|Seamus Photo from Boston.com|
Who would do such a thing for a few miles, let alone a 12 hour drive? And when confronted by evidence that the dog is in obvious distress, what kind of guy would simply hose off the dog and car and continue on the journey?
Mitt Romney, that's who.
In 2007, Neil Swidey and Stephanie Ebbert wrote an exhaustive seven part investigative story about Mitt Romney for The Boston Globe. In Part 4 of The Making of Mitt Romney, they tell a story of Mitt Romney and the family Irish Setter, Seamus.
In 1983 the Romney family was traveling from Boston to Ontario - a 12 hour trek - in their Chevy station wagon. As Swidey reports: Before beginning the drive, Mitt Romney put Seamus, the family's hulking Irish setter, in a dog carrier and attached it to the station wagon's roof rack. He'd built a windshield for the carrier, to make the ride more comfortable for the dog.Then Romney put his boys on notice: He would be making predetermined stops for gas, and that was it.The ride was largely what you'd expect with five brothers, ages 13 and under, packed into a wagon they called the ''white whale.''As the oldest son, Tagg Romney commandeered the way-back of the wagon, keeping his eyes fixed out the rear window, where he glimpsed the first sign of trouble. ''Dad!'' he yelled. ''Gross!'' A brown liquid was dripping down the back window, payback from an Irish setter who'd been riding on the roof in the wind for hours.
As the rest of the boys joined in the howls of disgust, Romney coolly pulled off the highway and into a service station. There, he borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the highway. It was a tiny preview of a trait he would grow famous for in business: emotion-free crisis management.
Crisis management? When I first became aware of this story, I couldn't believe it was true. Now, knowing that it is a fact, I suggest that it provides a unique glimpse into his character and moral conscience.
In today's Boston Globe's Magazine, Swidey writes about the incident in the article What our fascination with Mitt Romney's dog Seamus says about our culture. Among other things, Swidey reminds readers that standards were different in 1983 and notes:
Standards may have been different in 1983, however such actions certainly didn't come under the heading of kindness to animals. It calls into question this guy's basic sensitivity to other living creatures. Especially troubling is that when questioned about the incident these days, Romney laughs.Although I think it would be nuts for voters to base their presidential selection solely on this incident, it’s always struck me as a valuable window into how Romney operates. In everything the guy does, he functions on logic, not emotion.
A guy who would do such a thing to a family dog that he "loves" and laugh about it, is not a guy I want holding any elective office. Let alone that of President of the United States.
In her article Dogs and Presidential Candidates for The Daily Beast, Leslie Bennetts notes that Ingrid Newkirk of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) describes the incident as torture. To which Romney replied that PETA has targeted him because he once went quail hunting, approved a rodeo as part of the Salt Lake City Olympics celebration and said:
They're not happy that my dog likes fresh air.
Have a look at this current day video from Fox News Sunday and listen to Romney's explanation to Chris Wallace: