President Obama recently went with Vice President Biden to Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington, Virginia, for some burgers. Obama asked for spicy mustard and the right wing pundits went nuts. Ordering mustard instead of ketchup is elitist, you see. Here's Fox's Sean Hannity on what was clearly a slow news day:
It wasn't only Hannity. Mark Steyn, filling in for Rush Limbaugh, said, "John Kerry couldn't get away with that stuff, but he makes it seem just like a regular thing to do." Laura Ingraham asked, "What kind of man orders a cheeseburger without ketchup, but Dijon mustard?"
Why is the condiment Obama chooses so important to the wingnuts? They're against universal health care, the minimum wage, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, veterans' benefits, women's reproductive rights and the Employee Free Choice Act. On the other hand, they're right on board with cutting taxes for the wealthy and repealing the estate tax, which affects the richest .2% of estates.
The right is hostile to anything that answers the economic and health concerns of the lower and middle classes. But they still want to appeal to those whose interests they are hurting. The strategy is to come off as regular folks, whether it's Sarah Palin speaking about "Joe Sixpack" or pundits asking whether one would rather have a beer with George Bush or John Kerry. This phony populism didn't work during the presidential election; the country is facing too many critical issues in terms of the economy, health care, energy and foreign policy. Perhaps the majority of citizens finally sees through the right's deception.
Besides, isn't ketchup a much sweeter condiment than spicy mustard? Perhaps the president just raised the bar on manliness.