Thursday, August 02, 2018


It's the Times bothsidesing again:
Just when it seemed like Tuesday’s “Make America Great Again” rally in Florida would end with the typical punch list — Democrats, journalists, immigrants — President Trump added new spice to his usual extemporaneous potpourri by asserting that supermarket shoppers need to show valid identification in the checkout aisle.

“You know,” Mr. Trump knowingly told the approving crowd, “if you go out and you want to buy groceries, you need a picture on a card. You need ID.”
So the reaction to Trump's regular demonization of enemies in campaign rallies is essentially "Oh, that's just Uncle Don being Uncle Don again" -- we're just so bored, aren't we? Then he tosses in a new line of attack and Times reporter Katie Rogers perks up a bit. Does she at least acknowledge that Trump is wrong about the need for ID at grocery stores?

Yes -- but here comes the bothsiding:
... with this particular offhand and baldly inaccurate comment, the president landed himself in the company of other presidents and presidential hopefuls who have fumbled while trying to showcase their everyman appeal....

President George Bush was teased for not knowing how to work a grocery store scanner — in his defense he was actually marveling over the newfangled technology — during his failed campaign for re-election in 1992. President Barack Obama was once heckled by Sean Hannity, Mr. Trump’s favorite human megaphone, for ordering Dijon mustard (too fancy!) on a cheeseburger.
The attack on Obama wasn't limited to Hannity, of course. Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, and Mark Steyn also weighed in. The right-wing blog Legal Insurrection spoke of "Dijongate" in a post that was updated nine times and in multiple follow-up posts.

But, of course, Obama didn't get anything wrong about consumer purchasing. Bush was baffled by increasingly common supermarket technology. Trump said something completely incorrect. Obama merely ordered a burger in a way that allowed conservatives acting in bad faith to claim he was being elitist. (In fact, mustard is the fifth most popular burger topping, according to the Weber Grill Watch Survey, well behind ketchup but ahead of pickles, bacon, and barbecue sauce.)

Also note this: Bush and Obama were engaging in benign political behavior -- here's the president doing something ordinary and human. Trump was talking about ID at grocery stores in order to defend the GOP's years-long campaign to suppress the Democratic vote using voter ID legislation. That's not funny.

Rogers conducted a few interviews to flesh out this story, one of them with a Trump crony who owns a supermarket chain. Surely he gets the facts correct, right? No, he doesn't:
John A. Catsimatidis, the owner of Gristedes Foods, a chain of small grocery stores in Manhattan and Brooklyn, said in an interview that he has known the president for 40 years, but cannot recall a time when Mr. Trump entered one of his stores.

“I wouldn’t know,” Mr. Catsimatidis said. “I don’t have any pictures with him in Gristedes.”

... Presumably an expert in all things regarding the checkout lane, Mr. Catsimatidis, the owner of Gristedes, did not see why critics were seizing on the president’s assertion that an ID was needed to buy groceries.

“You need a photo ID to buy groceries if you’re using a credit card or if you want to use a check,” Mr. Catsimatidis said. “Doesn’t that sound logical?”
You don't need a photo ID when you're using a credit card to buy groceries. I do it all the time and I've never been asked for ID. Catsimatidis owns more than thirty supermarkets in and around New York City. How does he not know this? He has a personal net worth of $3.4 billion -- are all billionaires this oblivious to the real world?

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