The post concerned the lunch trip of Obama and Biden to a burger shop to get a "Hell Burger." I accept that this should not have been news, but the White House image makers wanted to portray the two as just regular guys out at the local diner, so the event was hyped. MSNBC just happened to be in the burger place with cameras rolling when Obama and Biden came in and ordered. Again, not sure why MSNBC had to cover it, but they did, on live TV with Andrea Mitchell at the news desk and Kelly O'Donnell on scene. The dialogue between the two harped on how the trip had a "real guy kind of quality."
And that was the story line. Two regular guys out for a guy kind of meal. A script written in the White House and read by MSNBC.
But MSNBC edited out the audio when Obama ordered his Hell Burger just at the moment when Obama asked for Dijon mustard. Now I have nothing against Dijon mustard, but the image didn't fit with the image being spun by the White House and MSNBC. Dijon mustard on a Hell Burger had a very John Kerry-ish quality about it.
So I did the post, made note of the Dijon mustard, the MSNBC editing, and quipped how Obama must have sought Kerry's counsel. Instapundit (which dubbed the scenario "Dijongate") and Hot Air linked to the post, with the commentary that they thought the mustard thing was a non-scandal and non-issue.
Like most of my posts, Dijongate could have and probably should have fallen into the black hole of internet punditry, never to be seen or heard of again. But the reaction from the nutroots was widespread and swift, and they have kept the story alive.
Check out the links to the original post, and you will see that many of the high profile nutroots blogs have linked. If you check out the links and comments, you will see that the full foul-mouthed, abusive intellect of the nutroots has been brought to bear.
So I kept updating the story, with further links to Obama's choice of condiment, in part as a reaction to the reaction. Which has driven some people even crazier. Now the story has gone national, being picked up by the Washington Post blog.
What gives here? Why the out-sized reaction? If this is a non-story, why is the left obsessed with it?
There are several parts of the answer to this question. Certainly part of the answer is that the left is not content with control of the presidency and Congress; anything, no matter how trivial, which questions Obama must be controlled. Also, Dijongate was a metaphor for the larger issue of media bias which helped Obama get elected, particularly MSNBC's unprofessional and widely-criticized cheer leading.
But those two points cannot explain the nutroots reaction. Surely, Dijongate was a minor blip on the progressive radar screen, if it was a blip at all.
I think the answer to why the nutroots cannot let Dijongate rest is the inherent insecurity of the left with their hold on power. While the mainstream media and left-wing blogs constantly tell us that Republicans and conservatives are dead politically, I don't think they actually believe what they are saying.
The nutroots and mainstream media understand that Obama and the corresponding Democratic majorities in Congress were elected through a unique confluence of circumstances which may never be repeated. The historic election of the first black president; an unquestioning mainstream media which embarrassed itself with its biased coverage; an economic credit crunch just weeks before the election; a Bush administration which lost its will to fight for its policies soon after the 2004 election; a Republican candidate who refused to attack Obama's relationships with seedy characters even though Democrats showed no such restraint as to the Republicans; and a generalized discontent with the existing Republican power structure.
There is a lingering question, however, as to just who Barack Obama is, and whether we elected a blank slate who makes it up as he goes. This point is made not just by conservatives (who made this argument prior to the election), but also by Democrats and left-wing activists who openly wonder whether Obama's election promises on terrorist detention, gay rights, and a host of other issues were "just words." The nutroots doesn't know who Barack Obama is anymore than I do, and anything which fills in the void in a negative way is viewed as a threat.
This void in Obama's story leaves the Democratic hold on power vulnerable. One disastrous photo-op, open mike, or tape recorder left running, could puncture the Democratic bubble.
Which is why the mainstream media and nutroots need to protect Obama's image. As others have noted, the late night comics have stayed away from the usual mocking given to all prior presidents, even though Obama has provided plenty of potential material through his teleprompter dependence.
Insecurity breeds anger, and nowhere is that insecurity more evident than on left-wing blogs. Some seek to impose a new commandment, "thou shall not mock Obama." And if that means "thou shall not mock Obama's mustard," then so it is written, so it is done.
But not here. Updates to follow.
UPDATE: Here is how the Huffington Post described the trip:
As you know, President Obama and Vice President Biden made a historic trip to an Arlington, VA hamburger joint, to celebrate the "stress tests" or something, bringing the entire press corps in tow.And I thought MSNBC was over-the-top with its "guy" thing spin. "Historic" trip to a burger joint? Is there anything about Obama which is not "historic"?
UPDATE No. 2: Some people have questioned why I allow the lunatic comments through, since this is a moderated blog and I could screen them out or remove them (as DailyKOS and some other left-wing blogs do, for example). I do so because the deranged rants of some of these commenters prove my point.
UPDATE No. 3: I wonder how much hate mail Jon Stewart got for mocking the lunch trip and MSNBC coverage. Probably none, because he's funnier than I am and generally loves Obama, so it was among family:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||M - Th 11p / 10c|
|Where's the Chief?|
Related Post: The Reaction To Dijongate
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