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Seamus Story Continues to Dog Romney
Pups in presidential politics

Is there anyone in America who is not aware that Mitt Romney put his Irish Setter, Seamus, in a crate lashed to the roof of the family car for an eight-hour drive to Ontario in the 1980s? And that when the results of an unscheduled bathroom break trickled down the car windows, Mitt stopped at a gas station and efficiently hosed down the dog, the crate and the car and carried on?

Anyone still in the dark about this?

That incident has spawned criticism from dog lovers, skits and jokes on late night television, a “super pack” called Dogs Against Romney with its charmingly pointed “I Ride Inside” bumpersticker, and countless op eds by Gail Collins, for which we gave The New York Times columnist our first-ever “Dogging the Hound Award.
 


 

As Amy Davidson recently pointed out in The New Yorker (which gives cover play this week to Romney’s crucible but with opponent Rick Santorum on the roof), dogs have always been part of presidential politics. So this is no great exception. But presidents and candidates for that office generally attempt to use their good relations with dogs as a selling point.

I wonder: If you liked most everything about Romney and he was your candidate, would the Seamus story keep you from voting for him?

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Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com
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Submitted by Randi Robinson | March 12 2012 |

ABSOLUTELY!! What poor judgement that showed! Would you want this man running the country? All the talk about Obamacare killing off senior citizens--what would Romney be likely to do? Instead of sending them to a nursing home would he just advise strapping them to the roof like Aunt Edna in Summer Vacation? For me it is a deeper issue than animal abuse. It is an issue of extremely poor judgement and moral turpitude. How would this man act in a crisis?

Submitted by Vickie | September 10 2012 |

What stuns me about this story is how you are taking something so out of context and out of historical understanding of the evolution of our attitudes about dogs, and making the illogical leap to this person's ability to make good or bad judgments THIRTY YEARS LATER.

All the while ignoring the VERY REAL ADMISSION in his book that Barack Obama ATE DOGS when he was in Indonesia. Since that is about the same time frame - in the 80's, shall we add this to the conversation? You CAN'T discuss a dog on the roof without discussing a dog on the barbecue... Because if you don't, then this is a poorly disguised political ploy and poorly thought out argument.

If you make your decisions in life ONLY based upon a decision someone made 30 years ago, then you are in a world of hurt. Go watch 2016 and get back to me. I'll take a man who bad a bad dog decision in 1980 over a President who has promised transparency and didn't give it to us; who promised to get rid of the Patriot Act and made extending it his first act in office on January 9, 2009 and every January since; who signed into law the most heinous anti-American bill in the history of the country - NDAA - on the stroke of Midnight this last New Year's eve while we were all partying and too busy to notice; who promised to shut down Gitmo and hasn't even come close; and who continues to approve of anti-American behavior by every member of his cabinet.

If you think Seamus was bad off, consider what four more years will do to every one of our four legged friends! People who are starving can't afford to feed their pets. Horses, cats, and dogs are all being let loose in the countryside already all over the country. You think THAT isn't because of Obama's draconian anti-business policies that have led to the longest and highest unemployment rate in the history of the US since the Great depression?

BTW - ALL of this can be factchecked. So before you send me a hate mail response. Go look it up. FactCheck.org is a quality non-partisan site where you can do that.

Submitted by Anonymous | March 12 2012 |

You can't take the Seamus story as an isolated event - that's just not something someone who has empathy for other people or animals would ever do.

Submitted by Cowboy's Mom | March 12 2012 |

He's out....unless I can strap him to the top of my Expedition my next trip from Fort Lauderdale to Knoxville, and let him see how that felt....

Submitted by Anonymous | March 12 2012 |

great idea! I would like to see that!

Submitted by Bob | March 12 2012 |

People make mistakes especially when it comes to raising dogs. It was only a decade ago people rubbed their dog's noses in accidents. Today we know that's wrong. This country is a mess and I'm basing my vote on who can fix it and not some personal anecdote. And I'm a huge dog lover.

Submitted by Ruby's mom | March 12 2012 |

People's attitudes about dogs have evolved over the years. Wasn't it Lyndon who picked up his beagle by the ears? Think about the 1980s - there was no PetSmart, no Petco, Alpo and Purina were the reigning kings of dog food. People were not educated nor did they wish to be educated about their dogs. Dogs only recently came indoors to live - in the 1920's and 30's, dogs lived outside, rarely in the house. There is also a very famous LIFE magazine picture that featured 2 pointers who rode in the trunk of their owner's car with their heads out of custom made portholes.

There are far worse things that people do to animals, quite intentionally. I whole heartedly disagree with transporting an animal in the manner Mitt Romney did but it was most likely out of ignorance rather than 'disrespect' or 'intent to harm'. He was actually trying to include the dog on their family vacation because they loved the dog, not because they wanted to harm him.

If I followed Mitt Romney (which I don't) or knew anything else about him other than this (which I don't), I would take this information in considering him but if it was at odds with all else I knew about the candidate, then I would not let this stop me.

Submitted by Kai's mom | March 13 2012 |

In addition to the points you made here, this incident happened 30 years ago. Is this really the only dirt Bark could dig up on Romney? For those of us who were not babies 30 years ago we all certainly shudder at some of the terrible and hurtful mistakes we made that affected our pets. Had we not made them we never would have learned to do better.

But this post from Bark is actually a poorly disguised politically motivated attempt to sway and manipulate readers from voting for the GOP candidate who poses a real threat to Obama. Perfect timing too. Shame on them for that.

I am seriously considering canceling my subscription over this. I sincerely hoped that Bark would be able to refrain from this sort of thing. I'm very disappointed.

Submitted by Anonymous | March 12 2012 |

Paws down on Romney. If his judgement is so bad about his dog, I wonder where else it would fail.

Submitted by Carolyn | March 12 2012 |

Loved both the New Yorker article (and cover!) and the FDR piece. Love Gail Collins too and how she keeps the shameful Seamus story in the spotlight. Romney might want to take a page from the FDR experience -- sounds like Fala was the turning point in the election. I firmly believe that the way people treat animals is indicative of their character (or lack thereof). No, I certainly won't be voting for Mr. Romney.

Submitted by Voting Sense | March 12 2012 |

Absolutely this would affect my vote, as it speaks to character. Remember, Mitt’s son said the dog ran away as soon as he got out of the crate, contrary to Mitt’s story. Regardless, you don’t hose down a dog and put him wet back in the crate to then freeze as the wind from the freeway blows on him. Romney falls short on character, and will be two votes short from this household.

Submitted by Anonymous | April 25 2012 |

Yep-haven't even considered voting Romney but anyone who puts a dog (or any animal)in a crate on top of their car does not truly care about their pet. All sorts of debris can get into 'flying dogs' eyes and ears. Too bad Seamus didn't wait until Romney got out of his car before he barfed. Sounds like animal abuse to me. Also sounds like an old 'Jackass' skit with the baby on top!

Submitted by Matty F | July 16 2012 |

This story is pretty crazy. There's even a Seamus The Dog video game now at seamus-the-dog.com That poor dog....

Submitted by Jo | September 12 2012 |

I can understand the criticism of Romney for the treatment of his dog. However, it pales in comparison to eating dog, as President Obama proudly claims to have done so often in his youth? Where is the outrage here?

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