I really like Bernie Goldberg. Here’s a guy with lots of experience in the media, totally unafraid to speak his mind (and write it!). He is fearless, his regular O’Reilly Factor appearances something to look forward to.
But last night, he perplexed. Trying to make the argument that some on the right can get out of control in the rationality department on Obama (surely true), he cited two things that he of all people should get instantly. They were the razzing of Obama of his “57 states” mistake during the campaign, and his presidential stop-by of a hamburger fast-food place and asking, on camera, for Grey Poupon mustard.
What surprises is that Mr. Goldberg, of all people, doesn’t get this. The reason for the 57 states attention by some is the crystal clear realization by many on the right that if it had been said by (here’s a short list) George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, Dan Quayle or Ronald Reagan, it would have been endlessly recycled by the mainstream media as proof-positive that the speaker was a) dumber than a post, b) a blithering idiot, c) a perfect fool or d) anything worse than a, b, or c. The real point, of course, would be to try and convince Americans that policy x, y, or z is crazy because the person in question is quite obviously a, b, or c. This is a routine left-wing tactic, and surely by now just about everybody on the right gets the game. Surely those who persisted on this were trying to play the game back with Obama. Not, admittedly, the highest of callings, but certainly it isn’t hard to figure out why it’s done.
Ditto with the Grey Poupon episode as a piece of verbal symbolism about how Obama really thinks. Grey Poupon, by its choice, has positioned itself as the upscale mustard of elites. At one point there was, I believe, a Grey Poupon TV ad that involved a guy in a Rolls Royce. Obama (he of the “bitter clinger” remark and multiples of others) is regularly accused by righties (along with liberals in general) of being an out-of-touch elitist. Asking for Grey Poupon on your hamburger, and on camera in such an effortless way as to suggest this is a regularity, only added to what many believe is a true picture of the man — that he may live in the White House but his head is in the Harvard Law faculty lounge somewhere as he makes all these wildly bad decisions about trying KSM in New York, nationalizing health care, cap and tax, spending trillions etc. etc. etc. Everyone around him would think him perfectly sensible as they dab the Grey Poupon on their burgers because they too are impractical elitists.
For some reason, the estimable Bernie Goldberg, who seems to have a golden gut for picking this stuff up, missed a beat on these two things.
We won’t hold it against him.