Cute Animals and Politics

I am just catching up on some debate-related news. I know–I am days behind. I lead a busy life, what can I say.

I caught Mitt Romney’s comments on PBS and Big Bird and it got me thinking about cute animals and politics. Despite the notion that most Americans are issue-voters, it seems to me that nothing trumps issues like a cute animal. We are, when all is said and done, simple people. We love our dogs and cats. We visit zoos because we are fascinated by animals. And sometimes, a cute animal can sideline all other points of formal debate (such as they are) and make or break an election.

It happened in the fall of 1944 when President Roosevelt gave his famous “Fala” speech, in which he said:

These Republican leaders have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala.

That speech may very well have sealed an election victory for Roosevelt.

And, political viewpoints aside, Mitt Romney’s comments on Big Bird may have sealed his doom this time around. If you’re a politician, you just don’t go messing with cute little animals. Do we learn nothing from history?

About Jamie Todd Rubin

Jamie Todd Rubin writes fiction and nonfiction for a variety of publications including Analog, Clarkesworld, The Daily Beast, 99U, Daily Science Fiction, Lightspeed, InterGalactic Medicine Show, and several anthologies. He was featured in Lifehacker’s How I Work series. He has been blogging since 2005. By day, he manages software projects and occasionally writes code. He lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife and three children. Find him on Twitter at @jamietr.