The first rule of political pandering: Know what you’re talking about.
The classic example: In 2004, Sen. John Kerry, trying to bolster his regular guy image, spoke of Green Bay’s hallowed “;Lambert Field.” It’s Lambeau Field. Ten dork points for Kerry.
This week, Michelle Obama walked into a culinary version of the Lambert gaffe.
In an e-mail congratulating Charlotte, N.C., on being named host city for the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Obama mentioned that Charlotte has “great barbecue.” As someone who grew up an hour from Charlotte, I can tell you that few natives would say that. Nobody travels to Charlotte for the barbecue. It might have a good barbecue restaurant or two, but the really good stuff is outside of the city.
Obama’s been mocked for the obvious pander, as she should have been. But to me the offense wasn’t her ignorance of North Carolina’s barbecue geography. It was her blatant violation of the second rule of political pandering: Don’t pretend to like something you don’t.
Michelle Obama is America’s No. 1 Food Nanny. Her top priority as First Lady is to end “the epidemic of childhood obesity in America.” When she launched that initiative a year ago this month, she announced the creation of letsmove.gov, which provides tips to parents and community leaders on making kids healthier. One recommendation to municipal officials is: “Create a healthy food promotional campaign, and offer a ‘healthy eating’ designation to restaurants who offer healthier food and beverages and reasonably-sized portions.”
There isn’t a self-respecting barbecue joint in the South that could win that designation. North Carolina barbecue joints sell hush puppies (fried cornmeal) and sweet tea that’s close to equal parts tea and sugar. And you don’t want to think about the calorie count in a single slice of pie or dollop of banana pudding.
Read More: By Andrew Cline, American Spectator