The latest flap in the presidential campaign is a dog meat story. Not in the sense that it’s a stupid and pointless story, although it is, but in the sense that it’s about dog meat.
It all started with the confirmation of an old rumor that on a 1983 Romney family vacation the Romney family dog rode along in a kennel cage strapped atop the Romney family car. Many commentators quickly offered the incident as proof that Romney is a dog-torturing cad who can’t wait to lock the entire middle class into a similar cage and strap them atop his gas-guzzling limousine as he speeds down the highway toward the car elevator in his palatial home, cackling with a villainous glee along the way. David Axelrod, Obama’s senior campaign strategist, piled on with a “tweet” that contrasted Romney’s raw cruelty with a photo of Obama traveling in his own gas-guzzling limousine with the First Dog comfortably seated inside, adding the tweet-sized caption of “How loving owners transport their dogs.”
The Romney campaign fired back just as quickly. After one of the wags over at the Daily Caller pointed out that in Obama’s own memoir he fondly recalled eating dogs and other strange delicacies during his childhood days in Indonesia, the man-bites-dog story fanned out through the internet and conservative talk radio. Romney strategist Eric Fehrstrom then went tweet-for-tweet his counterpoint, writing “In hindsight, a chilling photo.”
More charges and counter-charges followed, but it was all a meaningless distraction. We’ve seen enough dogs being happily transported in pick-up truck beds, motorcycle sidecars, bicycle baskets, and other conveyances to have noted that the species travels well, so the Romney method seems no more inhumane than the very routine matter of packing a similar kennel cage into the luggage compartment of a jetliner. Neither does the old revelation about Obama’s past dietary habit seem troubling, as we believe in the old adage that when in Indonesia do as the Indonesians do. In any case, none of it is as important as the stagnant economy, a national debt heading to catastrophic territory, a deteriorating international situation, or several other real issues that the news people aren’t talking about while they mull over the dog meat story.
Although the incident is likely to be soon forgotten, it does point to a few oproblems that will likely dog the Obama campaign between now and Election Day. One is the tendency for the Obama campaign’s manufactured media brouhahas to backfire on them, and another is the way Romney’s steadily efficient campaign is reacting fast and effectively to everything that comes up.
More importantly, it points out the difficulty that Obama will have in portraying Romney as an out-of-touch rich guy who can’t possibly understand the concerns of the average American. While Romney is certainly rich and arguably out of touch, the dog-on-the-roof scandal has the effect of reminding Americans that he’s at least a regular enough guy to have been packing the wife and kids into a station wagon for a family vacation at some point in his life. Obama, on the other hand, wrote two memoirs stressing his original campaign theme of how very exotic and international he is, his own lavish and publicly-funded vacations are now widely known and much resented, and even the pictures that his campaign strategist is tweeting show him treating a dog to a luxurious limo ride.
– Bud Norman,/p>