Kent Conrad’s infatuation with his dog, a white bichon frisé named Dakota, has become the stuff of Senate lore. Countless news articles have mentioned how the Senator is never far from his pet, even as Conrad moves about the capitol. But, as the New York Times notes, Conrad’s fetish for his canine companion won’t be a staple of the menagerie of capitol hill weirdness any longer:
The dog, Dakota, reflecting Mr. Conrad’s home state of North Dakota, was as much a fixture in the halls of the upper chamber as marble staircases and indignant news conferences. It was often toted around by a staff member who tried valiantly to maintain his dignity as he cuddled the fluffy pet while its owner voted. Dakota will hardly be the only piece of current Capitol culture to depart.
I don’t begrudge anyone their pets, but it’s always grated on my sense of propriety that Conrad used his staffers as dog sitters, as if they were his servants and not aids paid for by the tax dollars to facilitate his job as a legislator.
A minor abuse of power, perhaps, but one indicative of a man grown far too impressed with his own status.