There is only one thing worse in presidential politics than getting caught NOT having sex with an intern in the White House and that is having your presidential campaign and character defined by an Etch A Sketch and your dead dog.
Unfortunately that is the situation now facing Mitt Romney.
The only good thing about the Etch a Sketch debacle is it has now replaced Romney’s dog narrative in the news cycle. But I fully expect the dog and the Etch A Sketch to follow Romney around until November.
For those of you who have successfully avoided the dog story, that is no longer an option, because it has gone viral and is now a social and cultural phenomenon. Even the Sunday morning news shows have been dogged.
On ABC This Week, Rick Santorum equated Romney’s dog saga with Romney’s character, and based on this incident, asked the viewers if Romney was the kind of person who you would want in the White House.
Santorum was responding to a question about his top strategist who pointed to the dog story as an example of Romney’s flawed value judgment.
Did Romney cheat on his wife? No. Did he steal from the taxpayers? No. Those are normally the types of behavior that would justify calling into question a candidate’s character and judgment, especially during a presidential primary campaign on national television. But no, this story is about a dog, long dead and stems from a Romney family vacation dating back to President Ronald Reagan’s first term.
So, before we go any further, let’s review the damaging doggie details.
Back in 1983, Mitt Romney’s dog Seamus was transported in a crate on the roof of the family car because the car was totally packed as his large family was heading for a vacation to Canada.
Along the way, Seamus did his business in a messy, wet, brown, doggie kind of way and drippings began to appear on the car windows. Daddy Mitt stopped at a gas station to hose off the windows and then continued the long drive.
For the record, Seamus died in 2006 so he was not available to defend his owner.
However, here are 10 reasons why a family story from 1983 has landed front and center in the 2012 race for the White House.
1. The media and bloggers keep it alive.
2. The professional left keeps it alive.
(Will someone please tell me the difference between these two groups anyway?)
3. Dog lovers keep it alive.
4. Animal activist groups keep it alive.
5. Social media and the web keep it alive.
6. Comedians keep it alive.
7. Mitt Romney haters keep it alive.
8. President Obama’s team keeps it alive.
9. Newt Gingrich keeps it alive.
10. Rick Santorum and his staff keep it alive.
And why will all of the above continue to keep this story alive?
Because it serves their agenda which is to stop or defeat Mitt Romney. They all know in a close race, either for the nomination on in the general election, this nearly three decades old tale strikes an emotional chord that could be the difference between victory and defeat for Mitt Romney.
After all, there are 78 million dogs in the nation and their owners vote.
For all these reasons, Seamus has become an opinion leader more than any Westminster Kennel Club winner could ever dream of. (Seamus protesters were there too!)
Seamus has also has become the political equivalent of a Rorschach test. For after hearing the infamous story you interpret, and respond according to who you are and where you stand socially and politically.
This issue could hurt Romney all the way to November because people read into it what they want and that is usually not in Romney’s favor.
On the liberal side, MSNBC’s Rachael Maddow says the story “could help define Romney as “cold” and “unfeeling” and “out of touch.” It was, she said, “the kind of intangible that can define a presidential campaign. “ Please note, this is the one and only time Rachael Maddow and I have ever agreed on anything.
The Republican candidates are nicer of course, just questioning Romney’s character and judgment.
Not holding back, is Lanny Davis, a prominent former “Clinton Team” member and Fox News analyst. He wrote in a January Fox News editorial that the Seamus issue makes Romney unfit to be president.
Seriously? A declaration like that from a somewhat credible, albeit partisan spokesman who defended Bill Clinton during his dog days, is further proof our national discourse has reached new lows.
So while America is in the process of tanking, please take this opportunity to enjoy “The Best of Seamus” – and with 2,920,000 Google mentions there was a lot to choose from.
Seamus is now America’s most famous dead political dog leaving FDR’s Fala and Nixon’s Checkers in the dust. But even from dog heaven, despite these hard economic times, Seamus has generated his own economic stimulus package, making his owner proud.
Check out the web site Dogs Against Romney.com which bills itself as the official “Dogs against Romney Store.” Here you can purchase t-shirts, mugs and bumper stickers with slogans like “Mitt is Mean”, “I Ride Inside” and “Dogs Aren’t Luggage.”
Seamus has a Wiki entry of course, and is so famous that he even has his own “gate” scandal called Crate-gate, which no doubt equals Watergate in Democrat dog years.
Crate-Gate: Mitt Romney, his dog Seamus, and your vote, is the headline on the Seamus Facebook page.
All this fame has made Seamus a bona fied You Tube star with 105 videos the last time I checked. The best produced video stars a singing Seamus in The Mutt Romney Blues. This was produced by Brave New Films a well established liberal media group funded by George Soros …no surprise there.
As all loyal You Tubers know, only A-list celebrities get rewarded with an extra special video of Hitler reacting to whatever “news” story is in the headlines. (The first one I ever saw was Hitler reacting to Sarah Palin’s selection as VP.) Here is Hitler reacting to Tebow defeating the Pittsburg Steelers. You get the idea.
So now that Seamus is a top dog, he too gets spoofed with “Hitler finds out Romney strapped his dog to the car roof”. The sickest line is when Hitler screams to his generals about Romney’s cruelty. Well, you just have to see it for yourself.
Finally my “Best of Seamus” selections conclude with this question asked in the headline of the Seamus 2012 home page, a web site that is everything Seamus and reads: White House or Dog House for Romney?
I fully expect the dog and the Etch A Sketch will be with us until November and become Romney’s negative symbols like windsurfing was for John Kerry in 2004.
For it is only a matter of time before political cartoons have Seamus playing with an Etch A Sketch. Then, the Obama- friendly media can use both symbols to totally define Romney.
After all, what could be worse than a political flip-flopper who straps his dog to the roof?