This week, Tammy Bruce riffed on a line that President Obama has been using to characterize Congressional Republicans as sitting back, “sipping a Slurpee,” while Democrats did the hard work to advance the change we could believe in.
CBS News’s Mark Knoller reported on the recurring imagery earlier this month:
Though he doesn’t mention any Slurpee-sipping Republicans by name, his rhetoric suggests an image of Senate and House Minority Leaders Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, dressed casually (perhaps in shorts and sneakers) with a couple of Big Gulp cups in their hands, sipping on 7-Eleven’s sweet and glacial libation… Mr. Obama clearly thinks Republicans are elitist, but the line wouldn’t be as funny if he said they were sipping Chardonnay or a Mint Julep.
For all his faults as a politician, Obama and his team are no slouches when crafting imagery. So as dead-on as Knoller is about the evolution of the talking point, that explanation of it as an accusation of elitism is a little too simplistic. The line wouldn’t just be less funny if Obama subbed in Chardonnay, it would be less effective at delivering the message he wants to get across. There’s actually a much more impressive slur at work here.
Think about 7-Eleven, and think beyond the racial stereotypes that a certain Vice President may harbor. Besides the Slurpees in question, 7-Eleven delicacies include assorted snacks of dubious nutritional value, week-old taquitos, and something that looks like the result of a drunken one-night-stand between a hot dog and a hamburger. (“Hot dog? Yeah, it’s Hamburger. We need to talk…) It isn’t exactly a bastion of elitism.
And the driving-the-car-into-the-ditch metaphor so often used to illustrate the Republican stewardship of the economy doesn’t paint the Republicans as elitist. In fact, it paints them as incompetent – a much better message for President so easily painted as aloof who is talking to a base who gave him their votes in part as a protest of the perceived simplicity of his predecessor.
That insult layered into the President’s pop culture reference like so much cheese on a plastic tray full of stale nachos? He isn’t calling Republicans elitist.
He’s calling them white trash.