When the rest of the press begins paying too much attention to other candidates such as Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio, leave it to the New York Times to steer the conversation back what’s truly important. In this case, that would be finding something else to throw against the wall regarding the Republicans who are highest in the latest rounds of polling. Today’s entry in the smash and slash derby is yet another “problem” for Scott Walker, should he be so impertinent as to run for the presidency. Silly Governor… you must love dogs.
The attention to Mr. Walker’s likely candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination has focused on weighty matters such as his battles with the left, faltering forays into foreign policy and conservative stances on social issues including abortion and gun rights. But little notice has been given to an area in which he faces a different sort of constitutional challenge: overcoming his aversion to man’s best friend…
Mr. Walker, who gives a gloomy stump speech filled with “worry,” perhaps could use a four-legged image softener of his own. But he is allergic to dog dander, an aide confirmed.
And in that, he is running against the long sweep of United States political history.
The history of presidential dogs certainly goes back a long way, though with varying degrees of success. From FDR’s “Fala” to Nixon’s famous Checkers speech, the First Dog has been an important feature, presumably helping candidates to humanize themselves in the eyes of the voters and come across as more sympathetic figures. (Conversely, you can get in trouble if you’re filmed lifting up your beagle by his ears.)
But somehow I think Scott Walker can survive a candidacy without a dog, or even a cat for that matter. And I’m not sure how well off all these pets are anyway. Some of them, such as Bush 43’s Scottish Terriers, seemed to do well, get a lot of attention, and eventually retire to a regular home life after the boss leaves office. Others, such as Hillary’s cat Socks… well, who’s to say what happened to her? But there was a time when some reporters wondered if her dumping of the First Lady Feline led to her defeat to Obama in 2008. (Bill’s dog Buddy was run down by a car in 2002 and the assassin has never been located.)
In any event, politicians are understandably paranoid about losing even a single vote, and given how many people have pets and love them, it never hurts to have a furry sidekick. But if Walker is allergic he will simply have to do without or cave in to public demand and shop around for one of those hypoallergenic dogs. But is that even a real thing? I’ve always been dubious…