With Romney, It’s About the Dog

99 percent on roofAfter watching the second presidential debate, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the dog. When I first heard the story that Mitt Romney had strapped their dog, Seamus, to the roof of their car on a trip to Canada, the dog lover in me was horrified that a pet owner could do such a thing to an animal. But I didn’t think that it had much to do with the presidential race.

As I’ve learned more about Mitt Romney’s career, however, it strikes me that the experience with the dog is emblematic of his entire professional trajectory – he will do anything to get to where he wants to go. More specifically, he will step on anyone or anything in order to get there.

As a venture capitalist at Bain, Romney was a leader and innovator in the field of leveraged buyouts. For these evangelical capitalists, the end is profit. If the means entailed massive layoffs, corporate bankruptcy, and the destabilization of the local economy where the company was located, the end goal of profit justified any resulting human, economic, or social costs.

When Romney decided he wanted to be governor of Massachusetts, he set aside decades of support of neo-liberal economic policies and his very conservative social positions on women’s issues to present himself as a moderate that would appeal to voters in this traditionally Democratic state. Prior to this transformation, Romney had, as a bishop in the Mormon Church, demonstrated a strong belief that women should remain in traditional roles and that abortion was never to be considered an appropriate “choice.” Romney reversed these ostensibly moral stances in order to achieve the governor’s mansion.

As a presidential candidate, Romney has again remade himself, this time in a more conservative direction. Much has been said about Romney’s changes of position – I won’t go into more detail about that here. But what struck me during the debates is his willingness to say anything, change any previous position, in order to achieve his goal of the presidency. In the second debate, Romney claimed he supports contraceptive coverage for women, something entirely at odds with his previous statements on the subject and the Republican Party platform.

Lisa Garcia-BedollaRomney strapped the dog to the roof of his car because it was more convenient than having the dog in the car. When the dog defecated all over himself and his dog carrier, Romney hosed him off and kept going. For him, the destination is what matters, and he has shown this repeatedly over the course of his career.

You can tell a lot about a person by looking at how they treat the weak and vulnerable. Thinking about Seamus makes me worry what a President Romney would do to any American he thinks might stand in his way.

Lisa García Bedolla
The Berkeley Blog

Posted: Saturday, 20 October 2012

About Lisa Garcia-Bedolla

Lisa García Bedolla is an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Education and is Chair of UC Berkeley's Center for Latino Policy Research. Her research looks at the intersection of race, class, gender and political engagement, with a focus on the Latino community in California and nationally. She is author of Latino Politics (Cambridge, UK: Polity, 2009) and Fluid Borders: Latino Power, Identity, and Politics in Los Angeles (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), which won two national book awards.

Comments

  1. settersrule says:

    I have been the proud companion of four Irish setters in my lifetime (including my current live-in housemate, Paddy). I always got a chuckle out of that story, knowing that Irish setters can be, well, ditzy (see Gary Larson’s “How to recognize the moods of an Irish setter” cartoon). And I had to laugh. Reading you commentary, I’m not laughing anymore. Thanks

  2. My grandmother once advised, “Beware when picking a mate, if he’ll mistreat a dog, he’ll mistreat you!” ~ This should certainly be applied to the American Electorate.

  3. Sidney18511 says:

    This man just wants to WIN. I don’t believe that he gives two craps about this country or it’s people. He wants to WIN. That’s all that matters to him. He WINS and we LOSE.

  4. I agree. This is something that has bothered me all along. The utter cruelty and disregard. I also think of Romney bullying a fellow student because he was different. While I know that we go through difficult times as teenagers, there has never seemed to be any apology or explanation.
    I get the distinct impression that he is cruel.

  5. Greendogdemo says:

    Dogs Against Romney. It’s all about his core beliefs. He has none. He is a robot; dogs and women are disposable to him. You can always get another one. It’s in the binder.

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