Dog-Eat-Dog Politics: Obama Ate Dog Meat, Critics Say
Hey, if we’re going to talk about how presidential candidates treated dogs decades ago, let’s talk about how presidential candidates treated dogs decades ago. Can you name the author of this quote?
“With Lolo, I learned how to eat small green chill peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice), and, away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy). Like many Indonesians, Lolo followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths. He explained that a man took on the powers of whatever he ate: One day soon, he promised, he would bring home a piece of tiger meat for us to share.”
Yep, that’s Barack Obama, writing about his childhood with his stepfather Lolo Soetoro in Indonesia, from Chapter Two of his bestseller Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.
Treacher posted the excerpt on Tuesday to respond to an old story about Romney strapping the family dog's crate onto the roof of the car during a 1983 camping trip. The dog, an Irish Setter named Seamus, apparently suffered the "runs," according to Ann Romney. She said her husband pulled over to hose off the dog during the long drive.
The Boston Globe originally posted the story back in 2007, yet it continues to haunt Romney's campaign presently. Alabama resident Scott Crider started an online Facebook page called "Dogs Against Romney," which now has 48,000 fans and continues to keep the story in the news. Romney's opponents, including Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, have also been happy to bring it up.
Trying to steer away attention from the camping trip anecdote, Romney's aides noted that Obama apparently ate dog meat as a child. However, Romney was quick to say that such stories are distracting during the election campaign.
"This campaign is ultimately going to become about jobs not dogs," said Romney in an interview with Bill Cunningham on WLW radio in Ohio. "You recognize of course that some members of the media, and certainly the DNC and the White house itself are going to do everything in their power to divert the attention of the voter from the failure of the president to try to turn around the economy."
Some pundits, however, are keeping the heat on Romney. Lincoln Mitchell, a Columbia University professor, slammed Romney's alleged mistreatment of the family dog and argued it will make him even more unsympathetic to voters. Mitchell said:
It is probably true that Romney's treatment of Seamus would not make him a bad president -- his economic views and fear of his own party's right wing would do that. Despite this, Romney's treatment of Seamus may prove damaging in the election.
Romney's treatment of Seamus is potentially damaging to his candidacy because it reinforces much of what many Americans, particularly swing voters, already feel about Romney -- that he is a smart enough man, but simply unable to connect or relate to the problems and challenges facing ordinary Americans. The Seamus story is consistent with this because it shows Romney to be goal-driven, singularly focused and insensitive -- it should be remembered that after the dog got sick, Romney pulled over, hosed him off and kept going -- even when taking his family on vacation.
The conservative blogger Allahpundit responded to the criticism on Hot Air:
Good points, Lincoln Mitchell. Might a “good and dedicated father and grandfather” in fact be a sociopath because of how he once transported the family pet on vacation? I look forward to seeing this important question explored at length in the media’s campaign coverage this summer. Oh, by the way — we just passed $5 trillion in new debt accumulated since Obama was sworn in.
Neither story is likely to go away anytime soon, especially on social media.