America Is Being Tested in So Many Ways Right Now

Gail Collins: Bret, much serious stuff to talk about today, but I want to get my canine issues out of the way first. Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota is publishing a new memoir she presumably hoped would help her chances of being named as Donald Trump’s running mate.

Bret Stephens: An instant literary classic, albeit of the inadvertent variety.

Gail: In it she brags about having killed her dog, Cricket, for a string of bad behavior. Will it hurt her prospects? After all, Trump is not what you’d consider an animal lover.

Bret: When I first heard about this, I thought there had to be some exculpating detail that the mainstream media had missed. But it looks like Cricket’s crime was that he preferred the taste of chicken to pheasant. The larger outrage, as I gather from Seth Tupper of the South Dakota Searchlight, turns less on Noem shooting Cricket than it does on her subsequent killing of a goat in a pure fit of rage.

Gail: There has to be a goat-lovers lobby out there.

Bret: In the same memoir, Noem claims to have met Kim Jong-un, the North Korean dictator, which never happened. Maybe she was confusing him with the governor of North Dakota, Doug Burgum? Anyway, I don’t think she’s going to be our next Republican vice-presidential nominee, because even Trump knows he needs to surround himself with more competent liars.

Gail: Well, this does give me another opportunity to say I’m sorry I devoted so many columns to making fun of Mitt Romney for driving his dog to Canada in a carrier on the roof of his car. I was mainly trying to find a little diversion in a deeply boring presidential campaign, but Noem has given Mitt the opportunity to say “I didn’t shoot my dog,” and he took it.

Bret: Gail, switching from the awfully ridiculous to the ridiculously awful: campus protests.

I know we’ve discussed this in recent weeks, but I wanted to get your take on the political implications. Hard to see how the unrest doesn’t hurt President Biden while lifting Trump, sort of in the way that the campus unrest of the 1960s devastated Hubert Humphrey’s campaign, gave us the chaotic Chicago Democratic convention and helped elect Richard Nixon.

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