The Kennedys loved their family dogs. No fewer than six are pictured here enjoying the sea air on Cape Cod.

EDITORIAL: Going to the Dogs

Dogs have long played a role in American politics. Even in the darkest of times the political pooch could be relied upon to cheerily wag its tail and make its owner look more, well, human.

That said, this has not been the case with the Biden hound Commander, which has a nasty habit of biting Secret Service agents charged with protecting its master.

And the Ted Cruz pooch Snowflake cut a mournful four-legged figure when master and commander Senator Ted jetted off to the sun leaving the poor thing to guard the front door.

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Snowflake would be an ideal candidate for a bipartisan billboard campaign right now in South Dakota, home of chief dog dispatcher Governor Kristi Noem, who has gotten herself into serious do-do of late after sending her mutt to the happy hunting dog park with a shot since heard around the political world.

Yes, a big billboard with a photo of Snowflake and the lines "Snowflake Supports Dogs For Democracy. Paid for by the bipartisan congressional pooches for human gun control."

Ah yes.

Noam, as we have seen, likes to pose with weapons; okay, something of political must-do in her neck of the plains.

We have to admit that Noem with a military grade assault rifle is a more effective political message than Michael Dukakis in a tank. Holding that rifle you can clearly see that Kristi is reflecting on actual issues such as health care and poetry teaching in the fourth grade.

Noem reflected on her canine coup de grace in her recently published book. The dog in question was Cricket, a wire-haired pointer who paid the ultimate price for falling short of the requirements of a hunting dog in the "Mount Rushmore State." (In the interest of journalistic fairness and integrity it is important to state here and now that the writer of this tongue-in-jowls missive is a dog owner). 

Anyway, one can only assume that the big five on said mount would have given Cricket the benefit of the doubt and allowed him to chase critters across the vast expanses at his leisure.

By the by, gun-toting Kristi followed up her shooting of Cricket by reportedly shooting a goat. Dog and goat ended up in the same hole in the ground. Even Donald Trump was appalled. Noem defended herself by saying that she had taken decisive action.

It is, perhaps, of little surprise that several native American communities in South Dakota have barred Noem from their reservations. The reservation dogs are greatly relieved.

And speaking of Trump. Many still marvel at the political earthquake that saw Trump move into the White House in the early January days of 2017 - minus a presidential canine.

It was long thought that a dog was an essential supporting act for a president or wannabe-president. Some political observers are still speechless over the fact that the Clintons managed two terms with a mere cat.

Of course the most famous presidential shaggy dog story involved Richard Nixon as a vice presidential hopeful in 1952. With just six weeks before election day Nixon faced accusations of dodgy doings linked to a fund established by his backers to reimburse him for political expenses.

Being a clever lad, and newly aware of the power of television, Nixon went on TV and spoke for thirty minutes defending himself.

In his speech, Nixon promised to give everything back to his supporters with the exception of one thing, a black-and-white Cocker Spaniel upon which his children had bestowed the name Checkers.

The Checkers speech seemingly worked wonders. Nixon survived and went on to be President Eisenhower's vice president. Checkers, managing to avoid overly decisive politicians, survived too.

So here we are. It's an election year in which we are told that the contest is a two horse race.

How horses enter the picture at all is something of a mystery when even the dogs in the street know that it all comes down to, hopefully, electing a candidate whose bark is worse than his bite.