Dijongate

O.k., it’s official, the conservative movement in the United States ceased to exist in any relevant way on May 6, 2009. I say this because of what has now come to be known as Dijongate, the latest tirade dejour fomented out of nothing by the right wing media.

The facts of Dijongate cannot be disputed. This faux scandal began a day earlier, May 5, when President Obama and Vice President Biden paid a visit to Ray’s Hell Burger restaurant in Arlington, Virginia. The press corp, of course tagged along, and there was the President, on film, ordering a plain cheddar cheeseburger, medium well. Now what caused the flap was what came after the initial part of his order.He had the audacity to ask for “spicy mustard. Like dijon.”

The next day, the day that the conservative movement finally proved that they had nothing left in their arsenal with which to challenge this popular moderate president, Sean Hannity told his dwindling viewership, “[A]s you all know, President Obama is a real man of the people. And yesterday he dropped by a popular Virginia restaurant to grab a burger with his pal [Vice President] Joe [Biden]. Now, the Gateway Pundit blog pointed out that plain old ketchup, well, it didn’t quite cut it for the president. Now take a look at him ordering his burger with a very special condiment. … Dijon mustard? I think the president watched just a little bit too much television as a kid.” Hannity then played a portion of a Grey Poupon commercial and commented, “I hope you enjoyed that fancy burger, Mr. President.”

During the May 6 edition of her radio show, Laura Ingraham said of Obama: “I don’t even like the way the man orders a hamburger. … What kind of man orders a cheeseburger without ketchup but Dijon mustard?” She later added of Obama: “See, he was trying to do this whole thing with Biden — ‘We’re like the regular people, we’re like every other guy, you know, with our — on our lunch break, we’re going to go grab a burger, two guys, two bros.’ ”

Like Hannity, Ingraham played a clip from a Grey Poupon commercial in which an actor asked, “Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon?” Ingraham then remarked: “That would have been more appropriate.”

Then on the May 7 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show, guest host Mark Steyn said of Obama’s condiment selection: “He’s amazing, Obama. This coverage — he’s a regular guy. He eats a hamburger with Dijon mustard — Dijon mustard. John Kerry couldn’t get away with that stuff, but he makes it seem like just like a regular thing to do. Now there’s — I see that some of the left-wing commentators are saying, ‘Why are people making a fuss about the Dijon mustard?’ but that’s just an example of the way Obama is able to enlighten us.”

So I ask, is this what they’re reduced to? Asserting that Obama is a socialist Francophile because he prefers dijon mustard to ketchup on a cheddar cheeseburger? Well if so, as I began this posting, I assert that the conservative movement is hereby dead and these are its last words.

I guess we should count our lucky stars that the President didn’t order his burger with fois gras and truffle oil, which can be ordered from Ray’s menu board. We would have had wingnut skulls exploding all over the land of culinary fascism, otherwise known as conservative talk radio and television. There wouldn’t have much gray matter to clean up, but just the thought of seeing and hearing all of those skull caps fragmenting sends chills down my spine.

Obama wouldn’t even have had to order anything quite so exotic as the above, obviously, since simple dijon mustard did the trick. He could have had his Hell burger with gruyere instead of Vermont cheddar, or maybe Danish blue cheese, Italian Taleggio, mustard seed gouda, or even Epoisses. He could have added grilled red onions, mushrooms fried in burgandy sauce, roasted garlic, or crispy fried shallots. As you can see, what the president ordered is actually a rather pedestrian choice by Ray’s standards. But that fact doesn’t deter the wingnuts.

Maybe there is some hope for conservatism yet, in spite of my earlier declaration of its demise. In response to this flapdoodle from the moronic side of conservatism, former George W. Bush speech writer, and conservative pundit, David Frum posted the following observation:

“What kind of a man eats his hamburger without ketchup? That was the big question yesterday on talk radio, after President Obama visited an Arlington, Virginia, hamburger place on Tuesday and ordered his burger with spicy mustard. 
First answer: Texans.

Texans traditionally eat hamburgers with mustard or with mayonnaise (or with both), but without ketchup. This is simply called a “hamburger” in Texas, but is sometimes called a “Cowboy Burger” or a “Texas Burger” outside of Texas.

A hamburger with ketchup is sometimes called a “Yankee Burger.” A hamburger with mayonnaise is sometimes called a “Sissy Burger.”

Dirty Martin’s (in Austin since 1926) serves hamburgers with mustard, pickles, onions, and tomatoes, but it is not known when this combination began. The popular Texas “Whataburger” hamburger chain has served hamburgers with mustard from its founding (1950). The hamburger-with-mustard combination in Texas is attested at least from the 1950s, but the pre-1950s hamburger condiments cannot be firmly established.

Second answer: Republicans. A 2000 survey of members of Congress found that 73% of Republican lawmakers preferred mustard to ketchup, as opposed to 47% of Democratic lawmakers.

Final answer: traditionalists. Louis’ Lunch in New Haven, Connecticut, the restaurant widely believed to have served the first hamburgers ever made in the United States, absolutely forbids ketchup.”

So in closing, maybe I jumped to conclusions too fast. Maybe the conservative movement isn’t dead yet. Maybe it’s just been co-opted by the morons, lunatics, and wingnuts.

Either way, if I’m ever in the Washington D.C area, I’m going to Arlington and look up Ray’s Hell Burgers. I hate catsup, I love spicy mustards of all kinds, and I’m drooling over the thought of a burger with fried mushrooms, roasted garlic, and French Epoisses cheese. I hope they still have dijon with which to top it off.