By popular request. If the Party Of Ideas™ is actually going to devote a chunk of this campaign to something as stupid as this, I guess we’ll have to play ball. Jim Treacher, who’s having endless fun with it, flags the key passage from “Dreams from My Father”:
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).
But wait, wasn’t he just a kid at the time, partaking in the normal culinary customs of Indonesia? Well, guys, that’s what campaigns are for — to hash out the important issues. Like this one.
Incidentally, there’s a method to the Democratic madness here. From Byron York’s recent piece:
In late January, for example, top Obama campaign aide David Axelrod sent out a tweet that included a photo of Obama with his Portuguese water dog Bo in the back seat of the presidential limousine. “How loving owners transport their dogs,” Axelrod wrote.
It wasn’t a random comment. “They’re obsessed with the dog thing,” liberal journalist Chris Hayes said on his MSNBC program Sunday morning, referring to the Obama campaign. “And the reason is that, I have heard, in focus groups, the dog story totally tanks Mitt Romney’s approval rating.”
Assuming Hayes is right, consider this a postscript to my earlier post about shiny objects on the campaign trail. Dumb policy widgets like the Buffett Rule come and go without making a blip with voters but vivid character insights, as the story with Romney’s dog is alleged to be, can make a penetrating impression. I think O’s famous bitter-clinger remarks on the trail in ’08 did more damage to him than any of his policy proposals, including more federal intervention in health care, because it seemed to be a window onto his character. He came off as an archetypal condescending elitist liberal, politely disdainful of what rural Americans hold dear. The Dems don’t have anything quite that damaging from Romney’s own lips yet — although, given his penchant for saying stuff like this, it’s probably a matter of time before he really steps in it — but the dog story is a useful proxy for now.
Update: This really is going to be the dumbest campaign ever, isn’t it? First, Romney advisor Eric “Etch-a-Sketch” Fehrnstrom picks up the Obama-ate-dogs meme and snarks:
In hindsight, a chilling photo RT @davidaxelrod: How loving owners transport their dogs. http://bit.ly/xGeJuZ
Follow the link to see the pic. Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt didn’t care for it, so back came the reply:
What’s the next attack @EricFerhn and the RNC will surface on a 6-10 year old?
Over to you, Team Romney. Full-fledged media war over dog-eating tomorrow!
Update: Now Jake Tapper’s having fun with it.