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Stop SwiftBoating Latte


Okay. I’m officially fed up with the innocent latte getting beat up as being elitist.

From CBS News: A push-pull dynamic has redefined Hillary. As the mainstream media, the left-wing blogs and latte liberals have turned on her, she has held all the more tightly to her down-scale constituency and reacted against her critics. She has lashed out against MoveOn.org and husband Bill has dissed “upscale culture liberals.” She has defied the precious rules of liberal politics, referring to Osama bin Laden in a TV ad, threatening to “obliterate” Iran and - even worse - sitting down with Bill O’Reilly for a cordial interview. The same people who spent a decade defending her and her husband howl betrayal.

From Maureen Dowd at The New York Times: … Cherry-bombing the word “pansy” into the discourse, Governor Mike Easley of North Carolina said Hillary made “Rocky Balboa look like a pansy.” Paul Gipson, president of a steelworkers local in Portage, Indiana, hailed her “testicular fortitude,” before ripping into “Gucci-wearing, latte-drinking, self-centered, egotistical people that have damaged our lifestyle.”

From The Times: …..If there’s butter and white wine in your refrigerator and Fig Newtons in the cookie jar, you’re likely to vote for Hillary Clinton. Prefer olive oil, Bear Naked granola and a latte to go? You probably like Barack Obama, too.

From The New Republic: “Grande Un-Americano: Clinton smears latte liberals everywhere.”

From New York Magazine: “[Barack] Obama has won the small caucus states with the latte-sipping crowd,” an anonymous aide to Hillary Clinton told the Times of London over the weekend. “They don’t need a president, they need a feeling.”

It’s funny how nonsense gets into the cultural wordstream. I’m as ready as anyone to say that $4.00 for a cup of coffee is crazy. In fact, there must be a Recession on because I drove a half-mile out of my way this morning to avoid my usual coffee stop, and hit Starbucks instead for a $1.50 Pike Place.

So, as I sat there, I wondered who are these latte liberals? It’s so demeaning. I live in Ann Arbor, MI, a place Bill O’Reilly calls “hell,” along with Madison Wisc.

I sat for 20 minutes at Starbuck’s on Main Street. That’s right…MAIN STREET USA MR. BILL!!!!…In that time, eleven people ordered lattes. I stopped and asked each one what they did for a living, and explained I was out to prove or disprove the latte liberal myth. Here is the run-down: There were four college students (two social work students, one business school student and one medicaL school student). Two women who were together were stay-at-home Moms who had dropped their kids off at school. One college professor from the law school. One retired Ford executive. One construction contractor. Two men together—both said they were looking for work having taken buyout packages from their former company.

Call me the “L” word if you like, but this doesn’t sound like an elitist crowd to me. Heck, two of them were looking for work, and two of them were future social workers!

I have written before that I got hooked on Arabica-bean coffee years ago, and can’t go back to the swill that is Folgers and Maxwell House and the like. Brown Gold? There’s a joke in there somewhere.

But what I really would like to see is for pols this season to stop swift-boating latte.

As one pal of mine said: “Tagging Obama with being a latte liberal is not a class thing, it’s a racial thing. Because he’s the color of latte.”

That was enough to make me squirm, stuff some sugar packets in my backpack and drink some tap water instead of coffee at any price.


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