Why Mitt Romney, Pet Abuser?, isn’t Old News. ~ Harris Mercer

Via elephant journal
on Jun 4, 2011
get elephant's newsletter
Photo: MittRomney.com

Recently, as part of his ongoing campaign to distract GOP voters from the fact that he passed compassionate, forward-thinking, popular (84% support!) statewide universal health care while governor of Massachusetts, which is somehow now considered a liability in today’s Republican party, Mitt Romney, like many others, attacked President Obama for saying what American and Israeli leaders have said for years: that a two-state solution in the Middle East will have to be based on alterations of Israel’s pre-1967 borders mutually agreed to by Israelis and Palestinians.

Romney used a common political cliché: Obama, he said, “threw Israel under the bus.” By picking this widely-used metaphor, though, he inspired a stinging comeback that was the perfect size for a tweet:

Yes, folks, that’s right. If you haven’t heard the news, sit down. As New York Times columnist Gail Collins has a hilarious fondness for mentioning at every available opportunity:

In 1983 Mitt Romney drove all the way to Canada with his kids’ Irish Setter, Seamus, strapped to the roof of the family car.

Photo: ABC News

Since the Boston Globe revealed this very interesting factoid in early 2007, there’s been widespread discussion of what, if anything, this says about what kind of president Mitt Romney would be, and whether it was cruel to the dog.

It certainly violated Massachusetts animal cruelty laws which, two decades later, Romney would be tasked with enforcing.

Ingrid Newkirk, the always-controversial president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), said:

“The wind, the weather, the speed, the vulnerability, the isolation on the roof, it is commonsense that…the dog was, basically, being tortured.”

For Romney’s kids, Newkirk says, it constituted “a lesson in cruelty.”

Romney has not only defended what Time magazine called his “Cruel Canine Vacation;” he has attacked those who criticize it: “They’re not happy that my dog loves fresh air.” Yes, that must be what motivates them.

In this case, Dr. Russell Cumming, a professor of aerospace engineering at California Polytechnic State University, says that “assuming sea level conditions, the poor little dog would have about 10 pounds per square foot pressing against his head.” He added, “My wife’s a vet and she would be more worried by the dehydration of the dog’s eyes.”

Douglas Osheroff, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, also weighed in, saying that, “Beyond a certain velocity, the air flow becomes turbulent. …The airflow isn’t going to be laminar…[and] would buffet the side of the dog. That would be tiring.”

When you’re a presidential candidate, Nobel Prize winners are asked to for analyses of mistakes you made a quarter-century ago—especially mistakes you won’t say you regret, and that arguably constitute animal cruelty.

Photo: Vanity Fair

Mitt Romney’s latest book is called No Apology: The Case for American Greatness. (For the paperback, in addition to belatedly changing his views on the Obama administration’s Recovery Act to bring them closer into line with current Republican orthodoxy, Romney shortened the subtitle to simply “Believe in America,” which is now his campaign slogan, as shown at left with the classic design that apparently inspires him.)

And if he’ll make “no apology” for treating his pet the way you treat a pair of skis you don’t really care about, I’m guessing he probably won’t apologize for passing universal health care, either. The fact that only one of those two things is considered objectionable by modern Republicans, and it’s the one that saves kids’ lives, not discomfits their dogs, tells you something about today’s conservatives.

Or not. It could just be a funny fact that I thought you should know. Personally, I’d be tempted to pledge to donate to any Republican candidate, no matter how objectionable, who brought it up in a debate. Now that would be good television.


Harris Mercer is a new resident of Boulder and a native of New York City. He served as National High School Director with Students for Barack Obama at Obama for America throughout the Democratic presidential primaries in 2007 and 2008. At Bennington College in Bennington, VT he got to study both his obsessions: politics and Shakespeare. He is an elej intern, but his views are his own and do not represent those of elephant journal. He can be reached at harrismercer [at] gmail [dot] com and wants you to go to http://whatthefuckhasobamadonesofar.com.

elephant is a discussion, not a lecture: please comment below to continue the conversation with the author.


About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to "bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society." We're about anything that helps us to live a good life that's also good for others, and our planet. >>> Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>> elephant's been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter's Shorty Awards for #green content...two years running. >>> Get involved: > Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter. > Follow us on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook. > Write: send article or query. > Advertise. > Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive—and get your name/business/fave non-profit on every page of elephantjournal.com. Questions? Send to info@elephantjournal.com


6 Responses to “Why Mitt Romney, Pet Abuser?, isn’t Old News. ~ Harris Mercer”

  1. Harris_Mercer says:

    Also: why was Romney going on vacation to Canada? What happened to "Believe in America?" This raises serious questions about Mitt Romney's patriotism. Inquiring minds want to know…

  2. Monique says:

    I'm so glad someone brought this up. How inane must a person be to do this to a dog? SIgh…At least Huckabee dropped out.

  3. elephantjournal says:

    Heidi Hoffman FREE THE WEINER
    14 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    Sheila Hansen This is old news and besides – do you really have to back to 1983 to find something? This guy's an angel compated to everyone else!
    14 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    elephantjournal.com Please share if you care..! This man's the frontrunner, for now, for GOP nomination. Of course, it is a long time ago…but such error in judgment, compassion…wow.
    14 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 4 people4 people like this.
    Emily Expat-Wannabe If he was only four years old in 1983, I could see this being a non-issue, but he wasn't four, he was an adult.
    14 hours ago · UnlikeLike · 4 peopleLoading…
    Donovan Moore We had George Bush, who ran for president after God told him to. Now we have a guy who believes in Holy Underwear and other crazy Mormon stuff. Sheesh…
    14 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 4 peopleLoading…
    Heidi Hoffman Hey, I know, let's tie MUTT to the top of the car and see if he LOVES THE FRESH AIR as much as the dog did. Here's what they call a clue, jackass. If the dog shits itself, it's not having fun!
    14 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 4 people4 people like this.
    Steve Maloney We couldn't get anyone interested in this story when he ran for Senate or Gov.
    14 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    Rachel Williams Wow…I felt nothing but ambivalence for Mitt before….now I think he's a heartless prick. Well done Mitt! Now I am definetly paying attention. Jackass
    14 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 2 people2 people like this.
    elephantjournal.com Sheila, I generally would agree but something isn't made "old news" because it's been reported on. Something is made "old news" because someone's moved past something. We all have our work to do, for sure, I we ought to resist being cruel to one another. ~ W.
    14 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 3 people3 people like this.
    elephantjournal.com ‎…I "agree" we… sorry for typo, Sheila! ~ W.
    13 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 1 personPetite Puce likes this.
    Ramesh Ramloll Well at least he is one GOP focused on the economy, the only one so far among the other fools trying to run for president. Am pretty sure the guy won't be having stuff like Edwards or Arnold etc… in the closet. If he is consistent about pointing out the failures of Obama's administration on the economic front, he might actually create a surprise.
    13 hours ago · LikeUnlike · 1 personLoading…
    Teri Nilson Baird nice guy.
    13 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    Petite Puce ‎@ramesh animal abuser most certainly have other skeletons in their closets which most likely are against humans.
    11 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    Linda L. Davis was the dog in a kennel perhaps? I'd like details as to how it was "strapped to the roof." anyone know?
    3 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    Debbie Reek I'd like to hear what Rachel Maddow has to say about this one! Left, right – she doesn't pull any punches, let's you make up your own mind, but throws out (with backup interviews) her views about politics – a filthy, dirty, pretentious career for most. (Opinion.)
    2 hours ago · LikeUnlike
    Mary Yamada We're all entitled to occasional stupidity.

  4. Della Brown says:

    Mitt Romney was able to tap his bailed-out banker buddies on Wall Street to the tune of 10 million dollars in one day. In fact, Romney raised 10 million dollars in one day a couple of weeks ago from well-heeled party bigwigs and Wall Street insiders, many of whom ponied up the legal maximum of $2,500 per person (or $5,000 per couple).

  5. […] The last 30 seconds is the best part: totally believable from the man who strapped his dog to the top of his car and…oh, boy. […]