Every time some candidate airs a negative ad, you can reliably turn on cable news and hear some "strategist" or other say, "This is going to be the most negative campaign in history!" But I'm still waiting for someone to say, "This is going to be the dumbest and most trivial campaign in history!" The 2012 campaign will not be the most negative in history, trust me. But it might be the dumbest. So what do we bloggers do when confronted with the latest bit of campaign idiocy? You can ignore it, of course. You can say, "This is actually quite revealing...", in which case you're full of it. Or you can say, "This is inane." I'm opting for number three.
If you haven't heard about Mitt Romney's cookie gaffe, then behold:
Egad! This obviously demonstrates ... absolutely nothing about what kind of man Mitt Romney is. He just meant that the cookies looked store-bought and not homemade. He may have been trying to rib his own people, saying to the folks around the table, I realize this whole set-up is kind of artificial, down to the cookies somebody put on the table, but let's just do the best we can here.
Would a cleverer politician have considered the possibility that the cookies came from a local bakery and treaded more lightly? Maybe. But so what?
The food-related campaign incident this brings to mind is from 2004, when John Kerry, campaigning in Philadelphia, was taken to legendary cheesesteak emporium Pat's (I think it was Pat's; it might have been Geno's). And there, he looked at the menu and ordered what looked good to him, a cheesesteak with Swiss cheese. Reporters were appalled, since they had been told that to show you're down with the common folk, you're supposed to ask for a cheesesteak "whiz with," meaning with Cheez Whiz and onions.* And since Kerry didn't know this, he obviously didn't care about ordinary people. The idea that since he might not be aware of the blue-collarest way to order at Pat's because he wasn't from Philly was just too absurd to consider. And after all, everybody knows that Swiss cheese is the kind of high-falutin, snooty, expensive cheese you can only get in an artisanal cheese shop. I mean, it has to come all the way from Switzerland, for pete's sake. As Rick Santorum would say, what a snob! Reporters dutifully filed stories about the terrible gaffe.
All of which is to say, this campaign has a ways to go before it can claim the mantle of the dumbest and most trivial ever. But it's on its way.
*As someone who spent a decade in Philadelphia and ate more than a few, I can attest that provolone is the best cheese for a cheesesteak. Unless you're a drunk frat boy, in which case by all means go with the Whiz.