But let's have a round of applause for a woman who's worked tirelessly for years to keep this story in the public eye: Gail Collins, of New York Times. Collins has made it her personal mission to ensure that no Times reader misses the story of Seamus the dog.
In case you need a primer on what all the fuss is about, here's Gail's synopsis from her earliest known mention of it, in her Aug. 8, 2007 column, Haunted by Seamus:
Every time I see [Mitt Romney], all I can think about is Seamus the dog. Seamus, in case you missed the story, was the Romneys’ Irish setter back in the early 1980s. Mitt used to drive the family from Boston to Ontario every summer for a vacation, with the dog strapped to the roof in a crate. As The Boston Globe reported this summer, Romney had the entire trip planned so rigidly that every gas station stop was predetermined before departure. During the fatal trip of ‘83, Seamus apparently needed one more than the schedule allowed. When evidence of the setter’s incontinence came running down the back windshield, Romney abandoned his itinerary and drove to the closest gas station, where he got a hose and sprayed both dog and station wagon clean. […] Romney has already come under considerable fire from animal rights groups over the Seamus incident. “They’re not happy that my dog loves fresh air,” Romney snapped back. He said that just recently, in Pittsburgh, although Seamus had actually long since shuffled off this mortal coil. Is it possible that Romney is trying to dodge the Republican YouTube debate because he’s afraid someone will ask him about his method of transporting dogs across long distances? (Haunted by Seamus, 4/8/07, whole column dedicated to the Romney dog story)Collins has gone on to mention or allude to Seamus no fewer than 62 times. Follow me below the fold for a baker's dozen of choice selections.
I will not take credit for the hard research it took to compile all these mentions of Seamus. That credit belongs a young man by the name of Matthew Aldridge. He's assembled them into a Tumblr blog, and you really should click over so he's happy with his hit count this week. You can also thank him on Twitter, @mpaldridge, if you're into that sort of thing.
I just love how Collins manages to just repeatedly drop references as a nonchalant non sequitur. Here's just a sampling of what Aldridge found, dating back to Mitt's 2008 run:
Mention #3: Presidential Shopping List, 22/11/07
Romney has no known vices, except packing the family dog on top of the car during long trips.Mention #6: Vice is Nice, 21/6/08
I’m praying that McCain selects Mitt Romney so I can repeatedly revisit the time Mitt drove to Canada with the family dog on the station-wagon roof.Mention #9: McCain’s Baked Alaska, 19/3/09
Unlike Joe Lieberman, Palin is a member of the same party as the presidential candidate. And unlike Mitt Romney, she has never gone on vacation with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car.Mention #10: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, 1/7/09
I have to admit there’s something about Mitt that I find really creepy, even when I’m not dwelling on that time he drove to Canada with the family dog strapped on the roof.Mention #18: What’s in a Nickname? 25/3/11
Perhaps I should point out that Romney was named after J. Willard Marriott, the hotel guy. And that he once drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car.Mention #24: Politicians, Love ’Em or Hate ’Em, 21/9/11
I admire the way Barack Obama has raised a dog in the White House without ever putting it on the roof of the car for a vacation drive.Mention #20: The Spring Quiz, 6/5/11
III. Match the Republican presidential hopefuls:Mention #31: Wait! Don’t Tell Me!, 9/11/11
1) Newt Gingrich
2) Mitt Romney
3) Mitch Daniels [...]
A) Criticized President Obama for doing exactly what he demanded Obama do about Libya.
B) Latest book tells about a joke he pulled on a man who had just been fitted for a new hearing aid, by “moving my lips as if I were talking but without saying anything so he’d think something was wrong.”
C) Latest book fails to mention that he once drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car. [...]
Pity the Republican voters. They aren’t asking for much. They just want a candidate who’s really conservative but not totally crazy. Who has verbs in his sentences. Who didn’t drive to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car.
Mention #37: Mitt’s Zest for Zings, 14/12/11
I would say this is an extremely safe position for Romney to take because the odds are very good that no one has ever called Mitt zany in his entire life. Unless it was when he drove to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the station wagon.
Mention #40: The March of the Non-Mitts, 4/1/12
Did I ever mention that Romney once drove to Canada with the family Irish setter strapped to the roof of the car? The dog’s name was Seamus. New Hampshire Republicans, if you can’t think of anybody to vote for on Tuesday, consider writing in the name Seamus when you go to the polls.Mention #44: Opening Newt’s Marriage, 20/1/12
On behalf of the people, I would like to say that, if elected, we promise to balance the budget, release Mitt Romney’s tax returns and pass a law against driving to Canada with an Irish setter tied to the roof of the car.Menton #50: A Big Day’s Coming, 29/2/12
Romney has already ruled out the payroll tax cap. Also, he once drove to Canada with his dog tied to the roof of the car. End of story.And I love this one:
Mention #52: Dogging Mitt Romney, 7/3/12, (whole column dedicated to the Romney dog story):
I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this, but Mitt Romney once drove to Canada with the family Irish setter on the roof of the car.If this sampling was insufficent, hop over to Matthew Aldridge's Tumblr blog and read them all—with links!
And, also, bravo Gail Collins! Someone must speak up for poor Seamus. The country is just beginning to heal after the Him and Her incident of the Johnson administration. It's much too soon for the people to consider electing another dog abuser to the Oval Office, we don't want to go backwards.