Here We Are Now, Enter Seamus

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 30 2012 9:59 AM

Here We Are Now, Enter Seamus

In a matter of weeks, the Romney campaign and conservative blogs were able to make Barack Obama own the fact that he once consumed "dog meat." It was a throwaway line in his first memoir; in four years it got about as much media attention as the details of the socialist conference Obama may have visited in the early 1980s. But when Eric Ferhnstrom tweets about something, it stays tweeted. And so, at the White House Correspondents Dinner, Jimmy Kimmel asked if the president contemplated dog parks the way us normals contemplate lobster tanks, and Obama declared that pitbull was delicious.

Why would the White House go there? My theory: Anything to reinforce the frivolous story of Seamus Romney. Obama took his lumps on "dog meat" in order to introduce a faux Super PAC video that was all about Romney's dorky cruelty.

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Conservatives believe that they neutered (spayed?) the Seamus story -- one of the most annoying stories out there, I agree -- by pointing to the "dog meat" passage. In Mark Steyn's words, the Seamus story turned out to be an "exploding cigar."

Depends what media you consume, doesn't it? On talk radio, blogs, and Twitter, "dog meat" is clearly as big a meme as Seamus ever was. In the rest of the media? The old Seamus story is re-memed. Obama continues to use this pre-veep-pick window to portray Romney as a distant, uncaring weirdo.

*actually, maybe I wouldn't

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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