August 17, 2007, - 9:20 am

Out of Touch: Barack Hussein Obama’s “Arugula Moment”

By Debbie Schlussel
If you don’t know what arugula–the overpriced, bitter-tasting gourmet salad green–is, you’re not alone. Most Americans prefer just plain lettuce.
But arugula is proving to be Barack Hussein Obama’s George H.W. Bush automatic scanner moment. Remember when the elder Bush–during his Presidency and while he was trying to mount a re-election bid–went to a supermarket for the first tie in eons? His amazement at the scanners used by cashiers in the checkout lane showed most Americans he was simply out of touch. To most average Americans, scanners at your local retailers were already old hat by then.
Now Harvard grad Obama is having that problem with his snooty, upscale references. He’s simply worn silk stockings and rode in limos far too long. And it shows.

barackobama.jpgarugula.jpg

Newsweek reports that Obama’s statements littered with gourmand references are alienating “downscale Dems”. His “Arugula Moment” says it all:

On a sunlit Friday afternoon in July, Barack Obama stopped by Beverly Van Fossen’s farm in Adel, Iowa, to speak about “rural issues.” It was standard Hawkeye State stumping‚Äîuntil the senator took a stab at sympathizing with farmers whose crop prices have stagnated. “Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula?” he asked. Unfortunately, Adel isn’t exactly arugula country. “Someone near me whispered, ‘What’s arugula?’ ” says Van Fossen, 74. ” ‘You can’t find that in Iowa’.” Same goes for Whole Foods. The closest locations, reported The New York Times that evening, are in Omaha, Neb.; Kansas City, Kans., and Minneapolis. Whoops. . . .
For the past 40 years, Democratic nominating contests have pitted “wine track” candidates (backed by young, well-off, college-educated elites) against “beer track” opponents (who cultivate a less-educated coalition of minorities and blue-collar workers). The 2008 contest is no exception. According to the latest Cook Political Report survey, Hillary Clinton polls 12 points higher among voters who haven’t graduated from college than those who have; Obama’s numbers are reversed. His problem: only 34 percent of likely Democratic primary voters have college degrees. “If you don’t develop a solid base among downscale Dems, it’s very hard to get the nomination,” says demographer Ruy Teixeira. Unless Obama gets off the wine track, he could end up the latest in a long line of brainy, reformist also-rans like Gary Hart, Paul Tsongas and Bill Bradley.

The problem that comes with this is that you have many Democratic politicians trying way too hard to be folksy and sound like down home hicks, practically mocking their more down to earth constuents.
My favorite example is one my father always cites. Far-left phony and Harvard grad, U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan), when he was campaigning against Ronald Reagan’s re-election, spoke to a blue collar audience in Michigan in the 1984. The snobby millionaire (whose daughter worked at “high-brow” cat-lady network, PBS) began droppin’ his “G”s at the end of all of his words. Are you gettin’ my meanin’?
Don’t be surprised if Obama starts doin’ the same.

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11 Responses

Yes, Sen Obama’s arugula moment is a little silly, but not fatally so.
For me there is a better analogy, although GHWB’s was kind of funny, too. It was Sen Kerry’s, when he had that philly cheesesteak and wanted guerre(?), brie, or swiss cheese. Yep, also silly, but that is not the reason he lost.

zyzzyg on August 17, 2007 at 10:59 am

In keeping with the large proportion of his fan base being college students. When are the “Che Obama” t-shirts going to appear?

Jeremiah on August 17, 2007 at 11:27 am

Why anyone in his/her right mind would vote for a Democrat,exspecially on the certain issues he/she stands for or against in this day in age is far beyond my comprehension. I don’t consider the Republicans to be less erratic but when it boils down to choosing between presidential on both sides of the aisle, I would dread to see a left wing notorious socialistic internationalist akin to most democrats, taking a seat in the Oval Office.
In my humble opinion, the constituents of these Democrat nominees are more to be feared than the candidates themselves. Take that into consideration when you are going to the ballot box.Be carefull who you vote for. You may get the exact opposite from what you exspected from the candidate youo put in office since most of them don’t tend to keep their word because they are full of hot air. Your gullibility is going to screw you even further.

Jew Chick on August 17, 2007 at 11:29 am

Why anyone in his/her right mind would vote for a Democrat,exspecially on the certain issues he/she stands for or against in this day in age is far beyond my comprehension. I don’t consider the Republicans to be less erratic but when it boils down to choosing between presidential contenders on both sides of the aisle, I would dread to see a left wing notorious socialistic internationalist akin to most democrats, taking a seat in the Oval Office.
In my humble opinion, the constituents of these Democrat nominees are more to be feared than the candidates themselves. Take that into consideration when you are going to the ballot box.Be carefull who you vote for. You may get the exact opposite from what you exspected from the candidate youo put in office since most of them don’t tend to keep their word because they are full of hot air. Your gullibility is going to screw you even further.

Jew Chick on August 17, 2007 at 11:31 am

Does this means Hillary is going to show up in Harlem with a forty ounce bottle of Old English to establish her street cred?
YUP, SNOOP DOGG “GIN & JUICE” FOR HILLARY.
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

Rich B on August 17, 2007 at 11:35 am

The “Whole Foods” part was just a funny as the arugula part.
The sad thing is, I’m sure that there are people who are having trouble making ends meet (at $200K+) who shop at WF rather than paying 30% less at Safeway or 50% less at Wal-Mart…because shopping at either of the two latter stores would threaten their fragile self-image.

photoncourier.blogspot.com on August 17, 2007 at 2:25 pm

Great column, Debbie, thanks!

Paul S. on August 17, 2007 at 3:58 pm

If he were a Republican, the media would have tore him to pieces for being so out of touch with the common man, but because he is a Democrat, he is given a pass because most in the elitist media think pretty much the same way. Not to mention the fact that few liberals in the media seem to have a problem with his lack of experience in pursuing the office of the POTUS. None of this matters to them as he is just black enough for them – half white and does not scare them the way most blacks scare them.

eloopd on August 17, 2007 at 5:33 pm

Debbie,
The Bush scanner incident was a New York Times cheep shot which has been repeated enough that it is being accepted as fact.
Quoting from a Media Research http://www.mediaresearch.org/cyberalerts/2000/cyb20000403.asp#5
ABCÔø?s Peter Jennings revived a made-up media story Friday night, reminding viewers of how President George Bush was supposedly once baffled by a supermarket scanner.
Running through a series of short “On the Money” items, over video of a grocery scanner, on the March 31 World News Tonight Peter Jennings snidely recalled:
“News for everyone, but former President Bush might take note. Self-scanning check-out systems are catching on at supermarkets. Customers scan and bag the groceries themselves and then to keep people honest, it checks to see if the weight of the groceries equals the weight of the items which were scanned.”
Jennings was alluding to a February 1992 front page story in the New York Times which portrayed then-President Bush as amazed during a factory tour by the concept of a grocery scanner. But as Brit Hume, then still with ABC News, revealed in the January 1993 American Spectator, that story was “almost wholly untrue.” Hume explained: “Bush’s wonder was mostly politeness and the scanner, far from being ordinary, was a new and different device of which the company was especially proud.”
In fact, the New York Times reporter who wrote the story had not even accompanied Bush on the factory tour and drew his anecdote from the pool reporters, an extraordinary insight Hume thought: “Only the Times drew from that pool report the picture of Bush as a man awed by a supermarket scanner. It may be the only time on record where anybody got an exclusive story out of a pool report. Such is the TimesÔø?s influence, however, that the story became part of the legend of a President who just didnÔø?t know how things were out there in the real world.”

EddNH on August 17, 2007 at 9:36 pm

Forget arugula! I bet this bastard chews khat, instead.
Khat(pronounced “cot”) is a natural stimulant from the Catha edulis plant, found in the flowering evergreen tree or large shrub which grows in East Africa and Southern Arabia to tree size. Khat leaves contain psychoactive ingredients known as cathinone, which is structurally and chemically similar to d-amphetamine, and cathine, a milder form of cathinone.
A lot of the barbarians who’ve invaded this country from Africa have that shit (which is illegal in the U.S.) shipped to them from their home countries.
What was that saying about how you can take the ______ out of the jungle…but you can’t take the jungle out of the ________?

Thee_Bruno on August 17, 2007 at 10:16 pm

Now, we rubes like Arugula, too. Don’t be so condescending, we’re not ALL missing a chromosome. And btw, I thought vampires couldn’t go near garlic, what’s he doing in Whole Foods?

steve ventry on August 19, 2007 at 12:13 pm

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