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.