Dog-eating surfaces as U.S. presidential campaign issue

 

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  May 2012:

Dog-eating surfaces as U.S. presidential campaign issue

       WASHINGTON D.C.– “What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?”  U.S. President Barack Obama asked at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on April 28,  2012,  citing metaphors used by 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin to describe herself.
      “A pit bull is delicious,”  Obama answered himself.
     The joke was Obama’s response to an April 19,  2012 gibe from 2008 Republican presidential candidate John McCain,  who posted a photo of his son Jimmy’s bulldog Apollo on Twitter with the caption, “I’m sorry Mr. President,  he’s not on the menu!”
       Both remarks referenced a passage from Obama’s 1995 memoir, Dreams From My Father.   Recalled Obama of his stepfather Lolo Soetaro,  with whom he lived in Indonesia from age 6 to age 10 in 1967-1971,  “With Lolo, I learned how to eat small green chili peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice),  and,  away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy).  Like many Indonesians,  Lolo followed a brand of Islam that could make room for the remnants of more ancient animist and Hindu faiths.  He explained that a man took on the powers of whatever he ate:  One day soon, he promised, he would bring home a piece of tiger meat for us to share.”
         Republicans seized on the Dreams From My Father passage after 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was hounded throughout the primary election campaign by Dogs Against Romney,  a web site decrying how Romney in 1983 hauled his family’s English setter Seamus on a 12-hour drive to Canada in a carrier tied to a roof rack.  The web site inspired protests at several Romney campaign appearances.
      But Romney fundraising event host Fred Malek,  who was national finance committee co-chair for the McCain/Palin campaign in 2008, had the most shocking history involving cruelty to dogs and dog-eating to emerge during the 2012 campaign thus far, summarized on March 11,  2006 by Washington Post columnist Colbert I. King.
      In August 1959,  when Malek was 22,  the Peoria Journal-Star and Galesburg Register-Mail reported, Sheriff Harry P. Backes arrested Malek and four other men at the scene of an incident in which a dog was killed,  skinned,  gutted and barbecued on a spit in a public park.  Cruelty charges were later dismissed against Malek and three of the other men after the fifth defendant,  Andrew P. O’Meara,  testified that he alone killed and tried to cook the dog.

Merritt Clifton
Editor, ANIMAL PEOPLE
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Telephone: 360-579-2505
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