Opinion: How U.S. Senate resembles Westminster Dog Show


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They all have professional handlers, experts hired to create buzz and show them off to advantage.

No, not the animals at the 134th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Arguably, the pets have more dignity.


We’re talking about the U.S. Senate, that institution so hampered by its own parliamentary rules -- think 60 votes required for a 51-vote majority -- that even its own members (Indiana’s Evan Bayh, North Dakota’s Byron Dorgan) are throwing it to the dogs.

Like the bloodhounds above, the senators love to travel in packs.

Like man’s best friend, senators come in breeds. There are the smart ones, the obedient ones, the stubborn ones and the kind who just love the camera. (We’d have to give New York’s Charles Schumer best in breed here but are open to other nominations.)

Some have beautiful coats (Nebraska’s Ben Nelson, seen below, was voted Best Hair on the Hill, though we think Jackson the chow chow would give him a serious run for his money). Some of the dogs are drop-dead gorgeous. Others are funny-looking but endearing. (Would anyone mistake Minnesota’s Al Franken for Jennifer the Clumber spaniel?)

One thing all the breeds of dog have in common with senators -- they love an adoring crowd.

Best in show? No contest. It’s Sadie the Scottish terrier and...well, send us your nominations for the U.S. senator who most closely resembles Sadie. Hmm, where have you seen that look before?

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo credits: Bloodhounds in the ring: Timothy Clary / AFP/Getty Images. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Montana Sen. Max Baucus and Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin at a healthcare news conference: Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images. Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson: Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images. Jackson the chow chow: Timothy A. Clary / Getty Images. Minnesota Sen. Al Franken: Win McNamee / Getty Images. Jennifer the Clumber spaniel: Timothy A. Clary / Getty Images. An Afghan hound in the ring: Timothy A. Clary / Getty Images. Barack Obama addressing 75,000 people in Portland, Ore. in May 2008: Chris Carlson / Associated Press, Sadie the Scottish terrier: Reuters

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