Now that Mitt Romney is the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, I must confess that something about him really worries me. And no, it’s not his $250 million net worth, or Swiss accounts, or Cayman Island income making him the poster boy for the 1 percent club. (To be precise, he’s in the top .001 percent club.)
And I’m not worried that he’s flip-flopped on so many issues I call him “trampoline man.” Or that he insists that “corporations are people.” (Really? Ever take a corporation to dinner?)
What worries me most about a Romney presidency is that he personally seems incapable of admitting a mistake. (In fact he’d probably bet you $10,000 he never has.) Just consider the defensive-sounding title of his best-selling book “No Apology.”
Given various shameful events in American history, how could we not apologize for slavery, for example? Or for the genocide of the American Indian? How about the Vietnam War? (Which Mitt initially favored but was later against. His first flip flop?)
Here’s the kicker. Romney thinks it’s fine to say we’re sorry, just so long as we don’t apologize. One word — cuckoo.
We just had the 70th anniversary of one of the most reprehensible U.S. actions ever, the 1942 internment of 120,000 Japanese-Americans. (The vast majority were legal citizens.) From Venice, Santa Monica and Malibu, approximately 1,000 were “rounded up” at the corner of Lincoln and Venice boulevards and bussed to Manzanar in Inyo County where they were incarcerated without due process for the remainder of WWII.
On Wednesday, a ceremony featuring numerous camp survivors was held as part of a drive to get a permanent “Venice Japanese-American Memorial Marker.” I wonder if Mitt would say we owed these Americans an apology or just a simple “sorry.”
The folly of Mitt’s strange attitude is reflected in the strange saga of the Romney 1983 summer vacation. (If this sounds like a Chevy Chase movie, just wait.) Mitt and Ann, and the five boys, piled into the car for the 12-hour drive from Massachusetts to Canada. It’s hard to fathom, but Seamus, an Irish setter, was housed in a kennel strapped to … the top of the car!
In 2009, Mitt was asked about the event by Chris Wallace, on Fox News of all places. Mitt couldn’t just admit that it was a mistake, which only incensed Wallace, a dog lover. As Mitt tried to laugh the incident off, Wallace interrupted, “I’d no more strap my dog to the roof of my car than I would one of my children.” (It went downhill for Willard from there.)
Mitt continued to defend what he had done, saying, “The kennel was completely airtight.” Yikes! If it had been airtight poor Seamus would have lasted about five minutes. That wouldn’t have been a kennel, it would have been a coffin.
Wallace also noted that under Massachusetts law what Romney had done was illegal and described in the statute as, “cruel and inhuman.” Again Romney laughed, “I wasn’t familiar with that,” adding that Seamus “enjoyed his ride.” Enjoyed?
It turns out that poor Seamus got sick on the trip. (Ann Romney says “he got the runs.”) Evidently it was the Romney boys, looking out the window and concerned about their dog, who noticed that he had gotten “sick.” (Be thankful I’m parsing my words carefully here.)
Mitt merely pulled the vehicle into a gas station and hosed off Seamus, the kennel and the car. (The gas station attendant must have been thrilled with that.) And then Mitt put Seamus back into the crate and the family drove off merrily on their way.
Recently, Ann Romney said to Diane Sawyer that this was the only time Seamus got sick while on the car roof. Meaning there were other times they transported Seamus in that manner? Good grief.
Call me crazy, but I have an off-the-wall idea. Romney’s father was once chairman and president of American Motors. Surely Willard must have had connections to get a van for these vacations, a large enough vehicle that could accommodate his family without having to strap the freaking dog to the roof!
Admittedly our view of dog care has changed a great deal since 1983. For example, who would have thought dog owners would be picking up poop in a bag? The point is, if Mitt had simply said it was a mistake, “crate gate” would have been a non-issue. But now there’s even a homepage, “Dogs Against Romney” on Facebook with 50,000 “likes.” (Actually, now 50,001.)
I suppose some will say, and perhaps rightly so, that I’m making too much of all of this. And yet I can’t help but wonder when Seamus got “sick” what the people in the car directly behind the Romney’s must have thought. (Sorry about that and I, as opposed to Willard, apologize.)
To learn more about the Venice Japanese-American Memorial Marker go to www.venicejamm.com. Jack can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.