Don't say: doggy dog world | Do say: dog-eat-dog worldYou wonder why they call it "The Silly Season"? Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are in the doghouse thanks to dueling derogatory dog-related discourse from both parties. Is there anything to the dog fight? Or is it just a shaggy dog story? (Can I help myself? No. I cannot help myself. I checked. I can't stop doing it.)
Comment: The world is even worse than you think if you think it merely a "doggy-dog world." Sorry to be the bearer of such bad news.
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Romney's Kick in the Canines
|DogsAgainstRomney.com: For all your Romney-Hates-Dogs Needs|
The story (apparently reported in 2008 in the Boston Globe) was supposed to illustrate how Romney dealt with "emotion free crisis management," handling a family situation quickly and efficiently (As efficiently as Bain Capital laying off a bunch of pregnant mothers? We report, you decide!). However, once the ball started rolling Romney was in deep doggie doo with everyone from PETA to run of the mill pet-lovers who were appalled by actions.
Obama's Going To The Dogs
After several months of the dog-pile on Romney, someone went and dug up a quote from Obama's book where he notes he was introduced to dog meat in Indonesia. This has led to a deluge of dog-discourse around ... recipes!
What Does It Mean?
David Frum points out that each of these stories does, apparently, play into a negative stereotype each candidate has:
Thus, the "larger meaning" supposedly exposed by the dog-on-the-roof story: Romney is a heartless technocrat, ready to conduct brutal experiments on unsuspecting people or beasts and who only laughs if the experiment does not go well for the subject/victim.
And thus too the "larger meaning" seen by partisans inside the Obama-eats-dog story: Obama is an alien, raised in alienation from basic American values, and protected by a complicit news media that refuses to report embarrassing facts about him - like dog-eating.I think this is pretty insightful.
On the other hand, all of this fits a much larger pattern anyone with small kids will know: MOM!! HE HIT ME FIRST!! NO!! YOU STARTED IT! Whether it be the War on Women, cutting entitlements for seniors, or dog-sasters, each side's primary line of defense is "The other guys did it/will do it and will do it worse!"
About the only place Romney hasn't gone is claiming that Obama is worse for gay rights than he would be--but just wait for him to Etch-a-Sketch (I bet if I went through the GOProud site I might find something like that. Maybe?).
What Do I Think?
Well, I think it's nonsense. I suspect that being strapped to the roof of the car wasn't great for the dog but I suspect he did it more than once and that the dog didn't complain until he got sick up there. But I'm not sure--in any event, while I don't think Romney is the utterly heartless automaton that his detractors do, I think it's pretty clear he (a) has a bit of a tin-ear when it comes to connecting with people (people who don't own NASCAR teams, anyway) and (b) has zero business giving anyone a quote to shore up "emotionless crisis management." That's like a body-snatcher giving a quote that shows off just how almost-identically they can simulate the host: you don't give the game away.
Similarly, the Obama-Eats-Dogs thing is clearly just push-back. Republicans got tired of being beat up by the dog-story so they found one of their own. If any GOP folks were shocked that Obama had, at one point, eaten something strange in Indonesia I'd be surprised: I figure anyone in that category already figured he ate human flesh at Illuminati dinners ... maybe at the kids table or something? Who knows what those guys believe.
But anyway: it opens the door to a lot of great dog-puns which, as far as I know, may have actually killed a reader. So I'm down with it: LET LOOSE THE DOGS OF WAR!