I thought I knew myself pretty well by now, but something has just happened that I never would have figured possible. At 60, I have fallen in love with a Republican. It’s real. She and I share a bed. The wife is okay with it.

I’ve been living with my dog for five years now, but only recently did I come to accept Murphy’s red-state politics. The signs were everywhere, but I refused to accept them — there are some awkward truths that people tend to deny until the evidence overwhelms. One of these might be that you need pants with a bigger waist. Another is … this.

Some of the evidence is unsubtle and unsurprising: Like other Republicans, Murphy shows inappropriate interest in the reproductive systems of women she does not know, shamelessly sticking her nose into their business. It can be a problem on walks. But other things are more nuanced.

Murphy is a culture warrior. She has a rigid worldview, with exacting standards about what constitutes acceptable personal behavior. When she sees something of which she disapproves, she will glare indignantly at the offender, throw her head back and bay like the hound she is. Often this becomes embarrassing, such as when she scolds couples in the park.

Murphy: Roooooooo.

(Illustration by Eric Shansby)

Couple: Uh, wha … ?

Me: I’m sorry. My dog doesn’t like it when people kiss.

Her displeasures are legion. She will also rooooo at people on crutches, people doing exercises, people in hats, people with limps, people on skateboards, people carrying large packages. Truest to her politics, she’s not big on alternative energy: She roooos at those creepy, stealthy electric cars. In Murphy’s world, cars should make noise. Drill, baby, drill.

Like other Republicans, Murphy demands less government; she makes this position abundantly clear anytime I attempt to govern her behavior in any way inconsistent with her immediate desires, such as horking up maggoty chicken from the gutter, which she will do with subversive glee while in a protective crouch. She’s for eliminating federal agencies, particularly the U.S. Postal Service, a position she shares with Ron Paul and reconfirms once a day, impolitely, through the mail slot.

Murphy is a Plott hound, which means she is 100 percent American — one of the few completely native breeds, developed in the rural South for huntin’. By constitution, therefore, she’s a gun-loving redneck. As might be expected, she has some issues with racial diversity: She is friendly to most dogs but will snarl and snap at Akitas and Airedales, two fussy-looking breeds that resemble large stuffed toys. To her, there are litmus tests for being a real dog, and they just don’t pass.

Murphy isn’t big on environmental protection — her favorite neighborhood bathroom is right beside a “Keep dogs off grass” sign — and her policies on entitlements and redistribution of wealth are unambiguous: “I got mine.”

I used to buy her a bacon crepe in the park on weekends, but she flat-out stopped eating the French part. No sissy oeufs or farine or lait. So now when Mitch the Crepe Guy sees Murphy the Republican heading his way, he just pulls out a handful of bacon.

This realization about my dog was a real eye-opener, and it got me thinking in creative ways. Bear with me here.

Because of a certain regrettable episode many years ago, Mitt Romney is in trouble with dog owners; it’s a huge constituency that needs shoring up. Well, Plott hounds are the state dog of North Carolina, a battleground state. Murphy is fast and good on a leash, so she’s a natural running mate.

You see where I am going here, but you have a big question. You think she’s not qualified, but she is, at least as much so as most of the candidates: And in dog years, she just hit 35.