'Crate-Gate' Continues; Collins Calls Cain, Other GOP Candidates 'Nutjobs'

Gail Collins has now mentioned Mitt Romney's dog strapped to a crate on a car roof 28 times in columns. She also referred to Herman Cain and other GOP candidates as "nutjobs," while her "conservative" foil David Brooks nodded along.

Crate-gate continues at the New York Times. Times Watch noted back on October 21 that columnist Gail Collins is obsessed with the story of Mitt Romney's dog, strapping in a crate on the roof of the car when the family took vacations to Canada. Collins had (according to a Nexis search) mentioned the dog's dilemma in 23 columns since her August 4, 2007 manifesto, 'Haunted by Seamus.' Since Times Watch reported that, Collins had repeated the anecdote five more times in only 11 columns.

Every column that mentioned Romney during that span has included the dog story, including Thursday's 'The Mitt Romney Pardon.' For a moment it seemed she would actually discuss Romney without bringing up the dog, but there it was, in the very last paragraph, Collins by now not even bothering with the mitigating 'crate' part:

And maybe we could get over his driving to Canada with the family dog strapped to the roof of the car if he'd just admit it was because he was too cheap to hire a dog-sitter. Maybe.

More like 'maybe I could get over' it, as Collins is virtually the only media commentator who is giving the story the attention it clearly deserves.

Collins also mentioned Mitt's poor dog in her weekly online Q&A Wednesday with fellow columnist David Brooks, after stating in a discussion of Herman Cain that the GOP base was 'intensely attracted to candidates who are nutjobs.' Brooks, the 'conservative' foil for Collins, seemed to agree.

Gail: Don't you think this says something about the current state of the Republican party? It has a base that's intensely attracted to candidates who are nutjobs.

David: Well, yes, and I know Mitt is in a lull, but I still don't see how he doesn't get the nomination. Sometime between now and Iowa Newt's essential Newtness will emerge - mainly the fact that each successive moment for him has no bearing on the next. This is clearly a time to buy Romney stock on Intrade.