Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Going to the Dogs

Dear Gov. Romney, please note that the proper place for a dog is inside the car.
Yours Truly,
Baxter (Beagle) Anzis

  I knew that Mitt Romney was going to be the Republican nominee some time ago but it became official last week when right in the middle of my viewing an episode of Law & Order that I’d only seen a few dozen times (the one where Detective Lenny Briscoe makes a lot of wisecracks – maybe you saw it?), I saw an advertisement telling me about all the jobs President Obama had created with his Energy program and all the jobs that Mitt Romney had exported overseas.

  I haven’t seen any Romney commercials attacking President Obama yet, but the multi-millionaire has already spent a lot of money getting the nomination and needs to recharge his checkbook before he gets after Obama in earnest. He is playing out his attack themes in his stump speeches and fundraising dinners to see which ones resonate before committing to running specific ads.

  I still find it hard to believe that the semi-liberal Mormon Romney has been chosen by the party of conservatism, but it really doesn’t matter because the only candidate that can beat Obama this year is the President himself. If the economy doesn’t go in the dumpster, he wins and if gas goes to $4 or $5 (I don’t know the exact number, but I know there is a price point on voter unrest) a gallon, he loses. Unless Ron Paul is running as an independent, I’ll probably vote for my friend Lee Gordon Seebach for President, not only to keep my string of never having voted for a major party candidate for president intact, but because Lee would make a great president. Every 4 years, people tell me I’m wasting my vote when I vote for someone who probably won’t win, but I could make the case that voting for the lesser of two evils or voting for 1 of 2 Harvard-bred millionaires and thinking there is a real choice involved is the wasted vote.

  The big winner in any election year is of course the people who own the means of advertising: TV and radio stations, newspapers, Google and other internet advertisers. Since we the people are not allowed to sell our votes directly to the candidates as one would expect in a capitalist society, the candidates, political parties, and super Political Action Committees have to spend billions of dollars in the media to try to influence our vote instead of just paying for them directly.

  I thought that with a shaky economy, an ongoing war in Afghanistan and 50,000 troops still in Iraq, and ongoing debates over health care reform, gay marriage, and abortion ‘rights’ the candidates and their spokespeople would be engaging in substantive debate. Piqued by the Obama ad I saw on Law & Order, I checked the news on the internet to see what other areas of public policy would be hotly debated, but instead I saw the main topic of contention was a Romney family vacation almost 30 years ago.

  In 1983, the Romney’s drove to Canada and took their Irish Setter with them. Nothing unusual there, but instead of having the dog in a crate in the car or just in the back seat looking out the window, the Romney’s dog (Seamus) was in a crate strapped to the top of the roof of the car. The dog had diarrhea halfway into the trip and the Romney’s had to interrupt their drive for a clean-up. These facts aren’t in dispute. The main point of contention is whether the Romney’s had mistreated their dog and whether the diarrhea was an act of a terrified animal (as Romney’s detractors claim) or whether Seamus enjoyed riding in his rooftop carrier and his gastric indiscretion was caused by eating some turkey off the kitchen counter as Ann Romney has stated in her family’s defense. This story has been floating around for years but has gained new life in the past month by being singled out for some humor by President Obama 2 weeks ago at the White House Correspondents Dinner. It seems to me that a dog belongs in the car and not on top of it, but since the dog carrier had a windshield, maybe it’s common practice to put your dog on the roof, just like there are plenty of dogs riding around in the back of pickup trucks. I think had the Romney’s known they would have been running for President 30 years in the future, they would have just brought the dog along in a limo.

Dear President Obama, In case you didn't know take it from me:
beef is much better tasting than dog (especially beagles). I've tasted both.
Good luck in the election,
Daisy (Beagle) Anzis

  Stung by their candidate being painted as cruel to animals, the Romney campaign and conservatives everywhere have tried to refocus the issue at the President by quoting his book “Dreams From My Father” in which the President talks about how he ate dog meat as a youngster. There are plenty of jokes going around about this topic but I think Blogger Jim Treacher had the best line "Say what you want about Romney, but at least he only put a dog on the roof of his car, not the roof of his mouth". It needs to be noted Obama sampled dog meat as a child in Indonesia and it does not seem to have been a family staple growing up. I do wonder if the dog meat came from a can or ‘off the bone’. I never really gave much thought to the little kid at the end of the movie Hannibal who got to sample some of Ray Liotta’s grey matter before, but for some reason that thought suddenly popped into my head.

  The dog invectives has been a lot of fun to read and you can get a good feel for how someone leans politically by which story disgusts them or which one they retweet or repost. Just like the Democrats saying in 2012 that the President has little effect on the price of gasoline when in 2008 they were saying President Bush needed to get the price of gasoline lower and the Republicans saying in 2012 that President Obama needs to get the price of gasoline lower when in 2008 they were saying the President has little effect on the price of gasoline, facts have a way of molding themselves to the opinions of the ones using them. If news were to leak of Romney eating a bowl of dog meat on a mission trip and Bo the Presidential Dog taking a ride on the top of the Presidential Limo, the same Republicans who are disgusted by a dog meat meal would praise Romney for ‘making do’ or ‘assimilating the local culture’, while the Democrats who think having a dog on top of a car is animal cruelty would have their own epiphany and realize that it’s OK for the dog to have ‘a view from the top’.

  Aside from giving me something to write about, I was happy to see the ‘dog wars’ break out in the media the past 2 weeks. When the biggest debate going for the President of the United States is whether it is more inhumane to eat some dog meat or have a dog riding in a carrier on top of a car for a vacation trip, I can only conclude that everything else in the country is 100% A-OK and that the economy is restored, jobs are plentiful, we all have top-notch healthcare, and world peace has been achieved. What a country!