Did you happen to see this Boston Globe story about Mitt Romney? The reporter opened the piece with a Romney family story about Mitt strapping the family’s Irish Setter, Seamus, to the roof of his station wagon for a twelve hour drive from Boston to Ontario. When the terrified dog lost control of his bowels and his waste covered the roof and back window of the car, Romney apparently calmly pulled over and simply sprayed the car—and the dog—down with a hose and hopped back on the highway.
Unfortunately, there is no punch line; I am not kidding. The reporter thought this was a fine example of Romney’s “emotion-free crisis management” style, but who knows. Here’s what PETA’s president, Ingrid Newkirk said to an enquiring press:
“First, as a charity we can’t and don’t endorse or oppose any candidate for public office, but I can say (and not just as a person who grew up with an Irish Setter!) that any individual who does something like that may have what scientists term the absence of the mirror neuron, i.e., a pin-pointable absence in the brain of the characteristic which allows the individual to feel basic compassion. The implications are frightening. Anyone who suspects that they are not able to feel empathy for others needs to be aware of the existence of this condition. What is also worrying is that Mr. Romney seems to hold the very old fashioned idea that he needs to actively show he is heartless, hence the hunting claims he has made. Not subsistence hunting, but pride in killing defenseless animals for sport, for fun, for show. In the case of the dog on the roof of the car, if this is true, quite remarkably it obviously wasn’t for show as only his own children were watching, a lesson in cruelty that was also wrong for them to witness. There was also the obviousness of the situation. Thinking of the wind, the weather, the speed, the vulnerability, the isolation on the roof, it is commonsense that any dog who’s under extreme stress might show that stress by losing control of his bowels: that alone should have been sufficient indication that the dog was, basically, being tortured. If you wouldn’t strap your child to the roof of your car, you have no business doing that to the family dog! I don’t know who would find that acceptable. Mr. Romney needs to tell the world he realizes this was not humane. People do stupid things and one day realize it, so better late than never.”
Thanks to Ana Marie Cox, founder of Wonkette, now Time.com’s Washington Editor, for noticing the story on Boston.com and jumping on it.