Puppygate for Giuliani and Romney, and Other Telling Tales

Ted Bundy, you know, was once an up-and-coming Young Republican who dreamed of the governorship, and then, who knew?

Then came the news that Judi Giuliani , wife number, oh, I don't know, three or four, used to demonstrate surgical staples on living dogs, which were then left to die. Then-CEO Leon Hirsch defended the practice in the 1980s, saying there was no other way to properly show how the staplers worked. "A dead dog doesn't bleed," U.S. Surgical CEO Leon Hirsch said in defense of the practice in 1988, "You need to have real blood-flow conditions, or you get a false sense of security." This is akin to the Bedouin gentleman who gelded camels by standing behind them and banging two rocks together, and when asked, "Doesn't it hurt?" answered, "No, you just keep your thumbs out of the way."

Now we have Mitt Romney's misstep in sharing an anecdote about his dog Seamus' 12 hour trip in a carrier on the top of his car. It was meant to show Romney cool in a crisis-- hosing off the nervous dog's diarhhea when it ran down the back window-- but instead showed him as a problem solver who doesn't spend much time thinking about the creatures suffering at the root of the problem. This is the kind of thinking that solves the problems of the homeless by sending the police to round them up, that insures pure drinking water by selling it in plastic bottles.

A month or so ago, I was one of those who dismissed John Edwards for his haircut and have been taken to task by earnest friends who feel this is a superficial matter, and an example of the mob mentality media. They accurately point out that the serious issues raised by Edwards are lost in the frippery about his expensive haircut. I am not Savonarola, rejecting vanities, but Edwards is asking the electorate to see him as One of Them. This $400 luxury, while at the same time he tries to make a point about economic inequity, is the worst kind of tone-deaf hypocrisy, disrespectful to the poor, and Edwards deserves to be embarrassed.

I tell you these anecdotes tell us more about the character than all your position papers about what a man will do when handed almost unlimited power. Contrast these with the personality portraits of both Roosevelts, Truman, Churchill, Lincoln, or even the contrasting portraits of ancient rulers in Plutarch. And recall that George Bush used to get his kicks by blowing up frogs with firecrackers.

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