If Seamus Could Talk

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April 20, 2012

Many people fret about Mitt Romney’s treatment of his dog nearly thirty years ago than about his weather-vane political convictions. I ignored the story until recently. Sure the facts troubled me. Inhumane is a mild way of describing the 12-hour vacation trip that Seamus endured in a crate atop the family station wagon. But I have bigger concerns about the GOP presidential candidate, among them his pledge to snatch health insurance away from millions of Americans. Not just the cruelty of his stance but the craven hypocrisy. After all, Romney now condemns national health-care reform like that which he successfully championed while governor of Massachusetts.

Drawing me into Crategate, finally, was Romney’s wife Ann. In a TV interview this week, she defended Seamus’ ride as something the Irish setter enjoyed. Clearly the Romneys have adopted the cynical Karl Rove tactic for distorting reality: repeatedly characterize something that’s negative as positive and voila! I’m convinced that Romney could claim over and over that the sun rises in the west and many in the electorate would see glimmers of dawn there every morning.

What’s most troubling about Romney and the dog story is his unwillingness to acknowledge a mistake. Or worse yet his inability to see the error as an error at all. Or not recognizing that even an insincere joking apology—”upon further reflection I realize that my wife Ann should have strapped me to the roof and let Seamus ride shotgun”—would deflate the story.

If Seamus was among the living and could talk, I imagine him telling Romney: “I forgive you, Mitt. But a ‘sorry’ would be nice.”