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March 23, 2012 09:14 PM UTC

The Lingering Pain of "Dogs Against Romney"

  • by: Colorado Pols

As the Durango Herald reports with local reactions, it’s a tale that just won’t go away:

Though it happened more than a quarter of a century ago, today, this anecdote is the foremost gag in national news: regular fodder for comedians David Letterman and Stephen Colbert, the subject of the New Yorker’s March 12 cover; and a Facebook group “Dogs Against Romney” with 42,000 fans. Since 2007, New York Times columnist Gail Collins has invoked the incident – with puckish glee – more than 50 times and both President Barack Obama and Rick Santorum have used it to malign Romney’s character as weird and without compassion.

The tale has palpably hurt Romney with Durangoans – who, when it comes to loving dogs, are perhaps second only to the canine-worshipping Hindus of Nepal…

Lou Galinson, owner of Pet Haus, said, “We’ve never had anybody come in and say, ‘I need to put my dog on the top of my car, like a kayak.’ That just sounds like animal cruelty.”

Galinson said the proper way to transport a dog would be inside the vehicle, ideally secured by a seat belt.

Dr. Brian Marshall of Bridge Veterinary Clinic said, “My concern is that if he got in a car wreck, that dog is curtains.”

The story of Mitt Romney’s hapless dog strapped to the roof of his car on a family vacation many years ago doesn’t seem at first glance like the issue that could really hurt him–not with so many more weighty issues that could, either taking the wrong side to appeal to the right wing GOP base in the primary, or just plain flip-flopping.

Anecdotally, we can tell you we’re truly amazed at how often we hear about this story from nonpolitical friends. It seems to us if you could make something like “personhood” stick to Romney like the story of his dog on the road trip, you could call this election over right now.


43 thoughts on “The Lingering Pain of “Dogs Against Romney”

  1. Allow me to debunk:

    1. Obscure but liberal newspaper digs up tired old silly story from months ago,

    2. Interviews fellow liberals to make it seem fresh,

    3. Colorado Pols declares it the greatest story ever written.

    For everyone who has read Blueprint, this is very predictable stuff.

    1. That implies the story is made up. It happened, we all heard Romney tell it. People are still talking about, so it’s not dying.

      Words have meanings. Romney agrees. Well, a few days ago. Christ. Has he flipped on definitions, too?!

      1. Now, why hasn’t A-BOT come back to answer this? Or any of the other comments? Maybe he’s in the doghouse on top of the car with his bosses, because that’s as flimsy a spin job as he’s had here.

    2. Debunking would be if you somehow claimed the story was false.

      The most Greek-tragic aspect of this whole story for Romney is that his son brought it up to a reporter because he was PROUD of it.

        1. Dog strapped to roof of car defecating in terror hosed off and strapped back on.  It’s a bad story and not even Romney claims the strapping on and hosing off are untrue. And the negative stories keep piling up.  People are still talking about the Etch-A-Sketch fiasco (and apparently buying stock in the toy’s parent company, no doubt in anticipation of the demand for them as props to bring to Romney events) and now this:

          WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney on the campaign trail has chided President Barack Obama for failing to curb prices at the pump, even as prominent economists have debunked those talking points, saying there’s little the president can do to lower prices in the short term. Now the latest twist: No one from Romney’s economic team will step forward to defend him.

          And not for want of opportunity.

          So besides the doggie story, his campaign spokesperson admitting so openly that if you don’t like what Romney said last week he’ll be happy to erase it and say something else next week, and Santorum pretty much saying it would be better to stick with Obama if Romney gets the nomination, now his own economists are finding it necessary to resort to their moms’ old “if you don’t have something nice to say don’t say anything” rule when questioned about Mitten’s pronouncements on the price of gas and how it’s Obama’s fault.

          Dog story is the least of his current problems.

          Have a nice day, Arap.  

          1. Yes.  Quite possibly he travelled frequently with his dog on an adapted kennel on the roof of his car.  Would I do that?  No – seems like a high risk of death or injury to the dog.

            But do I know actually exactly what happened?  Not based on any of the press reports.   Even the original reporter says he did not talk to any of Romney’s family.

            As I said – a narrative has developed – facts are being cherry-picked and invented – and we are all happily playing along.  And we will all whine and cry when the next “birther”-like “gotta report the controversy” story comes out and slimes our guy/gal.

            I’d rather have an analysis – based on his past actions and words – of what a supposed President Romney would do.  From what I’ve seen:

            1. He would be lukewarm at best on women’s reproductive health and rights – if Republicans had a majority in Congress, I would expect him to go along with whatever they propose here

            2. His economic proposals tend toward “give the rich even more advantages and have the middle-class pay for it”.  Only a little more than the Democrats currently do, sadly.

            3. On health-care – Romneycare is nearly identical to Obamacare.  So, I would not expect him to offer leadership that would improve it.

            4. I suspect, if Republicans were the majority, that he would go along with whatever faddish social-program-destroying austerity cuts they propose.

            All of those, and more, are why I could never support Romney.

    3. well I’m not sure God is Good but remember this?

      1. Bloviating rightwing media beats to death a tired old silly guilt-by-association story from ’90s Chicago when Obama served on 2 nonprofit boards with reformed UIC Distinguished Professor William Ayers (and numerous other board members).

      2. Crazed rightwing conspiracists repeat & repeat the story fluffing this 20 + year old story to fill the 24-7 blogoshpere.

      3. WND, Drudge Report, Breitbart, Hannity, and other ignorant mudslingers declare it the greatest Obama:terrorist conspiracy yet revealed.

      I gotta tell you that someone tying an innocent, scared crapless Seamus (or any living thing for that matter) to the family wagon luggage rack and doing 12 hours of highway tooling at 75+ mph sure seems fuckall stupid.  Animal abuse sure as hell gets a ton more discussion among folks I know than some silly Bill Ayers connect the dots bullshit your side pushed.  

      Please answer for all the fine folks here — have you ever seen a dog in a crate on top of a car on the highway?  If so, just WTF would you have thought?

      Not sure how many here would be like, “damn, that’s a great idea — think I’ll try that out next time we’re headed up I-70.”  And  this was a decision made by 36-year old father of 5 Mitt who was already pulling in a 6-figure income as a shining star at Bain & Co.  

    4. 1) build an offense around the greatest running back since you already have him

      2) get a QB with attitude who can heave it long once in awhile

      3) Speed in the scondary- both sides

      4) give your defensive coordnator free reign and the greatest MB in the game at the time.

      Win. A lot.  

      Why fix what ain’t broke?

      Btw- did he drive all day with the dog on the roof?  Would you?  they had two cars, right?  He’d heard of kennels, right?  the train?

      I get it- ingenious use of the hose. thanks for playing  But,…but,,, he’s not running on that!  snif

  2. I grab some cash and send half to some animal cops and half to some Obama re-election group.

    Last I saw Letterman, not recent, but way after this story broke in this primary, he was still talking about it. He just randomly brings it up, nearly every show. Like, “Just wanted to remind you that Romney makes poor decisions. So do I. That’s why I don’t think I should be President.”

    Of course, kind of like YouTube trumping basic civil rights in the minds of the public, I’d rather folks dislike him for trying his damnedest to sentence my cousin to skin cancer, or bleeding out. <–Why my, ironically celibate, slut cousin takes “birth control.”

    But whatever gets the job done.

  3. But this whole “dog on the roof” thing exhibits exactly what is wrong with political “journalism” in this country.  The press seem to think the things which really matter (taxation, social programs, foreign policy) are “dull” and instead like to create a “narrative” for candidates.  This “narrative” is based primarily on the press corps’ own biases, and they then cherry-pick anecdotes to fit the narrative.

    Having been a candidate, I know why candidates focus so much on likeability and general appeal.  But the press should ignore such issues and focus on the meat of the campaign, so that the citizens may be more likely to make an actual informed decision.

    Unfortunately, in this age of media consolidation, this is unlikely to happen.

    1. Fundamentally we are electing a person based on their philosophy, heir priorities, etc. a list of policy positions are a part of that, but just a part.

      Look at Obama, his policy positions would lead one to believe he would take control of Wall St and actively address joblessness. But Obama the person prefers compromise to fighting hard for what is best.

      The person trumps the policy preferences.

        1. Core of Swiftboating story was all fiction, including (but not limited to) their pet doctor claiming to remember examining Kerry (who was nobody but a junior officer at the time so why would he) when neither said doctor’s name nor initials are not found on any paperwork in connection with Kerry’s records.

          Their other core contention that Kerry got himself a silver star by writing up a heroic story about himself as proved by his pintails also false. Maybe a high ranking officer can get himself a silver star that way but not a lowly junior officer.

          The dog story may have been embellished but is essentially true. The Swiftboaters didn’t embellish a true negative story.  They made up the entire thing out of whole cloth because they were upset by Kerry’s ant-war activities. At least that’s what my husband, a Swift Boat vet who will never forgive those clowns for turning something he was proud of into a slang term for a lying smear campaign, tells me. And to compare the impact of the dog story to what the Lying Swift Boat Veterans for “Truth” did is way out of proportion.

          1. since it’s a word it was fine with spell check. Also, while my spell check is always flagging non-existent “syntax” errors, it allowed my double negative. No wonder newspapers contain so many errors these days. Still need humans who know stuff paying close attention. I obviously wasn’t.  

        2. as BlueCat said, but Romney is on video confirming that core story. So to question it is to question Romney’s truthfulness.

          Oh, wait…I guess that is a valid reason one might question the story…

    2. Voters get to decide who to vote for and why. Or why not.

      Trying to tell them they should vote for Candidate X because X has some idea or attribute doesn’t matter if they hate Candidate X on sight and would never, ever vote for her.  If the political process were just about ideas and positions and issues we’d never need to meet the candidates.  Just publish their list and be done with it.

      IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY. And never has.  

      1. Voters get to decide on whatever basis they want.  Where did I suggest otherwise?

        But it seems to me that the mainstream press has given up any pretense of wanting to actually inform people.  They are strictly an entertainment organization.

        I have higher hopes for the online community – but only if we step up to the challenge.  Discuss policy first, personality second.  IMO.  Or we will always be stuck in the “herp de derp derp” land of the cult of personality.

        1. need ratings, so they give us what we want. If it bleeds, it leads.

          I have higher hopes for the Cubs. So?

          …press should ignore such issues and focus on the meat of the campaign, so that the citizens may be more likely to make an actual informed decision.

          Sure, but when Paris Hilton is naked what are you gonna do?

        2. The office of the presidency is one where character and personality matter, because it’s the job where you want someone with the good judgment necessary to deal with whatever crisis comes down the pike. (Try to imagine Nixon dealing with the Cuban Missile Crisis – we might not be here today.)

          Romney’s decision to put his dog up on top of his car for a cross country trip tells us that he lacks this judgment. It’s a truly valid marker for his qualification (or lack thereof) for the highest office in the land.

  4. First she had heard of it. She was appalled and thought Romney should be charged with animal cruelty. She’s pretty apolitical but to her this was a deal killer. I think this will have a major impact on the campaign.

    I know none of my daughters would vote for someone who would treat a dog this way. The term they use for someone they think is a mean person is “puppy kicker.”

    1. the dog survived, the facts are spotty, etc. but that still dosen’t take away from the fact that only an inhumane, heartless asshole would do something like this.

      This just reinforces the narrative of Mitt Romney as putting in zero thought on his impact on others and how it may harm them.  Much like his job cremator days at Bain.  I just think he dosen’t really give a fuck about anyone else.  I really do.

  5. 1- a good thing, the guy does not see to weary, probably because he doesn’t dring anything with caffeine or ETOH

    2- when he walks, in his mom jeans, he takes very small steps. The average step for a male is 30″. I’d guess his at 20″ or less. Probably so he is more poised to kick a dog  

  6. Look, what Romney did a quarter century ago was cruel and asinine. Romney hasn’t denied he did everything the story says he did: put his dog in a kennel on the roof, the dog shits in terror (to “Romney” is now in the Urban Dictionary as to “defecate in terror”), Romney unceremoniously hoses the terrified dog down in the crate and drives on. A twelve-hour trip.

    Inhumane, stupid and insensitive. Anyone in their right mind can see that – even Santorum has grilled Romney over such terrible treatment. (If the dog had been female, maybe Santorum would feel differently.)

    But I digress… Romney could have handled this forthrightly by saying what probably was really the case: he had a long-planned vacay, five kids, and a dog with diarrhea. He couldn’t leave the dog anywhere on short notice, so – incredibly stupidly, in retrospect – he applied all his MBA technocrat problem-solving skills to the obvious solution: putting the dog on the roof. It’s kind of like firing someone from a job: it hurts, but it’s gotta be done for the greater good.

    But no, here’s the REAL problem with the story. Instead of owning up to being an imbecile 25 years ago, Romney doubles down and just flat-out LIES THROUGH HIS TEETH about all kinds of things: about how the dog “loved” climbing up into the kennel, did it all the time, the kennel was “airtight”(WHAT?!? in June? for a 12-hour trip? and if so, how did the shit run down the back of the car), etc. You could practically see the flop sweat on him as he tried to lie his way out of this story.

    He’s a liar. And perhaps even worse, he’s insulting our intelligence: the esteemed intelligence of the American People of all political persuasions: right, left, centrist, and extremists. Dog lovers or cat lovers. We don’t like unconvincing liars.

    To paraphrase Judge Judy, “Don’t let your dog defecate in terror down our legs and tell us it’s raining.”

    1. from Dallas.

      So the list of things he was rescued from is long.

      He rides in the car with me.  He’s longer than my kids are tall, heavier and insanely furry.   If I had to choose between awesome family vacation at the lake house but torturing my dog, or playing with the dog in the back yard at home and no vacation, it’s a no brainer.  

      Agreed, I don’t get out much.  But when I do, zie hunde comes with.

  7. She said she didn’t think she could vote for someone who did this. If the other candidate was worse she would leave that vote blank, but it would be very hard for her to vote for someone who did something this awful to a dog.

    I think this will hold for a substantial number of voters. Cruelty to dogs is to many is a deal breaker.

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