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Mitt Romney and John Huntsman Shoot A Dog In Utah

Unbeknownst to Mitt Romney, his presidential bid is doomed to failure. His fate is sealed. The White House just ain't in the cards. How do I know this? Simple, really. I hitchhiked through Utah in the early 1970's.

As Joe Walsh once stated in an album title, "You Can't Argue With A Sick Mind". So please allow me to make my case.

I was young and footloose in those days. Not like Kevin Bacon, mind you. This was before Mr. Bacon was related by six degrees to everything in the universe. It predates the movie Footloose by years and years... although bacon does enter the story at a point.

I was hitchhiking from Eugene, Oregon to Denver, Colorado. Two towns with solid counter-cultural roots. Unlike, say, the entire state of Utah.

Utah is one of the most stunningly beautiful states in America. It is populated by two distinct types of people... Mormons, and alcoholics.

In Utah, if you ain't Mormon, you quickly become alcoholic.

I didn't learn this scientific fact from a textbook. I gleaned it from actual observation.

Lest you think I have some inherent prejudice against Mormons,  I don't. If I were to generalize about Mormons, it would be that they are tall, strapping, industrious white people who have no known vices except marrying thirteen year old girls. Imagine an incredibly beautiful state full of Mitt Romneys, John Huntsmans and Orrin Hatches... all banging thirteen year old girls. Then liberally pepper this with large communities of alcoholics. They broke the mold when they made Utah.

I can say this because I grew up in the neighboring states of New Mexico and Colorado. You couldn't say it if you, say, grew up in New Jersey. You could maybe make a disparaging remark about Delaware, but not Utah. If you did, I'd have to leap to Utah's defense, being a native Southwesterner and all.   

So anyway, I was hitchhiking from Eugene to Denver. The ride I got out of Oregon took me all the way to Salt Lake City. Where, in the warm desert night, all rides ceased.

In those days, hitchhiking was considered kind of a sport. Only in certain states (say... Utah) people didn't play.

Outside of Salt Lake City, hitchhikers were piled up on the side of the interstate, desperately waiting for a ride. Out of food, out of water, out of luck. And still nobody would stop.

There were probably a dozen people there. Some had been at that one spot for three days.

I got so fed up with waiting that I walked up the Interstate to a little state highway, where I figured to try my luck.

Lo and behold, within fifteen minutes, I got a ride. From an alcoholic.

We drove down this little winding road, through a narrow canyon, as he weaved and yapped incoherently. Finally I could take no more, and said stop. Let me out. He did.

So there I was, on a little side road in the middle of Utah. It was a beautiful spot. Did I mention Utah is beautiful?  Evening was coming, and I figured my best bet was to waiting for a car to come by, heading back to the interstate.

Across the road appeared a little sheep dog. I said here pup, coaxing him over. He happily trotted across the road, and as he did a huge pickup truck came lumbering around the corner, smashing into the dog head on.

The truck pulled over. The dog was writhing in pain from a broken back. I instinctively reached my hand out to try to comfort the dog, and of course the dog instinctively latched onto my hand in a death grip, which I eventually pried loose.


Out of the truck climbed two young Mormon men, who looked for all the world like a young Mitt Romney and a young John Huntsman. Strapping, good looking, very clean cut tanned white fellows, one with a pistol in his hand. The dog was now on the shoulder of the road, still writing in pain but off of my hand. "John Huntsman" shot him, which was the only humane thing to do. Then the two of them began to walk back to their truck.

"Wait a minute!" I said, my hand bleeding pretty profusely. "Do you think you could give me a ride back to the Interstate?"

Now the reason I thought of all this was because of Andrea Mitchell asking Mitt Romney about his tax returns. Because Mitt Romney had the identical look that his namesake had back in Utah, after "John Huntsman" had shot the dog. He smiled smugly, as if to say I don't have to if I don't want to. And, like Andrea, I looked at him as if to say yeah, but it would be the decent thing to do.

But "Mitt Romney" said no.

He got back in the truck with "John Huntsman", all strapping and clean cut and white and tan no doubt full of righteousness, having just shot a dog and left some scrawny, scraggly hippy kid bleeding by the side of the road.

The Chosen Few, or the Chosen Two as it were, drove off. Leaving me miles from nowhere by the side of the road with a dead dog and the sun sinking low.

I finally made it back to the interstate. And I finally got a ride toward Colorado... in a Volkswagen Beetle with California plates.  And he took me to where his parents lived. They were maybe the only Jewish family in Utah. They made me bacon and eggs. And bandaged up my hand, and let me rest awhile, and then took me back to the Interstate.

I suppose the point is I know what it's like to be the stranger by the side of the road. Most of us do. To have good intentions quickly turn into a nightmare of writhing pain and ultimately merciful death. We know what it's like to be rejected by the chosen few, who mete out mercy only when and if they see fit. Those who would pull over to shoot a dog, but not give you a ride in the back of their truck to the Interstate.

I'm not bitter. I'm blessed. But I  remembered where I'd seen that look before when Andrea Mitchell asked Mitt Romney about his taxes.  And I realized that in order for him to be elected president, all these people who were left by the side of the road with a dead dog and a bleeding hand were gonna have to vote for him.

And that just ain't gonna happen. No way, no how. Sorry, Mitt. There's some things your money can't buy.

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Comment by David Vidal on January 9, 2012 at 11:54pm

I think Romney and Obama are pretty classic candidates for their respective parties. Most of what we see is smoke and mirrors around election time, especially during the primaries.. they make the noises that will get their voters excited. Notice Obama suddenly shifting toward the kinds of policies and appointments that his voters wanted when he was elected... well, he needs 'em again. So boy howdy, he's starting to do some things that will get his people to the polls. Both Obama and Romney are centrists... either one of them could be president. They're both capable.  It's just that one of 'em already is president, and he's gonna be real hard to beat, especially by a candidate who seems pretty much devoid of a perceptible personality. And the Republicans I know certainly do at their share for the contraception business..

Comment by wiffledust on January 9, 2012 at 10:56pm

classic? i dunno. we've never had a whole party want to outlaw contraception before. at least not since...who? maybe truman was in office? even then?

Comment by David Vidal on January 9, 2012 at 9:23pm

Thank you for your kind thoughts, Rita.

I disagree with you about Romney though... I think he's the perfect Republican candidate, and actually well represents the traditional Republicans, who have made a bunch of money starting with money they inherited, and, oddly enough, are pretty okay with that scenario. Who can blame them? Problem is, there aren't enough traditional Republicans around to win an election. So they have to appeal to other people. Reagan was great at that, He brought the disaffected Wallace Democrats into the party fold, and they became the "Reagan Democrats". Mostly Southern white people, po' but proud. The problem for the Republicans is not Romney, who is perfectly capable of being president (though he won't get my vote). It is the actual makeup of the Republican Party, and what to do with those old Wallace.... errr, Reagan Democrats. And how to get them to vote for Mitt Romney. Dubya affected the cowboy persona. Bush One chewed on pork rinds. Reagan was a cowboy actor, for chrissake. It'd be as if Roy Rogers was president. But Mitt Romney? That's a tough sell. I noticed he recently bought a vacation house in La Jolla. Probably a wise move. There's a boatload of extremely wealthy venture capitalists who live up and down that part of the coast. While they won't be able to win him California, they'll certainly help him win some states.


I think it's gonna be kind of a classic election..

Comment by David Vidal on January 8, 2012 at 2:29pm

I have known Mennonites around here, and they're truly wonderful people. Very outgoing, modern, and probably the truest practitioners of Christianity in my interpretation of what Christians should be. There are no Amish communities around here that I'm aware of... the Mormons probably shot their dogs. Actually, I think maybe there are some in Montana. As for the dancing girl, I have to admit I leapt to a conclusion because of her garb, which was very traditionalist. America is a very complex quilt of cultures and sub-cultures isn't it? I love it.


I'm reminded of when John Kerry was running for president, and his wife the ketchup heiress was giving a prelude to his speech to a mostly Hispanic crowd. And she said "I'm an immigrant too!" Assuming she was talking to a crowd of Mexican immigrants. To which she received a blank kinda WTF stare from the crowd. Many of the Hispanic families in New Mexico have been there since the early 1600's... they didn't immigrate to America. America immigrated to them.

Comment by wiffledust on January 7, 2012 at 7:27pm

btw, it's not to say amish WON"T talk to you. they will work for you...say build you a barn. but they won't socialize. and that includes alot of niceties such as howdy. some do in quilt shops and such. they will if their livlihood depends on it. or let's say you are going to an amish farm to learn stuff. they will talk then. but they are not among us to make friends. they are here for business, otherwise, they want you out of their line of vision. and all the tourists here try to catch their picture. it's so rude, because they view that as stealing your soul. so we're taught not to take their photo. but people do it anyway. we have to co-exist in this half of pennsylvania, and sometimes i forget that the rest of the world doesn't have to do it too. we're kind of protective of them. they are pacifists and won't shoot you or your dog.

Comment by wiffledust on January 7, 2012 at 7:22pm

remember richard gere's character in "pretty woman"? well before he finds the love of julia roberts, he takes companies apart and makes a profit off the pieces. he's a miserable guy who has to hire a prostitute to get through a week of social engagements. he hates his life. he looks good. he does things automatically. sound familiar??

now as for the amish around here, they don't dance. and certainly not in public. i've seen mennonites act out in public. not amish. and keep in mind the amish in pennsylvania could be very different from the ones in kansas. the ones here are like the ones in the movie "witness". they are quiet. they live on a 50 acre farm (the farm is only allowed to be big enough for one family to farm without advanced machinery). they do not drive. they ride around in their horse and buggies, and we try to not run them over. they aren't mean people. i don't mean to describe them that way. they are under educated for sure. and highly suspicious of us. and it's part of their religion to steer clear of us. they are in our local farmer's market selling pies and such, and i haven't yet gotten one to smile at me or say hello. they want my money though.

Comment by David Vidal on January 7, 2012 at 4:04pm

Maybe "humble" and "Amish" don't go together either. Basically my few interactions with Amish folk have been good.. or at least not bad. But I've never spent time in Amish country. Usually it's been on a train, and yeah they stick to themselves, but then so do I. My favorite Amish memory was playing in Smith's Market in Hutchinson, Kansas, and this Amish boy and girl (at least they looked Amish to me... but come to think of it, they could have been from some traditionalist Mennonite sect), maybe in their early teens who I took to be brother and sister, were listening intently. And the girl started dancing, with no reservations whatsoever... right there in the aisle of the vegetable market. Swaying back and forth with her eyes closed. Let me put it this way... they don't seem to flaunt their wealth. They have the trappings of humility.  So leave me with my delusions..

As to who Romney is... he does seem kinda opaque, doesn't he? He's like whoever you want him to be... and then he takes your money. It seems to have worked well for him so far.

Comment by wiffledust on January 7, 2012 at 3:31pm

and btw, who IS romney...really? is there anyone in there?

Comment by wiffledust on January 7, 2012 at 3:30pm

david, you have some comments on fb i don't want you to miss....i think obama is going to win too unless everyone stays home. and more people will stay home if romney runs than anyone else in the repub camp, i think. i don't think many people know how seriously far from typical ron paul is. i think h gives a norman rockwell looking aw shucks thing that is completely misleading. for the amish, i don't think i've met too many humble amish. but they don't mingle. so that's the difference i see. they are never running for president nor are they going to stop on the street and talk to you. they are in their own world, and that's that. they think our lifestyle has cooties, and to a large extent they are right. but humble isn't necessarily the word i'd use with them. ....

Comment by Ericka Gray on January 7, 2012 at 11:22am
I love the analogy of being left on the side of the road by the chosen two.

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