the Iraqis who were dying because of the failed sanctions and oil for food program. It was obvious she never really thought about the individual lives out there, just told herself "it was worth it" and then walks away with a happy smile.

Sometimes I give approval to military actions and sometimes I don't, but I know I would be unfit to be a Commander in Chief because when the time came to pull the trigger and act I'd be paralyzed. Let history judge how good someone like Albright was as a leader; I'm just saying they are all an inhuman breed of humans.

Craig Ranapia said...

“If you wouldn’t strap your child to the roof of your car, you have no business doing that to the family dog! I don’t know who would find that acceptable,” [said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk]....

Well, thanks for that clear thinking, Ingrid. I guess I shouldn't have put to sleep my 18 year-old cat, which was riddled with cancer and in constant pain, because (of course) I wouldn't do the same to a human being.

And Romney is the one who lacks fraking compassion?

John Stodder said...

I'm sure there's an anecdote for every politician that would show them behaving in an insensitive way. The question is which ones stick.

This Romney story just flat-out disgusted me and came not as a confirmation of a character trait, but instead as a total surprise. It is just wrong to do what he did.

I've read the various rationalizations-- comparing the dog to a horse in a trailer, finding the erection of a windscreen evidence of compassion, pointing out there was no room in the crowded car for the dog--and they just don't fly.

The roof of a car is not a stable, safe place for anyone to ride, pet included. The roof of the car is for inanimate objects like surfboards or skis. It's not the same thing as a trailer for the obvious reason that it is much farther off the ground and is far more subjected to motion, wind, heat and cold.

This story doesn't "confirm" anything I thought I knew about Romney. I had no impression of Romney as "cold." He seemed like a decent guy, actually. A little too far to the right to get my vote, but not someone I was ready to loathe.

No, my reaction to this story was shock. I assumed at first it was a joke or an urban myth. When I found out the Romney family spread this story and saw nothing wrong with it, I was doubly shocked.

If I found out a friend had done something like this, I would have to reconsider whether I could still be their friend. I imagine a lot of Romney-inclined Republicans will feel the same way. Contrary to some, I don't think Republicans are all steely, hard-hearted, etc. I think they are mostly people of compassion, who will also find this story sickening.

Internet Ronin said...

Bissage: I paid a visit to the veterinarian today as well.It sounds like I took twice as many animals but only paid half as much as you. ;-)

Naturally, this subject came up. Strangely enough, the three licensed professionals there have discussed it. They all agree that they would never recommmend doing such a thing. "Dumb," "inhumane," and "unnecessary endangerment" are just a few of the terms used to describe this idea.

(In fact, they are not particularly fond of people who encourage their dogs to lean out car windows, perhaps because it is they who have to try and stitch them back together when the animal falls out, or is injured by flying road debris, or administer the lethal injection when nothing else can be done. Apparently, such injuries, particularly to the eyes, are much more common than I thought.)

Beth said...

Ann, they stick when the stories go beyond "insensitive" to "what on earth were they thinking?"

Luckyoldson said...

cedar says: "25 years ago, the Safety Nazis and PETA were much less a hectoring pain - and people and kids and dogs loved riding in the back of pickup trucks, especially down our trip.South and out West."

i find it hard to believe anyone with a brain bigger than a walnut would put their dog or cat into a cage that's on the roof of the car...then take a 12 hour drive. (i've had many dogs and cats over the years and have never heard of anyone ever doing it.)

also, there are approximately 100,000 dogs killed every year, after being thrown out of the back of pickup truck beds...because they aren't tethered. (it's a law in california...probably 'cause of dem damn "safety nazis"...trying to protect animals.)

who the hell do they think they is??

David53 said...

10 years ago in the mediumed-sized Texas city where I used to live there was this idiot who would drive around town with his Great Dane prancing on the top of his pickup cab. Not the bed of the pickup, the dog was loose on top of the extended cab. I saw him on two different occasions going the other way. I don't know why he wasn't arrested but it was quite a site. The dog appeared to be loving it.

Ann Althouse said...

Can someone provide support for the assertion that the dog was in a cage as opposed to a more protected carrier?

I don't accept the idea asserted about that it's acceptable to be cruel to an animal that is destined for slaughter (and I don't think PETA does either).

Finally, I've seen horses in transport that were not en route to slaughter. They are dragged along behind cars in semi-enclosed trailers. And many people are very sentimental about their horses.

Ann Althouse said...

Ah, here, from Ann Romney's blog: "Surprise, surprise, the media didn't get the dog story right. Our dog Seamus rode in an ENCLOSED kennel, not in the open air. And he loved it. Every time he saw it, he jumped up on the tailgate, walked in, and lay down. It was just like the kennel he curled up in at home."

I'm putting that in an update on the post, with a link.

Luckyoldson said...

Ann Althouse said..."Can someone provide support for the assertion that the dog was in a cage as opposed to a more protected carrier?"

ann, it was probably a reinforced carrier, plastic, with stainless steel mesh across the front.

it really doesn't matter what it was...putting a dog or cat on top of the car and blasting down the highway is moronic at best.

*but, hey...why not have someone put YOU into a box, place it on the roof of your car...and take a cruise over to green bay.

and be sure to let us know how everything turns out...

Luckyoldson said...

ann,
the "enclosed" kennel is exactly what i described.

a plastic box with stainless steel mesh across the front. i've used them for transporting dogs via the ailines on many occasions...but...they've never let the dog RIDE ON TOP OF THE PLANE.

Beth said...

Ann, are you trying to compare a crate or cage (I don't care which) strapped atop a car to a horse trailer? That's crazy.

Horse trailers are designed with shock absorption so the animal stands securely -- it's a stable, flat, secure ride, unlike a crate strapped to a luggage rack. It's secured to the truck with a trailer hitch, not a bungee cord or a luggage rack strap. I've used my rack during many travels, and stuff shifts up there.

My cartop carrier is a soft vinyl thing, and by the end of a day it's changed shape under the force of the air currents. It's easy to look at that and see just how strong the wind is at 60 or plus mph, and at the that height. A horse trailer's air vents allow air flow but the louvers prevent air and debris from flying directly into the face of the animal, unlike the wire door of a dog crate.

This story has legs not because of some evil liberal media bias, but because it strikes a chord with people. Unfortunately for Romney, it shows him to be a colossal ass.

Internet Ronin said...

Beth wrote:

A horse trailer's air vents allow air flow but the louvers prevent air and debris from flying directly into the face of the animal, unlike the wire door of a dog crate.

Funny you should mention that. One of the vets this morning said almost the exact same thing!

Luckyoldson said...

beth,
you're absolutely right. horses are also tethered in such a way that they cannot move forward or backwards to alleviate potential injury.

i've discussed this story with a number of my fellow animal-loving friends and it always takes some time to get them actually believe the story is true.

they think it's some kind of internet lore, but once they understand it to be true, they're socked that anyone, much less someone running or president, would even consider doing such a thing.

Internet Ronin said...

Beth, we're wrong. Who cares about silly things like dogs in containers strapped to a car roof while it flies down the highway? It doesn't say anything about someone's judgment. Heaven's no! This is normal behavior! It happens all the time - millions do it every year - probably a couple of hundred thousand are out there on the road right this minute! (The fact that no one around here admits to having done, much less seen, such a thing in their lifetime is irrelevant.) Why, there are tens of thousands of photos on the internet of regular folks posing with Fido strapped inside his carrier on the roof of the car. Yes indeed.

Internet Ronin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luckyoldson said...

ronin,
i think that "starter series 1100" looks like something ann might like to try out for her trip to green bay.

it affords the passenger a nice 360 degree view, plenty of fresh air...and any excrement would literally fly away...right into any cars that choose to tailgate.

Joe said...

Wow, the self-righteousness of many posters kills me. I'll wager that I could dig up the most embarrassing dirt on every one of you who is "offended". Save for infants, there isn't a soul on this earth that hasn't done something really dumb.

(I still remember riding around without seat belts. Oh, my evil, awful parents. And the cruelty of staying in Motel 6 in the 70s [they are much improved now.])

Cedarford said...

Beth - a little mechanics for you. You claim that it's ok for horses because the trailer is on shocks and it is a stable ride. Explain why a dog on a roof mounted on 4 shocks would have any less stable ride than the passengers inside. There is not some magical discontinuity of physics that begins on car roofs. And if your cargo always shifts, blame yourself for not knowing how to tie it down right.

As for those that blindly assume that Romney mounted the carrier Grill opening forward into full wind, you don't read carefully. Website says tailgate down, dog jumped up, and into carrier and lay down. Take the time to read again. Now if you can, create a mental picture and determine how the dog got in and the only possible location of the opening....

All too many critics appear to be all about their feelings and how they arrived at those feelings and the need to emote about them without thinking at all. In short, people whose lack of mental reasoning ability makes them natural liberal Democrats and unlikely to vote for Romney except for those liberal Democrat females that would be torn between "cute Barack but with those big ears ....and JFK handsome Mitt....ahhh, I guess I'll have to wait and see how I feel "

Now, if the Romneys, in their 8-person packed station wagon had gone for winter vacation to Ontario with a dog in 10 degree weather and a -25DEG wind chill, or through Death Valley in August - critics might have a point. If Romney had "lost" the dog because he didn't tie down right, critics might have a point. And if the Romney family had strapped a dead grandmother on top rather than stop to bury her and thus ruin their vacation, the critics might have a point.

And of course, outside partisanship, there is little to say to childless women or couples that are emotionally driven to claim that pets are just like people in an attempt to slave the loss of kids they would not have or could not have and substitute a living animal or two as surrogates.

All in all, not a bad controversy for Romney. Loses a few pet fanatics, "emoters not thinkers" that naturally are Democrats anyways......

And gets the image of Joe Everyman on vacation in a station wagon responsibly cleaning up a mess himself - Next up will be all the Romneys lining up telling dog tells of how that Setter just loved Mitt, and Mitt loved his Setter...family pics of dog...more pics of present pets in the loving Romney family...and Mitt never hunted because he found his pal was scared of loud noises...


Not Hillary barking to an intern to clean up cat vomit on her Lear jet or John Edwards threatening to sue a gas station owner or at least tie him up in court for years unless an attendent "eliminates his customer dissatisfaction of gas fumes causing pet incontinence".

Or John Kerry ordering his Navy crew to "address that malodorous little dog VC, whose farting perturbs my great thoughts".

Internet Ronin said...

I'll wager that I could dig up the most embarrassing dirt on every one of you who is "offended".

I'm sure you could, but none of us is running for President of the United States, are we?

Luckyoldson said...

Joe said..."Wow, the self-righteousness of many posters kills me. I'll wager that I could dig up the most embarrassing dirt on every one of you who is "offended". Save for infants, there isn't a soul on this earth that hasn't done something really dumb."

joe...this is beyond "dumb."

and if you have friends who strap cages on the roof of their car, with their pet inside, then drive for 12 hours..you need new friends.

personally, i know of absolutely no one who would do what romney did...other than romney.

*by the way...do you own a pet?

Luckyoldson said...

ronin says: "I'm sure you could, but none of us is running for President of the United States, are we?"

on the nosey.

Luckyoldson said...

cedar,
are you actually trying to defend romney...based on whether the cage was open in the front or the back??

c'mon...

Internet Ronin said...

In her bog, Ann Romney wrote: Our dog Seamus rode in an ENCLOSED kennel, not in the open air. Wonder if Ann Romney will show us a picture. As it was identical to the one they used at home, I'm sure they have dozens.

Romney adds, And he loved it.

He probably did. BTW, it is well-documented that cats like the taste of anti-freeze. As I once had the misfortune to witness a neighbor's cat in the throes of a horrific death due to ehtyl glycol poisoning, I can't recommend feeding it to them, however.

Internet Ronin said...

Sorry, Lucky, I deleted that link because it referred to the standard "crate" in use for decades and Romney now says the crate was an enclosed kennel. A cynic might wonder when enclosed portable kennels of sufficient size to house a very large dog were first available, but I won't. I have no doubt the Romneys were "early adopters." And the windshield Romney mentioned was just that little something extra.

Just how the dogsh*t managed to drip out of the enclosed kennel and down the back of the car is a mystery, I'm sure. Must have been interesting hosing down the dog inside that enclosed carrier.

Internet Ronin said...

Hey Joe, the simple solution to this tempest in a teapot was available from the beginning: admit he made a mistake and move on. What a novel idea!

But insulting everyone's intelligence appears to be the preferred method of operation for our politicians (not just Romney) today. Some people are happy to go along for the ride when it suits them, I guess.

Luckyoldson said...

AN OPEN INVITATION:

i'd like for everybody to visit: http://o-come-on.blogspot.com/
so you can see my dog, sammy.

tonight, my wife and i are going to strap him to the roof of the jeep (no frigging cage, he's too gutsy for that bullshit)...and we're going to take him out on the highway, punch it up to about 85...and if he doesn't crap...i'm running for president.

Morse said...

The Romney campaign still hasn't denied that the dog carrier was tied to the top of the car. And anyway, the practice is illegal in Massachusetts.

It's cruel and reckless behavior.

The Exalted said...

just goes to show, no matter the problem, ann finds a way to get angry at the big bad liberals

amazing

btw, cedarford, this story caused my lifelong republican parents to write off romney. your "analysis" that is a good story for romney is so right on.

James said...

If the best story his family can tell to try to "humanize" Romney is a 24 year old story of him strapping his dog's kennel to the roof of his car then spraying the hose on him to get rid of the shit, I believe they have confirmed my suspicions:

Mitt Romney is officially an android.

Cedarford said...

Morse - The Romney campaign still hasn't denied that the dog carrier was tied to the top of the car. And anyway, the practice is illegal in Massachusetts.

It's cruel and reckless behavior.


Yeah, cite the Mass law, liar. I've seen Mass SPCA load up stray cats in Springfield in carriers in the back of a city-plated pickup truck.

The Exhaled - btw, cedarford, this story caused my lifelong republican parents to write off romney. your "analysis" that is a good story for romney is so right on.

I guess you missed the part about unfortunate parents who lacked children they loved or never having children transferring all their love and sentimentality onto animals they consider human beings.

Lacked children they loved or who turned out Lefty embarassments - I guess - in your case..

I don't yet have any favorite in the Presidential race. Way too far off. But people that are so petty they won't vote for Obama because he smokes, Kuchinich because he is vegan, Romney because he took his dog everywhere....well, I've always believed the right to vote should not be universal. Felons, welfare parasites, and the brainless obsessed with trivial personal biography details of celebrities and politicians should not enjoy sufferage.

Beth said...

who will, of course, take every opportunity to say that Democrats are so mushily sentimental they can't even think.

And Cedarford walks right into that one.

Beth said...

Ann, have you ever seen an enclosed dog kennel? They have wire doors.

Beth said...

Lacked children they loved or who turned out Lefty embarassments - I guess - in your case..

Okay, Cedarford. Your keen intellectual analysis has left me in the dust. You're a big league thinker.

John Stodder said...

Fine. Conservatives, go for it. Nominate Romney. It's about damn time we had a president who isn't afraid to strap his family pet to the roof of his car.

It's not him, it's me. I have a character flaw, and that's the only reason the story bugs me. Cedarford, you've convinced me. I've already signed up for Outward Bound. That ought to knock the sissy out of me.

Just for the hell of it, though, I've been searching through various shopping sites to find auto rooftop pet carriers. Including Ebay, which has used stuff. I have yet to find one. I certainly have never seen one, and I live in LA, where freeway drivers are regularly killed by unsecured cargo flying off the backs of pickup trucks. We aren't too careful about that kind of thing, and yet -- never seen this.

My family had a lot of dogs when I was growing up, and we treated all of them like crap. But we never did this. As evidence of my fallen state, I'm really nice to the dog we have now.

But really, Republicans, don't let this story stop you. Nominate Romney. Leave that nancy boy Guiliani home, along with that notoriously limp-wristed fellow McCain and that poof Fred Thompson, too. Admirers of real men will flock to Romney after this story, just like Cedarford says.

The Exalted said...

he's a few fries short of a hppy meal

Internet Ronin said...

Lucky, you irritate the Hell out of me almost ALL of the time, but I do thank you for making me laugh like Hell when I read your Open Invitation.

John, like you, I have seen the light and agree with you, we are the ones with character flaws. So I guess you'll be seeing me at Outward Bound soon.

Beth, feel free to join John & I at Outward Bound. Oh, BTW, a couple of sentences in the Globe article haven't received the attention they really deserved:

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

[Emphasis mine]

lee david said...

The people calling this animal cruelty don't know much about large dogs, car top rigging, or pet carriers. For most dogs there is not much that beats the thrill of having your nose out in the breeze soaking up all of the new scents that come wafting by as you go zooming down the open road. If the air pressure gets to be too much because of speed the dog will pull his nose in or lie down in the back of the truck (or lie down in the pet carrier with his head toward the forward facing closed end). A large pet carrier is closed on one end and has two narrow screens about 2 1/2" high x 18" long on the long sides. The wire mesh door in the front ( which would have been facing to the rear in this case ) was probably one of the older ones that went all the way to the floor pan level. By the way, they are almost all white which reflects the heat quite nicely and would be very comfortable in normal summer temperatures while in motion. Aside from not being able to see forward and not being able to actually get the nose outside it is probably a great ride for the dog. Kind of like riding in a car with the windows down only they have screens. Much better than being stacked up with the baggage in an airliners baggage compatment. If you coudn't secure one of these to the roof rack of a large american station wagon, you need to go back to Boy Scouts. My guess would be that one of the kids gave the dog something from the people menu or the dog got into some garbage at a stop and the dog got sick. S**t happens.

As to why the story got told and why anybody reported it, same thing, S**t happens.

Mr.Murder said...

The dog jumped in a kennel on the roof of the car.

Romney was pushing for the world's record leaping dog with that one.

He got the pooch to do that trick every time.

Because Mitt linked it, this is proof of wise narrative.

Thanks for settling that Ann. Because Mitt said it, that solves it.

Mitt was for Irish Setters in Mass. before he was against them.

If he was running for a seat in the Weimar Republic he'd get a German Sheperd.(/next dog)

Mr.Murder said...

Your original argument was that he didn't put the dog up there, the media chose this point?

So his family telling it to campaign people as a story of competence in crisis management was made up?

That explains the latest confirmation that he did so.

You still have yet to explain the SOB's riding the dog until it shit self on the roof. Windproof or not that's a pretty sadistic example of what Mitch would be like for keeping other's needs and safety in mind.

I thought safety was a big concern for your worshipers, followers, blog commentators...

Mr.Murder said...

David53 said...
10 years ago in the mediumed-sized Texas city where I used to live there was this idiot who would drive around town with his Great Dane prancing on the top of his pickup cab. Not the bed of the pickup, the dog was loose on top of the extended cab. I saw him on two different occasions going the other way. I don't know why he wasn't arrested but it was quite a site. The dog appeared to be loving it.



Yeah at 60mph in your "small town" I'm certain he replicated Romney's highway driving...

Morse said...

I've seen Mass SPCA load up stray cats in Springfield in carriers in the back of a city-plated pickup truck.

Cedarford, you should get out more often. Being in the back of a truck is not the same as being strapped to the top of a car.

hdhouse said...

Maybe Mitt's dog jumped into the cage for fear of the alternative of being lashed to the back bumper and made to run for his life.

I grew up in Michigan when Mitt's dad, George as governor. Mitt's intellectual gifts didn't fall far from daddy's tree, let me tell ya.

hdhouse said...

An alternative would be of course that given the choice of sitting inside a car with Mitt for 12 hours or being lashed to the rooftop, the dog simply chose the lessor of two unpleasant choices.

LoafingOaf said...

First Althouse suggests Romney was "smeared" even though the story came from the Romney camp and other people just saw Romney's treatment of his dog differently than he (jack-ass that he is) realized they would. Somehow the Romneys were proud of having a dog on the roof of their car for 12 hours until he crapped all over the place, and they believed it made him sound great.

Now Althouse updates to tell us Ann Romney feels the media got the story "wrong." In the original story it says the dog was in a carrier, so they didn't get it wrong and Ann Romney is playing spin-control games.

If Althouse finds it entirely normal for someone to do something as cruel and unheard-of (and possibly illegal) as putting a dog on the roof of a car for 12 hours while flying down the freeway with the dog crapping all over the place, whatever. I think how one treats their dog is one of the most revealing things about a person, and I'd call this mistreatment.

I wasn't gonna vote for the anti-atheist bigot and Ann Coulter butt-licker anyway, and I've yet to meet a single person who's itching for Romney to be prez. Just treat your dogs better, dude.

But some combination of Althouse wanting to carry water for Romney, Althouse wanting to be contrarian to the vast majority of blogger opinion, and Althouse not much liking dogs (or cats) is behind this post. And I don't know that someone who apparently doesn't get on well with the pets in her neighborhood should be educating others on what animals really like and what are just anthropomorphic tendencies by silly dog lovers.

Savea said...

It shows how gullible some of these people are. The media and the anti-Mitt people stretched the story until they hurt themselves but they are so stiff neck that they can't feel it. Now Ann Romney clarified the dog controversy, but some of the people are just like a dirty swimming pool: It takes more shocks to clear their closed minds. Why don't you protest the people who are feeding dogs just for food? It's happening in other parts of the world and worse it's also right here in the USA! Surprise?

Pogo said...

The outrage expressed against Romney's almost quarter-century-old Incident of The Dog With Loose Bowels may have lost him the trust of pet owners everywhere. It reveals his character, being the argument.

I am not so affected, my being among the pet agnostics; not an active dislike of Mr. Jingles or Princess Tuesday, mind you, more of the "if you like that sort of thing, it's the sort of thing you'll like" deference I give to personal choice.

Plus I don't fall into the they're part of the family set; I see them as somewhat-more-privileged farm animals.

Disclaimer 1: Since I once, at age 8, fell out of a moving station wagon full of kids and was left sniffling at a gas station until discovered Not In The Car two hours later (2 hours!!!), my definition of animal cruelty has a somewhat higher bar.

Disclaimer 2: We actually have a cat, yet I remain an unbeliever. I clean its litterbox and feed and water it daily. But the cat seems to have more affection for the odd dust ball it finds than for me; and I agree with the cat.

So he neither lost nor gained my vote. And I also recognize that my lack of pet utopianism makes me exactly the wrong sort of person among certain folks, a conclusion I fully comprehend. I married into a den of cat lovers, so I am tolerated, but only in a because catholics shouldn't divorce so we're stuck with him sort of way.

But the virulence of the have you stopped abusing your dog, Mr. Romney? posts has me flummoxed. Just one post above this, Althouse makes note of a true hate culture, where Saturday morning cartoons aren't Scooby unmasking Mr. Hoffman's crimes, (the owner of the hotel who would have succeeded if not for these meddling kids), but of a Mickey Mouse clone, this one teaching the toddler set about jihad and hating the Jews.

Yet the only answer from usual anti-US crowd is well, the Jews deserve it don't they?.

I wonder what your reaction would have been had Romney been making his kids watch a kiddie version of Triumph of the Will instead of hosing down the car-topping pooch? Do you choose the child abuse angle, or the fascist angle?

But Arab fascists will get a pass on this. Again.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

I really don't understand why so many of you have a problem with this episode.

It was 25 years ago; the dog lived through it and apparently so did the kids.

The split seems to be along party lines also- what a surprise.

I wonder haw many of the 'I wouldn't treat my dog that way' folks have ever had a pet and/or a family? It has been my (anecdotal) experience that childless couples will treasure a pet like a child, until the children come along, and then the pet becomes just that- a pet.

Why is that? Maybe because they now realize what is most important, and it ain’t the dumb animal.

Pets have their place, but PETA is a hatchery for nutcases. I don’t advocate the misuse or abuse of animals, and if this story were only a few years old I might feel differently. I also want to see a picture of the carrier. I can see something as big as a roof rack on an old station wagon open in the back with a rug on the floor that might be more comfortable than riding on the inside of the car with 8 others.

Long and the short of it is this- those condemning this incident are the usual partisan hacks who would condemn a Republican for feeding his dog steak instead of a pet specific food, and those of us who don’t consider it a big deal are fairly reasonable.

Theo Boehm said...

Although I am more of an animal lover than Pogo, I second what he says.  The reaction to this story tells me two things:

    1.   How politically tone-deaf and inept the Romney people are, starting with the stiff-in-chief himself.  They should have known.  Never talk about your pets or animals generally, unless what you say is totally innocuous and sanitized.  Even then, practically anything you say will set off controversy, what with PETA and the zoo of other animal activist types out there.  There is a large and growing whacked-out subculture in this area, ready, like a hungry cat, to pounce on the politically unaware.

    2.   Far too many people and much of the media is unbelievably stupid and in the tank for a partisan view of everything. Of course this was in the context of a political campaign, but, really, there are some things that fall into the category of background noise and complete non-stories.

Look, I am a Massachusetts resident, and I really, really dislike the guy.  I would vote for any, repeat any, Democrat over Mitt Romney.  One reason I dislike Romney is because he was an obvious grasper using the Governorship of Massachusetts as a launching pad since day one.  The pattern for recent Massachusetts governors is that they are either State House hacks of one sort or another (Dukakis was an über-Hack.  The rest have been mere mortals.), or, like Bill Weld, they grow bored or see other opportunities and move on.  Nobody seems to want to serve out a full two terms.  Deval Patrick appears to have really wanted the job, but so far he has shown a distressing level of incompetence (talk about tone-deaf), and it's fairly obvious that, given the chance, he would like to morph into the next Barack Obama.  If the Governorship is such a piddly job, why do we bother?  It would save a lot of money to make it a largely ceremonial, part-time position.

Romney is personally an impressive guy.  What you see is what you get.  He is a true, solid, family-values sort, who has indeed walked the walk of being a loving, responsible father and husband.  He has an impressive track record in business.  He is blow-dried and square-jawed with perfect teeth and abs of steel.  Do you realize how ridiculous it sounds to try to make a scandal out of how he carried the family dog on his station wagon 25 years ago?  If that's the only thing you can find, perhaps his political opponents and the media should try another line of attack.

One I recommend is that he is a boring, uninspiring stiff.  He is also an opportunist who flip-flops incoherently.  As President, I'm almost certain he would become a Republican Jimmy Carter.  He may have done well in the corporate world, but he lacks an essential toughness and firmness of mind we need in a President.  His policy positions are also a bit too conservative for me.  As Governor, he was trapped in the web of Massachusetts politics, and so he was generally quite pragmatic.  But his instincts remain those of a conservative Mormon, and while I respect people of those persuasions, I don't agree with them, and I certainly don't one to become President.

Can we, for once, simply have a political debate about political issues, and leave off manufactured scandal?

Beth said...

Pogo and Theo,

You're doing a grand job of spinning your complaints of manufactured scandal from partisan hacks. But to do that, you have to ignore that this is a story from the Romney camp, meant to create an image as part of his campaign. Blame his hacks for manufacturing it--they told the story to say "hey, look how resourceful and down to earth our guy can be!" Now that people have reacted with disgust, that same group wants to disavow their story, and act like it was all some opposition attempt to smear Mitt. Sounds like more Romney flip-flopping to me.

It's going to be a long political season.

Pogo said...

Beth,

I don't favor Romney at all. It was stupid of them, given that Nothing Is Funny anymore.

My post wasn't meant to be about complaints of manufactured scandal from partisan hacks but about a sense of proportion.

Farfour Mouse seems more important to me than Diarrhea Dog.

Internet Ronin said...

It is a sign of pet utopianism to believe strapping a dog in a cage (enclosed or not) and driving down the highway for 12 hours is very odd behavior?

It quite simply is not normal.

Do you realize how ridiculous it sounds to try to make a scandal out of how he carried the family dog on his station wagon 25 years ago?.

Do you realize how ridiculous it sounds to try and make a political point about Romney's calm demeanor under pressure out of how he carried the family dog on his station wagon 25 years ago?

Romney brought the subject up, not his opponents. That people would have an opinion on his behavior was anticipated. That the opinion might be different than hoped for was apparently not expected.

What does that say about Romney today? A bit "out of the loop of contemporary attitudes," perhaps? Can you honestly say it sounds like a good idea to you to crate up the dog or cat on your car roof and go for a 12-hour drive? I doubt it.

What does it say about Romeny today, that instead of saying, "Gee, in hindsight, maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all." instead of attempting to defend the indefensible?

Does anyone here seriously advocate this method of transporting family pets? Does anyone believe that the American Veterinary Medical Association is going to endorse Mr. Romney's chosen method of transportation any time soon? Does anyone believe that Doskocil is going to add "car-top carriers" as part of their new product line?

Is this a manufactured scandal? No, of course not. It is thoughtless claptrap manufactured by Romney's political campaign that ended up biting them in the ass.

This is something hilariously ripe for parody. While it is probably true that how Romney acted 25 years ago is not particularly germaine to how he may act if elected President of the United States, the fact remains that how he responds to justifiable criticism of his past behavior (revealed by his campaign to advance his current campaign) is relevant.

It seems to me that it's not rank partisanship to ask questions about someone's judgment as revealed, it is common sense.

Internet Ronin said...

In the big scheme of things, you may be right, Pogo, but I don't warm to the idea that we cannot express opinions on inexcusable behavior because that behavior does not rise to the threshhold set by Hamas.

I certainly believe that any candidate's judgment, or lack thereof, is a legitimate subject for discussion at any time, particularly when it is a candidate for President of the United States of America. (As I said above, judgment exercised (or not) 25 years ago is one thing, judgment exercised last week is another.)

This story will soon disappear. The only reason it has shown any legs is because Romney's campaign has thus far proven too inept to do what it will undoubtedly eventually do, write off this particular pr effort as a lost cause, issue a statement to the effect that "Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all," and move on.

Ann Althouse said...

Ronin: "This is something hilariously ripe for parody."

I agree. In fact, I keep laughing about this story. The vivid image. Where is the original link showing the campaign pushing this story as evidence of his grace under pressure? Or was it always someone who didn't have MR's interests at heart dredging up some old nonsense and claiming it was "family lore"?

Pogo said...

Re; "I don't warm to the idea that we cannot express opinions on inexcusable behavior because that behavior does not rise to the threshhold set by Hamas."

You're right. I was pointing out two immediately adjacent posts, and how shocked people were by a maybe-maltreated dog, generating over 100 comments, but bored by a truly depraved culture.

I simply have a hard time getting riled up about Romney (and again, I do not like him as a candidate) when faced with a death cult (yes here, in the US).

It was a dumb choice from Romney's camp as an example of anything in modern America, but modern America has gotten rather PC-PETAfied and can be outraged by damn near anything except animal worship. You should have heard the lecture we were given about Never Declawing a Cat by our animal society. They're so picky about the potential owners of abandoned pets, they have trouble getting rid of any. Not the right sort of people inquire, I'm afraid.

I only hoped that same outrage might be generated by a more worrisome and virulent hatred extant among Muslims, one by which 3 car bombs were set in the UK yesterday alone. In the face of such true evil, a dog on a car just fails to rise to the top for me as worthy of condemenation, except for imbecilic campaigning.

Beth said...

Farfour Mouse seems more important to me than Diarrhea Dog.

One doesn't have anything to do with the other. They can both be important. To imply I should choose one to pay attention to is just a rhetorical ploy.

Beth said...

Or was it always someone who didn't have MR's interests at heart dredging up some old nonsense and claiming it was "family lore"?

It was part of a profile of Romney in the Boston Globe, and attributed to family and friends. His son is quoted in the anecdote, and the paper notes that family confirmed it. They don't say who first recounted it. So, there's no evidence that someone planted it as a backdoor attack on Romney. Maybe so, maybe not. Read the son's quotes in the story and see what you think about his tone.

Pogo said...

Re: "They can both be important. "

They can. I am just surprised that the greater disgust goes toward the dog story than was aimed at the kiddie TV terrorist mouse.

But it appears I am simply wrong. Not the first time for me.

Internet Ronin said...

Ann, the story is found in Section 4 of this series on Romney in the Boston Globe. As podcasts, private photos, personal interviews, and the revelations of "private family lore" attest, The Romney campaign actively participated in the development of the series. They undoubtedly saw it as an opportunity to accentuate the positive attributes of their man. And, to some extent, they accomplished that goal.

Theo Boehm said...

Point No. 1 in my comment was, yes, Romney, the political idiot, brought it on himself.

But I regard it as background noise. I repeat, in his entire active and successful life, if this is all you can complain about, you have a problem. And I also don't think it was a particularly big deal in the event. Others may have different opinions, but there you have it.  I wouldn't do it today, and I don't think Romney would, either, aside from the scandal.  But I might have done it 25 years ago if pressed for time and resources.

So, I am in general agreement with Beth and Romney's critics.  I agree this was the kind of political gaffe that does not bode well for a President.

But I am even more concerned about a society and political culture that would make such a big deal out of this, when there are other more pressing and telling reasons to oppose this stiff.

Internet Ronin said...

They can. I am just surprised that the greater disgust goes toward the dog story than was aimed at the kiddie TV terrorist mouse.

Pogo, I really don't have the feeling that the disgust is greater here than over the kiddie terrorist mouse. As almost every discussion of anything to do with the Middle East (not just ME politics) ends up being either about Israel or Iraq, there may be some reluctance to enter the fray.

There are 116 comments here, but I probably wrote a 1/4 of them, and one or two others account for another 1/4 at least. So sheer numbers of posts don't mean much. Speaking only for myself, this is more entertaining, but probably not as "important." Watching some people twist themselves into pretzels here is more fun than hearing someone lecture me for the 10 millionth time about evil Israel, although I must admit that momskids argument about Israel's standing army was novel (to put it politely).

It is interesting to me that people like John Stodder, Beth and I are suddenly partian card-carrying PETA members when I am reasonably sure that 99% of the people posting here would never dream of doing what Romney did, 25 years ago or today.

And I am reasonably certain that if any of us did do such a thing and someone asked about it, about 90% of us would sheepishly admit that, just perhaps, that wasn't such a neat idea after all. And we'd all go on with our lives. Romney will too, I think (both).

Internet Ronin said...

Theo, perhaps it is a "big deal" because it is entertaining, not because it involves Mitt Romney or the race for the presidency. The visualizations it brings to mind alone are worth a few days' consideration.

Internet Ronin said...

I meant to add, Theo, that some time soon Barack Obama is going to have to answer questions about what he wrote in his first book, and did he, in fact, use cocaine. Many people will argue that the book was written so long ago, etc...

And others will argue that it all goes to show his character.

Internet Ronin said...

While I have your attention, Pogo (if I still do), I do want to thank you for your wonderful comment on "equanimity and grace." For personal reasons, I was quite moved, and said so on my blog.

Ann Althouse said...

Ronin: Is it in one of the videos or what? Point me to where the dog story is.

Internet Ronin said...

Ann, the story is here.

Ann Althouse said...

Ronin: I saw that before and I don't see how it supports the view that the family is responsible for pushing the story now. Maybe I'm not reading carefully enough, but I don't see who came forward with the old story just now.

Internet Ronin said...

Ann, the story is part of a series, the production of which was done with the cooperation of the family. The family provided private photographs for publication. Family members taped podcasts for inclusion on the website. Family members were interviewed by the reporters.

The series, or what I've read of it, cannot remotely be described as a "hit piece." It is a largely sympathetic portrayal of the candidate.

Surely you cannot believe that the source for "Romney Family Lore" is not the Romney family? In the context used, it is obvious. There isn't an antagonistic or accusatory line in that puff-piece section I directed you to. It is a straightforward presentation of stories elicited from family members.

I've seen so many of them that I could almost write the interview myself, "Tell us about your dad. What was he like when you were growing up?" "Well, he was/wasn't easily surprised" or "He never got upset about the big things" etc. etc. "What do you mean?" [Interjection] "Tell them about the time...." or "We'll never forget the time he ...." "Boy, that was funny! Definitely part of Romney Family Lore now!" It is apparent that the story was told as a good example of Romney being as unflappable as he is resilient.

It writes itself, Ann. Not the stuff of secret conspiracies involving opponents of Romney and hostile reporters, just a private family memory that, as it turns out, was better left private.

How can anyone construe that section in particular as being sourced by opponents of Romney? Were that true, credit for that particular story, for example, would have run along the lines of "Friends of the Romneys" or "Associates of the Romneys."

Mr.Murder said...

Mutt Romney announces a new campaign promotional endorsement with celebrity sportser Jeff Gordon.

He's going after the NASCAR vote with this...

John Stodder said...

I'm confused by the confusion over who is "pushing" the story. The Boston Globe ran it about five days ago. The story was told by Mitt's adult son. Maybe the reporter recognized how incendiary it was, and placed it high up in the story. But, really, who wouldn't?

I first saw it on Professor Bainbridge.com, who linked to the Boston.com piece. I think of Bainbridge as fairly conservative, but not a party-line kind of guy. Maybe a skosh to the right of you, Ann.

I took Bainbridge's reaction as completely genuine, not meant to smear, just meant to convey the bemusement of anyone who's owned a dog at the Romney's family practice.

hdhouse said...

True story. I have a friend who was a Vet (small animals not war) who was running for city council in Tulsa..James Inhofe was mayor so you can see how backward it was...anyway, there was, of course a debate.. Lots of issues came up and then came question and answer time.

One well placed person got up and simply said the following:

"You are a vet....is it true or false that you put cats and dogs to sleep on a routine basis". Of course my friend sayd "yes. i do. it is my duty and job and ....." but he got cut off....

the next day there were flyers everywhere about the dog killer and cat killer...everywhere...he got less than 5% of the vote in the election.

If you think any type of animal misbehavior doesn't resonate with the electorate you are flat out nuts. That remark, that story, no matter how you spin it, will kill him to the tune of 5% of the vote and i'm betting 10% is more like it.

this is so stupid as to make the god's weep.

hdhouse said...

georgen..

looking at the first post on this thread..your post by the way...what did you have in mind...?

is english a second language? do you think in complete thoughts? just curious...obviously you made no sense but was trying to figure if that was genetic or what.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks, Ronin. I guess it really is weird that the family has processed the story so that it's just really funny to them.

BTW, I watched one of the videos, and the boy went on and on about the family tradition of gathering together to talk in the dark -- deliberately turning the lights off prior to conversations. Seemed odd.

Beth said...

theo, ronin is right, this is entertainment. And don't forget, we can spend a week parsing the fitness for office of a man who wears funny shorts while windsurfing, or who paid too much for a haircut, or looks like he stuffed a sock in his package.

pogo--this story is more important to me because it's about the race to run my country's government. I already know the Palestinians have appalling ways of teaching their children to hate Jews. I can't remember a day in my life that there wasn't war between Israel and Palestine. I have to make a little time for other interests.

The one thing that interests me in that story is how it flips the usual mouse imagery associated with anti-Jewish propaganda. The Nazis used Mickey Mouse as an image of America's domination by Jews. That's one reason Art Speigalman uses mice to represent Jews in the beast fable of Maus.

Internet Ronin said...

Ann, this thing struck such a chord with me just because it is so typical of "family lore" (to borrow the phrase). (Not speaking of Romney here:) Everyone within the family chuckles over this or that, and is so used to it that it never occurs to them that outsiders might find it strange, alarming or even appalling. Often, that's because it is one of those "You had to be there" situations.

Romney can and probably will defuse this, and with some self-deprecating humor. A line such as "When I'm President, I promise there will be no car carriers strapped to the Presidential limousine."

Believe it or not, I think he still has a chance to turn this to his advantage. Almost all of us have done some pretty stupid things that didn't seem so stupid at the time, so, in a way, it makes him look like a "regular guy." What isn't good for him is that, at this point, mention "Romney" & "pet carrier" and the first visual image that comes to mind is Chevy Chase with a leash in "National Lampoon's Vacation." As if that was not bad enough, that then brings to mind Chase's SNL skits as Gerald Ford. I think you will agree that these are not good visuals. ;-) He needs to change that, and fast.

Anyway, as I say, Romney may have accidentally stepped into it, but he has a great opportunity to turn it to his advantage.

Pogo said...

Beth, Ronin,
As I said, I am wrong. My personal indifference to pets puts this item in the 'no big deal' column. But it clearly pisses people off more than I would have guessed. One of my many blind spots, I'm afraid.

I, too, thought it was a 'funny family story' that wasn't funny when it happened and isn't funny to anyone else at all, but is freakin' hilarious to the fambly at Xmas. Most people know enough not to actually tell them to anyone else, though, so judgment in that realm comes to mind. But perhaps he can pull a save from this a la Ronin's neat suggestion after all.

I met my sister-in-law's $500 cat today. I found it hard to get very excited about it. All I could think was You had $500 and you didn't buy an iPhone?? Are you quite mad?

Maybe if they make a cat with a touchscreen, I'll change my mind about them. Joking, joking.

Pogo said...

And Ronin, thanks for the compliment.

Internet Ronin said...

At this point, as there are only a couple of us around here anyway, take a look at this amazing video that I ran across today. It was produced by the European Union.

Beth said...

Pogo, I have a few of those fambly stories, one involving my dad punching a mule in the face (in his defense, it had kicked him real hard moments before.) My dad taught me to be kind to animals and not trust anyone who isn't, but what "kind" meant to him, and to the way we had pets when I was raised, isn't necessarily what our culture expects these days. We never had an indoor animal when I was growing up, not even in the deep snows of winter. The garage had a cat door, so I guess that counts for something. And Dad installed a heat lamp in the dog house, but the dog slept in hole she dug in the snow or, for jollies, on top of the dog house.

Still, when we moved from place to place, they all rode in the car.

I think my dad would have a heart attack (another one; he's passed on already) if he could see what I spend on my diabetic cat yearly. But I keep my commitments, and when I adopted the little guy from the SPCA I took that to mean I would keep him healthy, fed, and sheltered.

Beth said...

This occurs to me only now, after all this useless discussion: why do you suppose he didn't put the luggage on the luggage rack, and the dog in the car?

I would love to see that come up as a question in the next presidential debate, just because I'm already sick of this early and often campaign. I'm ready for some monkeywrenching to commence.

What other wholly annoying, unrelated to policy and current issues, questions should be lobbed at this host of wannabees?

Internet Ronin said...

Beth, someone could show that hilarious EU video I mentioned above and ask if they approved of the concept or execution. Was the French method better, or did German styling recommend itself to them. It could be a substitute for rational discussion on medical care systems, the likelihood of which is nil.

As to the luggage, I know others have asked the same question. Alex Massie has a pretty good exposition on the subject at The Debatable Land.

Beth said...

Ronin, the luggage question came to me because suddenly I had an image of us in our car, packed and ready for evacuation two years back. We made choices on what we would take, not knowing if our home would be destroyed, based on the room we had. And almost the whole back part area of a PT Cruiser, sans backseat, was taken up by a large crate for two cats, with ensuite bathroom attached (a cat box stuck in place of a removed cage door) and the the two dogs loose in the remaining space. The mean cat kept swatting the dogs through the wire crate. Evacuation is hard on everyone concerned.

Computers and bags were tucked in behind the seats, but everything else was in a big carrying case on top of the car. My goodness, we lived like that for weeks. The same rig is ready to go again; keep your fingers crossed for a quiet summer in the tropics.

Internet Ronin said...

Fingers crossed, Beth.

howzerdo said...

I like this blog (although I don't care very much about the TV related posts) but I find the animal-related posts are always offensive. I confess that I am probably the closest to a PETA type than any commenter here, but I am far from a Democrat or Republican partisan, I (still) have pretty hard feelings toward the Clintons for allowing Buddy to get killed by a car, and Barney and Miss Beazley win favor from me for the Bush family. I don't necessarily have a problem with people being agnostic about animals (unless their agnosticism leads them to block animal welfare programs that I favor), but animal agnostics should refrain from having pets. Simple as that. There are a lot of animal lovers with less extreme views than mine who are horrified by this story. And while horse trailers are not the same thing at all, many horses do not like riding in them. True, many dogs do like sticking their heads out of the car window (but the risk of injury is there and it isn't a good idea either, although it doesn't rise to the level of Romney's stupidity). Cattle transport? Better stop typing now, I feel my PETA-ish-ness rising.

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