Commentary blog post on Obama: "He's still on fruit juice while the adults are sipping bitter and bracing coffee"

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Discussing the fact that Sen. Barack Obama reportedly asked for orange juice instead of coffee during an April 10 campaign stop at an Indiana diner, Abe Greenwald wrote in a post on the Commentary blog "contentions": "It's not that Obama seemed to hold himself above the coffee drinkers. It's that he seemed to lag behind them. He's still on the fruit juice while the adults are sipping bitter and bracing coffee."

Discussing the fact that Sen. Barack Obama reportedly asked for orange juice instead of coffee during an April 10 campaign stop at an Indiana diner, Commentary magazine's assistant online editor, Abe Greenwald, wrote in a May 1 post on the website's blog "contentions": "When word got out that Obama declined [the proprietor's offer of coffee] and asked for some orange juice, the media took this as another sign of the candidate's elitism or lack of common touch. But that read doesn't sit quite right." Rather, Greenwald attributed Obama's beverage choice to "childish[ness]" and asserted: "It's not that Obama seemed to hold himself above the coffee drinkers. It's that he seemed to lag behind them. He's still on the fruit juice while the adults are sipping bitter and bracing coffee."

Greenwald also attacked Sen. Hillary Clinton's beverage choice, claiming -- without further elaboration -- that "Hillary looked preposterous when she tried to prove her working class credentials through choice of beverage."

Media Matters for America documented that during the April 10 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, MSNBC correspondent David Shuster stated to host Chris Matthews: "Well, here's the other thing that we saw on the tape, Chris, is that, when Obama went in, he was offered coffee, and he said, 'I'll have orange juice.' " Matthews replied, "No," to which Shuster responded: "He did." Shuster continued: "And it's just one of those sort of weird things. You know, when the owner of the diner says, 'Here, have some coffee,' you say, 'Yes, thank you,' and, 'Oh, can I also please have some orange juice, in addition to this?' You don't just say, 'No, I'll take orange juice,' and then turn away and start shaking hands." Matthews added, "You don't ask for a substitute on the menu," and then said: "David, what a regular guy. You could do this. ... I mean, go to the diners."

From Greenwald's post, titled "The Real 'Age Issue' ":

I've finally figured out what's been bothering me about the popular interpretation of one of Barack Obama's recent slips. A few weeks ago, Obama was doing some handshake campaigning in a diner in Indiana when the establishment's proprietor offered him a cup of coffee. When word got out that Obama declined and asked for some orange juice, the media took this as another sign of the candidate's elitism or lack of common touch.

But that read doesn't sit quite right. After all, Hillary looked preposterous when she tried to prove her working class credentials through choice of beverage. Yet there was something off about Obama's response. Watching him sulk around this week, slightly traumatized by the betrayal of a father figure, I realized what the diner incident was: it was childish. The switch from juice to coffee is a rite of adulthood. It's not that Obama seemed to hold himself above the coffee drinkers. It's that he seemed to lag behind them. He's still on fruit juice while the adults are sipping bitter and bracing coffee.

[...]

In policy choices, he's ordering straight off the kid's menu. During the last debate, when Charlie Gibson asked Obama a very adult question about why he planned to raise the capital gains tax (as doing so would almost surely lower revenue), the candidate responded: "Well, Charlie, what I've said is I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness."

Fairness.

Anyone who's ever spent any time around children is all too familiar with the argument from fairness: This isn't fair; that's not fair; nothing is fair. In the adult world, it's not that fairness isn't an admirable goal, but rather that when fairness is imposed by the government you end up with something much nastier than unfairness: a parental state. (Something, incidentally, which a grown child would presumably want.)

Person
Abe Greenwald
Show/Publication
Commentary Magazine
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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