The Parable of Mitt Romney's Dog, Seamus

A conversation between Ray Sixkiller and Steve Russell about the 2012 presidential election.

“We ain’t even two months into the election year, and the thing is already going to the dogs.”

Cousin Ray Sixkiller had been laying off politics since the Cherokee elections but I could sense that the wind was about to pick up.

“How’s that, Ray?”

“Well, Romney seems to have the Republican nomination sewn up, but there’s something in his background that spells trouble.”

“You mean that he was born with more money than we’ll earn in a lifetime?”

“Nah, we elect rich people all the time.”

“His time with Bain Capital, when he would waltz in and suck all the money out of some company that was the main employer in a small town and leave everybody broke and out of work?”

“Nah, that’s how the system works. It’s called ‘creative destruction.’ Your job gets destroyed and it creates a bonus for some dude in a pinstriped suit. What are you, Steve, a Communist?”

“No, I’m just trying to figure you out. Or figure Romney out. What’s the big deal? Everybody knows he was a Mormon missionary in France. Is it that he speaks French? That sure hurt John Kerry a couple of elections ago.”

“Don’t you pay any attention to the news? That’s ‘Freedom’ he speaks. You know, like ‘Freedom fries” and ‘Freedom toast’ they had in the Congressional cafeteria after France wouldn’t back us up in the second Iraq War?”

Sometimes I think Ray never opens a newspaper, and then he springs some ancient factoid like that.

“All right, Ray, you got me. Why is Romney in trouble?”

“Google ‘Romney.’”

“Why should I Google the guy? I know who he is. He’s the Republican Governor of Massachusetts who managed to come up with a health care plan that wasn’t stopped cold by the insurance lobby because he dealt them in. Same deal Obama had to do at the federal level. It ain’t pretty, but that’s how laws get written.”

“Well Steve, if you Google ‘Romney’ today, within two pages you get the word ‘Romney’ as a verb, ‘to defecate in terror.’”

“Shoot, Ray—that just means Romney got Google-bombed like Rick Santorum did. It was payback for that ‘man on dog’ comment about gay people. So now we can’t say what Santorum Googles in polite company. Santorum deserved it for making politics out of hate. Happens to Indians in some parts of the country. Happens to illegal immigrants. Some politicians think hating on somebody without a lot of power is the way to get ahead. Romney never did anything that bad.”

“That’s all in your point of view, Steve. Seamus, from the pictures I’ve seen, was a good-looking Irish Setter. Beautiful dog.”

“True. I heard that story. Romney had a big family, so he loaded up the car for a road trip and put Seamus in a kennel on top. For twelve hours.”

“That’s not all, Steve. When some reporter called him out for it, he said that the kennel was ‘airtight.’”

“Give the man a break, Ray. He was surprised or something. If the kennel was airtight the dog would be dead. Wouldn’t you get nervous with a microphone in your face?”

“I’m not running for President, Steve. And it gets worse. He claims Seamus enjoyed this fandango. After the dog crapped all over his bed. You know and I know if a dog messes his bed he’s either sick or scared to death.”

“I get your point, Ray, but we both keep dogs. Yes, it was kinda cold to hose the dog down and keep rolling, but you think this election is going to be turned by animal lovers?”

“Not exactly, but close. You know that remark Romney made about liking to fire people?”

“Yeah, but that was totally unfair, out of context. He was talking about firing health insurance corporations, not people.”

“Man, how many mistakes can you make all at once? First, Romney got caught on tape at the Iowa state fair reminding some kid that corporations are people. Second, he was lying about Obama’s health care plan. For what he was talking about, there was no difference between Obamacare and Romneycare. Third, it’s not so much what he said as how he said it.”

“Take it easy, Ray. Don’t chew my head off. Just tell me what you mean.”

“It’s his attitude. He’s never been fired, so he doesn’t feel what it’s like. He’s never been put in a cage on top of a car for twelve hours, so he doesn’t feel what it’s like. It’s not that he’s a rich guy. The Kennedy brothers were rich guys. It’s that he has about as much feeling for those of us who didn’t make ourselves rich as he had for the family dog. That’s why my vote is going to be Seamus’s revenge.”

Steve Russell, Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, is a Texas trial court judge by assignment and associate professor emeritus of criminal justice at Indiana University-Bloomington. He lives in Georgetown, Texas, and can be reached at