This morning I opened the New York Times like I do every Saturday morning and turned immediately to the Op-Ed page to learn how I should think for the day (kidding, of course).  First I read the column by regular contributor Gail Collins entitled, “Republican Financial Plans,” in which she assails most of the Republican candidates for president for their shady sources of income. Toward the end, Collins writes about the time Gov. Mitt Romney strapped a crate containing his family dog to the roof of his station wagon en route to Canada for a family vacation. She does this to point out that Romney is a bit off. Who, she wonders, in his right mind straps a dog to the roof of a car for an hours-long trip to Canada?

In 2007, speculating on who John McCain might pick to be his running mate, she wrote, “I'm praying that McCain selects Mitt Romney so I can repeatedly revisit the time Mitt drove to Canada with the family dog on the station-wagon roof.”

Collins probably has made good on her wish, revisiting the story over, and over, and over, and over again.

This morning’s shout-out to Seamus is the thirteenth time this year alone that she has brought up the Irish Setter. Nine times since September. In fact, since September 24, she has been unable to go more than 10 days without mentioning it in her twice-weekly column. Since 2007, when a Boston Globe reporter mentioned the anecdote in a profile on Romney (read it here), Collins has mentioned it at least 24 times. She has devoted at least three columns exclusively to the subject.

As Romney himself has said, there are plenty of reasons not to vote for him for president. An embarrassing family story is not one of them.

Something is sometimes so worthy of repeating ad nauseam if you truly believe in its importance or that by getting the right people to listen to you, someone will be freed from pain or hurt or injustice.

Sometimes something deserves a casual mention or two because it is funny or odd, then you let it go.

The key is being able to differentiate the two lest you be labeled obsessed, crazy, stale or lazy. And if you’re an opinion shaper with the nation’s leading newspaper, you might want to spend considerable amounts of time discerning if your point is really worth mentioning again. And again. And again.

Comments

david power | 11/21/2011 - 6:39pm
Mental hiccup .... :).
Stanley Kopacz | 11/20/2011 - 8:30pm
Romney denies that human-caused global warming has been scientifically demonstrated and therefore is denying scientific truth.  If he were denying evolution, he would be just as ridiculous but less potentially harmful to the future of the human race.  We have a dangerous problem and we don't need any more "don't worry, be happy" politicians.
Beth Cioffoletti | 11/20/2011 - 8:18am
I truly do enjoy Gail Collins' articles, and her folksy way of putting things into her peculiar perspective.  She has a way of being both funny and right on target.

But I am still puzzling over the dog story, and why she keeps bringing it up.  I don't think it has to do with animal cruelty or her dislike of Romney as much as that it says something about Mitt Romney that can't be said any other way.  He's both ordinary (a family man, with a dog, going on a vacation) and strange (not too many people would strap their dog on the top of the car).

Every one is both ordinary and strange, in their own way.  For some reason, Ms. Collins has chosen this event to highlight that feature in Mitt Romney.  It obviously "tickles" her in some way.  I trust Ms. Collins' insight enough to think that her decision to repeat this story ad nauseum is important - but I'm still not sure why.  (Maybe she doesn't even know yet.)  I'm following her to see where this will lead ...
ed gleason | 11/19/2011 - 7:28pm
This post is for the dogs... Tom Maher says "the state legislature is controlled by one party as is 100% of is congfressional delegation.' Not so ... that pesky Scott Brown is still sitting in the Senate at least for one more year.. .
Liam Richardson | 11/19/2011 - 6:05pm
Tom

Gail Collins has worked for the NY Times since 1995. She is not employed by the Globe. The original Globe story about the dog was written by a completely different person. It's like Bill O'Reilly quoting a story by a reporter at The Times of London....
C Walter Mattingly | 11/19/2011 - 3:23pm
Has Gail ever owned a dog? Has she ever noticed how much dogs love to stick their head out of the car or ride the wind in the back of a pick-up truck? Does she think dogs would better enjoy what some of her friends likely do when they bring their pets on a long trip, pack them in a cage and transport them in the cargo bay of a plane, boxed in and with no air or visual stimulus?
Can't she find something better to denigrate Romney with, such as having committed felony cocaine use as a younger adult, which might disqualify him from valid consideration as a presidential candidate by the voting public?
Tom Maher | 11/19/2011 - 2:33pm
The Boston media has never forgiven Mitt Romney for giving the late Senator Ted Kennedy the run of his life in the 1994 Massachusetts Senate race.  How dare Mitt Romney opposse Ted Kenendy who of course is one of the conic Kennedys.  It was just so rude of MItt Romney to be ahead in the polls for mos tof the 1994 Massachusetts U.S. Senate race.  

This is why Massachusetts has the Boston Globe with writers like Gail Collins: to condition the public on how the public should feel about  a candidate for politcal office and shape public preceptions of the  person by use of heavy handed propaganda.  Where are the important public issues such as job creation or on the economy in Gail Collins articles such as the one above? 

The Boston Goble and Gail Collins deal with forming political preceptions.  The Boston media asks:  Who do you trust to bring home more federal money  from Washington to keep the hugh public works projects such as the infamous Big Dig, going for another 10 years and more and get more and more billions of taxpayer dollars flowing into Massachusetts?  Mitt Romney or Seantor Ted Kennedy with four decades of seniority in the Seante and long-time Chairmen of several of the most important committees in the Seante? 

Senator Ted Kennedy's senority in the Senate made him  effectively a fourth branch of government with personal distatorial power to unlimited federal funds. And Governement  funded boondoggles is one of the biggest industries  in Masasachusetts.

To save the Senator Red Kennedy boondoggles the Boston Globe went on the attack on Romney and have never stopped.

 Romney was a viable threat to the one-party power structure Massachusetts.  90 % of the state legislature is controlled by one party as is 100% of is congfressional delegation. That is a lot of concentrated power to be maintatined now and for more than forty years.  It takes a willing and active media like the Boston Globe and its writer to preserve that concentartion of power  in he hands of one political party. 

Mitt Romney has always been a formitable threat to the Massachusetts one-party politcal system. 
NORMA NUNAG | 11/19/2011 - 2:22pm
I suppose she thinks people are hard of hearing/reading that she has to repeat her comments.   Ha,ha,ha.