Courtesy of David Kuo
David Kuo thinks President-elect Obama should get a Landseer Newfie puppy.
David Kuo thinks President-elect Obama should get a Landseer Newfie puppy. Courtesy of David Kuo
Dear Mr. President-Elect:
You are acutely aware of how important your personnel selections will be for your success.
Past administrations, bound by wealthy special interests and conventional Washington thinking, have thought of appointments in merely human terms — fixating on filling posts like the secretary of the Treasury and the assistant deputy undersecretary for improvement and innovation at the Department of Education.
Don't be trapped by this human-centric thinking. If you want to be an agent of change, think more broadly. Think of your dog.
Your choice of dog is going to be scrutinized by everyone. Appointing a Cabinet secretary is a task reserved for a president, but picking a dog is something everyone can relate to. And let's face it; everyone has secret thoughts about the kind of dogs their friends or family members choose.
Look at your predecessor's choice of dogs. They are sweet little things, cute. But let's face it, they are also itty-bitty yippy things, frantically moving to and fro, biting reporters. These are not secure animals. What does that say about their owner?
Quite frankly, you cannot unify the country and have these same things said about your choice of dog.
That is why you absolutely must choose a Landseer Newfoundland.
You might not be familiar with this noble breed, so let me give you a bit of information.
It is a very large breed of dog. A very large dog. This is good for you. You really can't afford to be seen with some effete little breed that has its hair done in bows or has to wear a sweater when it is cold. Too many people wonder if you are a socialist already; you need a manly dog.
At the same time, Newfies are very gentle. J.M. Barrie chose a Newfie to depict the beloved Nana in Peter Pan. You don't have to worry about your daughters. Your Newfie will protect them better than the Secret Service.
Let's face it. People wonder if you are just a bit too cool, too aloof. Do you feel people's pain? Again, the Newfie is perfect for you. They have slightly sad eyes that convey deep empathy. They are deeply kind and affectionate. They don't bite anyone, but they are also constantly hungry. These are good things for you.
People also wonder if you are tough enough. Can you really deal with terrorists? Newfies send the appropriate message. They are so comfortable and confident in their strength that they rarely find the need to exercise it — or, frankly, to exercise at all... but that is a different matter. At the same time, they don't go overboard. Steve Wynn, Vegas hotel magnate, is known for meeting people with two menacing German shepherds at his side. It doesn't take Freud to figure that the guy is trying to make up for something. No such problems with a Newfie. With a Newfie padding along at your side people will understand that you are calm but if pushed too far you will take care of your own.
Finally, the Landseer Newfie has one other thing going for it. It is black and white — just like you. It is the embodiment of post-racial America.
So, check one out — you won't want any other dog. And they are pretty much hypoallergenic. But no, Mr. President-elect, you can't have mine.
David Kuo is author of "Tempting Faith." He's a former deputy director of the office of faith-based community initiatives in the Bush administration. Currently he's the the CEO of Culture11.com.