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How U.S. Senate resembles Westminster Dog Show

Bloodhounds in the ring at the Westminster Dog Cub 2010

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.

Senate+Democratic+Leaders+Hold+Press+Conference+j1WRFaIb07Tl

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). 

 Alg_sen_ben-nelson

Jackson, Chow Chow, at 2010 Westminster Dog Show

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?)

Senator-al-franken-425js080409
 
Jennifer the Clumber Spaniel

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

An Afghan hound in ring at 2010 Westminster Dog Show
  
Barack Obama speaking to 75,000 in Portland, Ore. in May 2008

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?

Scottish Terrier Sadie who won the 2010 Westminster Dog Show

-- 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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The pic with the 3 Senators is priceless. They look like dogs with attitudes. What I don't get is that WE pay THEM to look, preen, and posture. I, as a result of this article, believe that THEY shoule pay US for the photo ops and the strokes that they get. Now, how much should we charge?


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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