So What is it about Presidential Candidates and Animals?
we'll be living and breathing the presidential election, so I thought I'd start
off 2012 by jumping on that bandwagon.
already seen at least one example of that perennial (or I should say quadrennial) activity: hunting animals in order to bond with voters and/or curry favor with influential interest groups. Former
Senator Rick Santorum went pheasant hunting in Iowa last month. Ironically enough, when in the US
Senate, Santorum maintained a good record on animal issues -- so much so that he
is pilloried in this tea party blog entitled "Rick Santorum -- The Animal Rightist,"
for his "destructive animal rightist agenda," and which claims that "Santorum's
political allies are dedicated to anti-hunting, anti-pet-ownership, anti-animal
husbandry, anti-agriculture, anti-meat, socialism and liberalism."
candidates use the family pet to their advantage. Then there's Mitt Romney....
His 2007 revelation that he'd
strapped the family dog, Seamus, to the top of the car (no room inside!) and
driven to the vacation destination hundreds of miles away, has quite naturally
created an uproar. Romney continues to defend it and appears to see it as a bit
of humorous family lore (or, even more strangely, as an example of his problem-solving
skills). (Fact check time: Seamus was inside a dog carrier with a "specially
built windshield," but this article details the negative reaction the dog had to
his traveling accommodations. The picture of Seamus (below) is from a site called aboutmittromney.com
could ever forget Sarah Palin (OK, she was a vice-presidential candidate),
whose image in large part derived from her pro-hunting stance.
election cycle brought us Hillary Clinton making the surprising disclosure
she knew how to hunt (her father taught her), and that she'd shot a duck while
hunting with a group of men in Arkansas.
before voters went to the polls in 2004, John Kerry went goose hunting in the
swing state of Ohio (and recall that the Buckeye State decided that election).
Although he returned from the woods "empty handed," Kerry insisted he'd killed
a goose. This event also gave rise to headlines Kerry hunts for voters in
most interesting development this season comes from Newt Gingrich, not widely
known as a soft-hearted animal lover. Just ahead of the Iowa caucuses, he
launched a new website, Pets With Newt. Here's an article discussing it, and here's the site itself. (The Gingrich campaign also has a Facebook page, "Animal Lovers with Newt."
point? Leslie Bennetts writing in The Daily Beast
last month about candidates
and canines, made this observation:
to date suggests that assessing the way a candidate treats his dog -- not to
mention other canines of his acquaintance -- might be an edifying way to evaluate
his character and fitness for office.
As animal advocates, we can agree that one's attitude -- both in actions as well as words -- toward all animals is of major importance in evaluating that person's moral compass.
PS: For a
serious discussion of this year's crop of GOP candidates, read Mike Markarian's recent blog.
Published by admin on 01/09/2012 15:10:21