I am going to vent

TYG having been wiped out from a long day, I’ll take the moment to vent about something I came across courtesy of the Daily Howler—NYT columnist Maureen Dowd’s response to Scott Brown’s election in Massachusetts.
The gist of her column, to the extent it has gist, appears to be that she thinks Brown is “Cosmo hot” (she works in a discussion of his centerfold pic from a few years back), and she finds him so sexy, he’s a serious threat to Obama’s standing in Washington. Apparently on the grounds that since Obama wasn’t expected to win, and Brown wasn’t expected to win, they’re both competing for the same spotlight, and “why settle for a 48-year-old, 6-foot-1, organic arugula when we can have a 50-year-old, 6-foot-2, double waffle with bacon?”
The food comparison is quite important: Dowd goes on to say that “Whereas Obama had to force himself to nibble French fries and drink beer (instead of his organic Black Forest Berry Honest Tea) during the Pennsylvania primary, Brown truly loves diners, Pepsi, Waffle Houses and the unwashed masses.”
And the importance of this is—? Realistically speaking, nothing; I seriously doubt any human being besides Dowd and a few other pundits cares whether Obama likes fries and that Brown loves Pepsi (assuming he does, Dowd’s column doesn’t strike me as a piece of meticulous research). But as Bob Somersby of the Howler has been pointing out for years, columnists and reporters love to discuss the “authenticity” of the candidates, and whether they’re really regular guys, just plain folks (whom the pundits know and understand intimately), because that’s what’s most important to us little people outside the elite circles of journalism.
To take one example, CNN political correspondent Candy Crowley suggested that John Kerry asking for green tea at a restaurant in the Midwest was proof, hard, solid proof that he was an elitist out of touch with the common folk, who have never heard of such an exotic beverage.
“There’s a very large disconnect between the Washington politicians and most of America and how they live,” Crowley said later. Of course, the disconnect might be noticeable in Crowley’s work, since she’s apparently unaware that Lipton’s, hardly a high-end tea, makes green tea now.
Or consider talk-show host Joe Scarborough (my former congressman) who devoted part of one show in 2008 to discussing how badly Obama bowls and what a handicap this would be in the election.
Because that’s all we Americans really care about: Never mind the economy, the war or anything else, what we want to vote for is a regular guy we’d like to have a beer with. That’s all we require in a candidate.
And these insights are coming from people who get paid 10, 20 times what I do? Oy, vey.

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