When the election is over in November I suspect we’ll have an Irish Setter named Seamus to thank if Mitt Romney doesn’t close the deal.
I mean for sheer weirdness, for what it says about Romney’s determination to accomplish his goals regardless of the cost to the less fortunate individuals concerned, poor old Seamus’s travails are hard to beat.
As we know Seamus Romney was once strapped to the roof of Romney’s station wagon, for 12 terrifying hours, on an epic family road trip from the United States to Canada. Of course the poor dog lodged his protest in the only way dogs know how, but Mitt wasn’t going to let a little thing like that stop him, then or ever.
It blows my mind, that shaggy dog story. I expect the Romney campaign haven’t quite grasped how politically toxic it could turn out to be.
Americans can forgive eccentricity, and they can even enjoy it, but genuinely out-there weirdness has never been a huge hit with the public, and that’s long before they investigate Romney’s Mormon heritage.
But back to the presidential race. Romney has a plan to take America back. Back to somewhere circa 1952, I imagine.
If you're a woman, or black or Hispanic, or gay, or young, or poor, you probably already know that you’ve never been a big part of the America Romney wants to take us back to. So you might not want remember that before you hop into his GOP powered De Lorean this November.
Having watched the unreality show that was the GOP presidential primary, which on most nights unfolded like a sort of Hunger Games where the main objective was to dig the biggest trench into the distant past, I got my first real hard look at the presumptive nominee.
What I noticed about Romney was that he didn't seem to have a discernable core, at all. He changed positioned more often than an illustrated karma sutra, each time being roughly led his own base, who didn’t seem to notice or care if they were just being humored.
Romney’s critics call him a flip-flopper but this was going way beyond the call, I think. You had to admire his desire to please them, even if it meant contradicting himself. Even his own team calls this weathervane approach his Etch-a-Sketch factor.
But in order to outrun his conservative opponents in the presidential primaries, Romney emerged with more stuff sticking to him than poor old Seamus on his epic journey.
All that elbowing means that Romney is now further to the right on abortion and contraception than Rick Santorum, he's further to the right on gay issues that Michele Bachmann and he's tougher on immigration issues than Rick Perry. In order to best them he had to become more extreme.
Now he's stuck with it. Now we’re stuck with it too.
This is a man who says he believes corporations are people, possibly because he's spent most of his life being the person at the top of corporation.
“I like being able to fire people,” he announced on the campaign trail, giving one of his big uneasy grins because he was finally saying something he actually meant.
“I’m not concerned about the very poor,” he said on television later on, again looking like he meant it.
I believe him. I suspect Day One of the Romney administration would unfold like this -- cut the deficit by starting a $1 trillion war with Iran, then dinner with Donald Trump. Day Two, sign historic tax cuts for millionaires and then run up $9 trillion in lost revenue over a decade. Stick the next generation with the bill.
It’s already obvious what Romney will do as president. There can't be anyone in any doubt.
Like The Great Gatsby, he will bear us back ceaselessly into the past. With his near religious belief in laissez-faire political policies, he’ll ask us to trust that Wall Street will have our best interests at heart. Then he’ll return to the approach that caused the financial system to nearly melt down and brought America to its knees.
In other words, Romney will bring America back to the same policies George W. Bush pursued that caused the greatest recession since World War II. Then we’ll probably have another recession.
We can only hope that brave Irish Setter will step between us and all harm.