That’s why politicians get a dog and kiss babies.
They forget a dog can be a political double-edged sword.
Treat it well and you get lots of good press.
Treat it shitty and ask Mitt Romney how that worked out for him.
Florida’s Republican (and wildly unpopular) Governor Rick Scott is the latest politician to fall victim to dog-loving media.
The Tampa Bay Times writes that shortly after being elected governor, the Scott family returned a rescue dog they had adopted during the campaign.
That’s like borrowing the neighbor’s kid for some photo-ops.
The Labrador was adopted shortly after Scott won the Republican primary in 2010, just in time for the final campaign.
A picture of it was posted to Facebook, asking Scott’s fans what the family should name its new pet.
The winning name was Reagan.
Keep in mind this was in the middle of the Tea Party’s Reagan-nostalgia, rabble-rousing, rah-rah period.
Not too long ago, Florida reporters began to wonder why they hadn’t seen the governor’s “beloved pet” recently and started digging.
They first reached out to Governor Scott’s communications director during his campaign.
The man testily emailed back that he was working on an answer and recognized “the potential for a PR nightmare if the Tampa Bay Times doesn’t receive a photo of Reagan next to today’s copy of the Tampa Bay Times. So take it to the bank I’m getting you every bit of info I can lay my hands on.”
Since none of that added up, the reporters reached out to Governor Scott’s current communications director, who was somehow even more haughty and self-important.
She responded she was far too busy to find an answer to the question.
Nothing fires up a reporter more than figuring someone is hiding something.
The questions continued.
A spokesman for Ann Scott said that the family has one dog, named Tallee.
So what happened to Reagan?
Was he eaten by Burmese pythons?
No, it turns out he simply wasn’t good enough for the Scotts.
Scott said Reagan never bit anyone but “scared the living daylights’ out of people at the mansion.
He said one kitchen employee threatened to quit and the official photographer was frightened when the dog “barked like crazy” every time he saw him with a camera.
Okay…we’ve rescued our fair share of dogs and we know they can be difficult and sometimes it’s just not a good fit.
Our question is: Did anyone spend any time with Reagan before adopting it, or did a campaign aide simply choose the most photogenic pooch at the Pound for Sad Dogs?
Likely the latter.
Our opinion: It says a lot about Scott’s character that he’s the kind of person who’s willing to adopt a pet and simply dump it when the dog is no longer politically advantageous.
And then try to hide it.