America's Enduring Seamus Obsession
An anti-Romney protestor has reenacted the Romney family dog's infamous rooftop ride.
Remember the story of Seamus the dog? How could you forget? Here's the latest salvo: a member of the group Dogs Against Romney strapped a kennel to the roof of his car with a stuffed canine and a camera inside, then went out on the highway to provide a sort of SeamusCam -- the view of what the Romney family dog would have seen on his infamous journey to Canada atop a Chevy station wagon. It's about as uncomfortable-looking as you'd expect.
Believe it or not, this isn't the first time someone has tried the stunt. A protestor in Littleton, Colo., did the same thing, sans camera, only to be pulled over by the local constabulary on suspicion of animal abuse.
It's easy to trace the roots of Seamus-mania. The story was first reported in the Boston Globe in 2007, and, through a nearly single-handed crusade by New York Times columnist Gail Collins, has become a leitmotif of the 2012 campaign. And it's easy to see why the story has been picked up by Romney's critics, who like to paint Romney as a ruthlessly impersonal -- even robotic -- pragmatist who is unable to relate to regular people and seems to have no moral boundaries.
But how has it become so memorable? In comparison to other micro-controversies that were supposedly revealing of candidates' character flaws -- from Al Gore's supposed invention of the Internet to George W. Bush's many malapropisms to John Kerry's windsurfing --Seamus' tale has had an unusually long life, even in dog years. Indeed, the only possible comparison is Dan Savage's redefinition of Rick Santorum's surname in retaliation for the former Pennsylvania senator comparing homosexuality to bestiality. In addition to the latest car stunt, Dogs Against Romney has organized an anti-Romney protest outside the Westminister Dog Show. Demonstrators have appeared at primary events across the nation to remind attendees of the incident. Ann Coulter has weighed in, apparently revealing that she is not only able to communicate with dogs but is also able to channel the thoughts of dead ones. We've also heard from top Obama aide David Axelrod. As reporters frantically search for a shred of a scoop on the story, anonymous sources whisper darkly that Seamus ran away upon reaching his destination (the truth is still out there, as yet undetermined).
Meanwhile, YouTube is a vast wasteland of Seamus clips, in addition to the video above (Newt Minow had no idea how bad things would get if the consumers had control). Someone with decent editing skills and too much free time has painstakingly grafted Romney's head into a scene from National Lampoon's 1983 Vacation (come to think of it, there are some similarities between Chevy Chase and Romney). It's joined by countless clips of news anchors talking about the incident -- in case you're unsure where the roof of a car is, CNN's Jeanne Moos has a handy demonstration -- and a plethora of poorly animated spots like this one.
How much longer can this go on, and how much more can we stand? At this point, a mere 12 hours strapped to the roof of a car is sounding like an attractive alternative.