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It’s the Dog, Stupid
Seamus shows up in a video game and political ad
Seamus in the current version of "The Crate Escape."

Every presidential campaign season there is one issue that carries the day. Famously, it was the economy at the heart of Bill Clinton’s 1992 win over George Bush. And really, the economy is the central issue again this year, but that’s not for lack of effort on the part of folks like Scott Crider of Dogs Against Romney and New York Times columnist Gail Collins to keep Seamus in the spotlight.

If you’ve been under a rock for the past few years, it all goes back to Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s family vacation. Back in 1983, he put the family’s Irish Setter in a crate and strapped that crate to the roof of the car for a 12-hour trip to Canada. That this story is still on the radar, five years after it was first reported in The Boston Globe, is sort of incredible.

Most recently, Seamus appears as the protagonist of a video-game-as-social-commentary called “The Crate Escape: Seamus Unleashed,” wherein said family pet escapes from the car and chases after Romney. Created by Crider, according to a story in the National Journal, the game will be released on August 26, which is National Dog Day and one day before the Republican National Convention. Here’s a preview of the game:

But Crider’s not the only one making political kibble out of Seamus. Save Our Environment Action Fund featured Seamus in an ad about increased gas mileage standards. The gist of the spot is that higher standards mean fewer stops during road trips. The news inspires a Setter, who looks like Seamus, to hide from an actor, who looks like Romney, when it’s time to load into his crate. Check it out:

I’ve blogged about this before to the dismay of Bark readers who don’t want politics mixed in with their dogs. Setting aside the fact that dogs do exist in the political realm—leash laws, off-leash areas, breed-specific legislation, funding for municipal shelters and spay/neuter programs, cruelty laws and on and on—what I find so fascinating about the Seamus story is the way it sticks to Romney. It highlights how important this relationship is to many of us and how we feel we can take the measure of a man or woman by how he or she treats a beloved dog.

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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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