“Mitt Is Mean” Super PAC: Neil McCarthy Defends Dogs & People
Neil McCarthy & French, his blind rescue dog
April 28, 2012
By anyone’s measure, Neil McCarthy is a successful guy. A Yale-educated lawyer, onetime candidate for Congress and former executive vice-chair of the New York State Democratic Party, Neil still identifies with the stratum of society he was born into: the middle-income middle class.
That huge group of Americans is in danger of losing even more economic ground if Mitt Romney is elected president this November, says Neil. That’s why he’s now the chairman of Mitt Is Mean, a super PAC founded just over a month ago to raise $1 million from animal lovers who want to defeat Romney. Mitt Is Mean will use the funds to make videos and show them in swing states, in an effort to alert people to Mitt Romney’s callous and uncaring nature.
Yes, the name of the super PAC owes something to the efforts of Scott Crider, who sells t-shirts, bumper stickers and other items bearing the slogan “Mitt Is Mean” on his website, DogsAgainstRomney.com. Scott is a volunteer advisor to Mitt Is Mean.
Lighthearted though its name may be, Neil McCarthy is completely serious about the super PAC’s purpose. And he regards the story of Mitt Romney’s 1983 12-hour drive to Canada with the family dog, Seamus, confined to a kennel strapped to the roof of the car, as more than just a weird and attention-grabbing story.
“It’s a window onto Mitt Romney’s soul,” Neil said. “The guy really has no sensibility, no heart, no compassion.”
Neil and Mitt Is Mean cofounders Brad Bannon, Martin Dunleavy and Bob McDevitt decided to form a super PAC because they all feel that “the character a candidate possesses tells you the nature of the policies they will pursue,” Neil said. Anyone who can treat a dog as Mitt Romney treated Seamus is unfit to lead the nation, they conclude.
“It tells you that if he were to become President of the United States, he would take Paul Ryan’s budget and try to pass it, get rid of Obamacare with nothing to take its place,” Neil said. “Mitt thinks that the same people who tanked our economy are the folks who should be running the world. I am not willing to give him the keys to the car that is the American economy, strap the middle class – the working class – to the roof of the car, and drive us all off a cliff.”
Neil is a persuasive guy who convinced one very special Republican to switch sides – his wife, Debbie. The couple met in 1992, when Debbie was working as the legislative director for the Republican U.S. congressman Neil was running against. Neil doesn’t claim he persuaded her all by himself – it was George W. Bush’s decision to block stem cell research that caused her to switch sides, he says.
That decision was made to please the far right, ignoring the desperate need of many people whose diseases could be cured through stem cell research. In much the same vein, Mitt Romney has shifted from positions Neil says most Americans regard as reasonable to stances calculated to please Republicans. Now, he says, it’s time to appeal to people’s compassion, and ask everyone to do what they can to prevent Mitt Romney from winning the White House.
McCarthy family pets French, a blind shih-tzu, and Mrs. Beasley, the cat, live together amicably.
Love and compassion for animals crosses party lines, and Neil is certain that spreading the story of Seamus will help win many people over to voting against Romney, and even to donating for the cause.
“I’ve told this story to many people over the last six months, and 1,000 palms have smacked 1,000 foreheads in disbelief,” he said. Because Neil speaks with people across the political spectrum, he’s certain at least a good proportion of those he’s related Seamus’ story to are either independent voters or Republicans. Love and concern for animals is no respecter of party lines.
Spreading the word in swing states during the runup to the election will be effective, Neil says. “This episode [Seamus on the roof] is a good handle for explaining to people who Romney is, and for energizing people who love their pets, and would never do to them what Romney did to his. We’ll get out there and make sure the disaster that would be the Romney presidency will never come to pass.”
Neil credits New York Times columnist Gail Collins with making sure the story of Seamus – first surfaced in a 2007 Boston Globe story – doesn’t go away. “I love her,” says Neil, comparing her with Maureen Dowd, another New York Times columnist whose work he enjoys. “Their styles are similar – they both have a real nose for irony, and they’re funny.”
Interested in contributing to Mitt Is Mean? You can: click here.