Are you a pet owner disturbed by the tale of Mitt Romney strapping the family dog to the car roof on a drive to Canada? Would you like to buy a T-shirt?
Scott Crider would be happy to provide you with one. The Alabama resident is largely responsible for keeping the story of Seamus the Irish Setter alive with his blog, Dogs Against Romney, and a store of anti-Romney animal-themed merchandise. After hearing in 2007 about the decades-old incident, in which Seamus, locked on the station wagon roof in a crate for 12 hours, defecated and was hosed down by Romney at a car wash, Crider launched his website. Traffic petered out at the end of Romney’s 2008 GOP nominee run but roared back to life in 2011.
Crider, 47, tells Yeas & Nays that the site draws between around 8,000 unique visitors a day, and its companion Facebook page is nearing 34,000 fans. The latter is deluged with comments from dog lovers haranguing Romney for the episode or simply expressing support through comments like “woof” and “grrr.”
“Dog and pet people are very passionate,” says Crider, who identifies as a political independent and says he worked on issue campaigns for both sides of the aisle in his homestate of Arkansas. “For pet people, it’s just a mortifying thing. He put a dog on the car. The luggage was on the inside.” The staying power of the story, Crider believes, is that it provides a concrete anecdote for people to pin their feelings about Romney. “Policy issues like Romneycare vs. Obamacare,” he says, “are really difficult for people to take time to understand.”
Consumer demand prompted Crider to expand into merchandising, and he says he’s selling apparel and bumper stickers at a healthy clip. Sales of T-shirts, particularly designs featuring slogans like “Remember Crategate” and “Dogs Aren’t Luggage,” have topped 1,000 items. A portion of proceeds from sales will go to benefit an animal welfare organization.