This week started optimistically, with the hope that Paul Ryan's selection would finally turn campaign 2012 into a big picture discussion about the role of government and the nature of capitalism. Instead, we got outraged reactions to President Obama joking about Seamus the dog, hours of debate over Joe Biden's use of the word "chains," and a back-and-forth between the campaigns about which presidential candidate was "unhinged." It is 78 days until the election, with 25 million Americans unemployed or underemployed, over 13 million homeowners underwater and our national conversation is still on a level of two children fighting in the back seat of the minivan. Maybe for the first debate, we should strap each candidate into a car seat, give them each a juice box, and let them have at it.
I plowed through the crush of humanity that is Amtrak for another visit this week with Don Imus in Manhattan. As usual we meandered through a variety of topics from my pre-dawn walk along Seventh Avenue to this "paper or plastic" election.
The Romney-Seamus story is pretty disturbing because it represents what we might call the "anti-Checkers." Unlike Fala, Checkers, and Freckles, the Seamus incident can be interpreted as a glimpse into Romney's character.
The photo-op with the dog makes perfect sense in the hurly-burly of American politics. American presidents tend to be elected on the likeability factor. The dog is the ultimate likeability accessory.
The Republican world was all a-twitter Tuesday with a story on the far-right website, Daily Caller. It quoted President Barack Obama's autobiography about his stepfather having served him dog meat when he was nine in Indonesia.
It is probably true that Romney's treatment of Seamus would not make him a bad president -- his economic views and fear of his own party's right wing would do that. Despite this, Romney's treatment of Seamus may prove damaging in the election.
The Seamus story seems to have pushed Mitt to the edge. Insiders say he is growling mad about the continuing media coverage. His newest super pack (sic), Let Sleeping Dogs Die, is poised to go on the attack.
Sometimes I'm just astonished at the inability of political campaigns to do a simple Web search. Case in point: the story about Mitt Romney's dog Seamus.
We're all Muppets to Romney. On a daily basis Mr. Bain Capital will say or do whatever he thinks might possibly help on the campaign trail. "Pro-choice, I got your pro-choice. Oh wait, not pro-choice, well, then neither am I."
The issues that really are important to consumers -- jobs, education, the cost of a college education, health care -- are being overlooked in favor of substance-less, mudslinging attacks that don't address problems and don't provide plans.
Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul are not running for dog catcher. The dogs of the world will little note nor long remember who wins the presidency of the United States, let alone the GOP nomination. I am more interested to know what this election means for... people.