A few days ago a report came out about Mitt Romney and his wild, fun-filled days in upscale Cranbrook prep school in the mid-60′s. According to fellow schoolmates who are still haunted by the memory, Romney engaged in what most people would consider assault and battery when he led a group of friends in a scissors attack on a soft-spoken, blond-haired kid named John Lauber, forcefully chopping the locks off the kid while he lay on the ground screaming and crying. Romney says it was just one of his many boyish high school pranks and that he’s really, really sorry for possibly causing lifelong trauma to someone a long time ago when he was young and stupid.
Now, at the very least it could be argued that Romney demonstrated early leadership qualities by orchestrating the attack, and there’s really little doubt that he has since “evolved” as a human being since his preppy high school days and would never do anything so horrible again to another living creature, but still, doesn’t this tell us a little something about his background and underlying character? Plus, he claims to have no memory of the incident which is rather hard to believe. I mean, either he’s lying or he engaged in so many of these “hijinks” and “pranks” as he calls them that he simply can’t remember them all. Either way, for the millions who are hassled by bullies everyday and for the many voters who were themselves victimized during childhood, it may have people looking at Mitt Romney in a very different light.
He’s cool, calm, logical and methodical. He’s “no drama” Obama. Is it possible he’s a Vulcan, an illegal alien from another planet where a socially-ingrained philosophy of logic and reason combined with a genetic disposition towards non-emotion has allowed the inhabitants to live in relative peace and harmony?
Of course not. Vulcans don’t exist.
But you gotta admit, aside from Leonard Nimoy, President Obama is one of the few people who can actually carry off the Vulcan look, and with a name like Barack, I think he would’ve made a pretty convincing character on Star Trek. Maybe he could’ve been Mr. Spock’s black half brother? Hmmm…
Like all campaigns, this one’s lined up to get dirty. Real dirty. Most people say they don’t like negative campaigns and yet most politicians still resort to the age-old marketing strategy of mudslinging and character assassination for one simple reason; it works.
John Kerry probably lost his 2004 bid for the presidency thanks to the evil puppetry of Karl Rove and the “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” attack ads that Kerry didn’t fully respond to in a swift-enough fashion. The Democratic party has since learned its lesson and in 2008 Barack Obama responded to each negative tidbit tossed his way with a fast and concise rebuttal, often turning things around with a few articulate remarks and masterful speeches until it no longer mattered what was thrown at him. And of course it doesn’t matter if the attacks have any grain of truth or if it’s just a little nothing that’s blown way out of proportion to start some public debate. Take anything out of context, amplify it, and capitalize on it – that’s how politics works these days, especially in this new age of instant media attention.
So now as the 2012 campaign starts to gain speed, first out of the box are the “dog wars”, beginning with the news that Mitt Romney placed his dog Seamus (now seriously, who names their dog such an embarrassing name?) on the roof of their car when they took a trip to Canada in 1983. I imagine most people at first probably pictured some poor, screaming Irish Setter strapped on to the roof of the Romney’s Cadillac station wagon with bungee cords alongside an assortment of Gucci luggage, but of course that wasn’t the case. The dog was placed in a carrier first before being strapped on to the roof of the car, and according to Ann Romney, aside from pooping all over their windshield the dog “loved it”. That’s probably plausible considering how many dogs I see on the road with their heads hanging out the window and drool flying off their tongues. But Democrats, PETA and others immediately seized on this silly bit of family history to position Romney as a cruel, insensitive hater of dogs.
Republicans, however, were quick to point out that Romney was kind enough to even bring his dog along on vacations and in fact loved dogs, but not nearly as much as the way President Obama “loved” dogs…with ketchup! Yes, in response to the Seamus uproar, Romney supporters threw out this juicy quote from Obama’s own memoirs in an attempt to frame him as a primitive, dog eating savage with just a sly hint of his Muslim background on the side;
“With Lolo, I learned how to eat small green chill peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice), and, away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy). Like many Indonesians, Lolo followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths. He explained that a man took on the powers of whatever he ate: One day soon, he promised, he would bring home a piece of tiger meat for us to share.”
So the dogs of political warfare have started their barking, and it’s looking like this campaign will probably be one of the noisiest, nastiest, messiest and no doubt silliest ones we’ll have to endure. I just hope that President Obama and his supporters try to do something truly unique this election by taking the high road and focusing more on his accomplishments and merits rather than on Romney’s weaknesses, but that’s just me being idealistic. However I do believe that most Americans are pretty fed up with negative campaigns and, while entertaining on occasion, are more than a little tired of having to look through all that filth on their windshield to see where they’re going.