August 17, 2007, - 9:20 am
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.
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.
Tags: Adel, Barack Hussein Obama, Beverly Van Fossen, Bill Bradley, Carl Levin, cat-lady network, Cook Political Report, Debbie Schlussel, Gary Hart, George H. W. Bush, Harvard, Hillary Clinton, Iowa, Kans., Kansas City, Michigan, Minneapolis, Nebraska, Newsweek, Omaha, Paul Tsongas, Ronald Reagan, Ruy Teixeira, Senator, The New York Times, United States