Conservative Morons Are Apparently Mad Obama Ate a Fancy Dinner

In Depth

Stop the presses! President Obama and Michelle Obama ate at a fancy restaurant on vacation! Why is this news? It isn’t, unless you’re a conservative media outlet or website columnist grasping at more straws than a herd of cats in a plastics factory.

Here’s the non-story: at the end of his annual Hawaiian vacation, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at at a really fancy restaurant called Vintage Cave where the average cost for two comes to $1000. Sure, that’s a super fancy restaurant, but eating at fancy restaurants is what people do on vacation, and it seems pretty reasonable to me that the LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD would be entitled to splurge at a place so fancy they’d probably hit me with a kitchen hose and start performing an exorcism the minute I walked through the door.

The fact that Fox News covered this is so obvious I don’t even really need to state it. This is exactly the sort of non-story on which they love to expend their harrumphs. If Fox News captioned the above image, it would read something like, “President Obama seen eating shaved ice; why does he hate diabetic Americans?”* They devote an entire paragraph to the pretentiousness of Vintage Cave’s self-descriptions on its website, because sure, no fancy restaurant has ever committed that cardinal sin before. Of special note is how Fox goes out of its way to point out that Vintage Cave offers memberships for both $50,000/year and $500,000/year — despite the fact that the President does not own one of these memberships, so this information is completely and utterly irrelevant. Never mind that, though — gotta find any reason possible to try to make the black guy look bad, regardless of any of those pesky “facts.”

But the reaction from Fox is, while certainly expected and obnoxious, surprisingly restrained compared to Mediaiiaiaiaiaiaiaii1ite’s Joe Concha. Concha isn’t content to just poo-poo the ritziness of Vintage Cave; oh no, he has to catalog a long list of supposed white collar offenses by the President that real ‘muricans don’t appreciate. He covers a couple of the classics — Obama playing golf 15 minutes after making a statement regarding the beheading of James Foley (the President’s golf habits are something we’re supposed to care about, I guess?), and he talks about that one speech in Berlin at Victory Column that you had completely forgotten about until I mentioned it just now (who am I kidding, you probably still don’t remember it).

Most perplexingly, Concha mentions the Greek columns present on Obama’s victory stage on election night 2008, which I genuinely did not realize anyone had a problem with. Conservatives probably did complain about it at the time, but every time they mention Obama I hear Charlie Brown’s parents. Besides, the guy had just been elected the first non-white President in American History, if he’d come out like a WWF star with fireworks and heavy metal music, it wouldn’t have been over the top.**

Concha saves his best and most offensive harrumphs for this little gem of a paragraph, though:

To provide context around what a grand gets those in the African-American community these days, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the average black man earns $679.00 per week in the U.S., while black women earn $608.00 weekly (BLS reports white men and white women earn an average of $896.00 and $733.00, respectively). But remember, only Republican candidates looking to protect their wealthy friends with tax breaks are rich and self-absorbed…

Does the fact that Obama is black mean he’s not allowed to eat anything more expensive than Kraft mac and cheese because to do otherwise would somehow be letting the side down? What the fuck kind of logic is this? Had he been elected (pause for 10 straight minutes of laughter), would Mittens Romney have been allowed to eat at Applebee’s occasionally since white people have a higher median income than POC?

While I have no idea whether Concha is actually cognizant of this (I lean towards no, considering his critical thinking abilities appear to only carry him as far as “EXECUTIVE ORDERS BAD”), Concha’s entire column rests on the premise that only white people are allowed to eat at fancy places. Bringing up the average median income of African-American men and women is a pretty big tip-off we’re hearing a dog whistle. Otherwise, what the hell is the point of even mentioning it?

Let’s just be honest: absolutely no one would care if a white President, even a Democratic one, ate at a fancy restaurant. Bill Clinton didn’t eat at McDonald’s and rib places so often because he was particularly conscious of the optics of fine dining — he ate at them because Bill Clinton loves shitty food possibly more than you or I will ever love anything. And that’s OK! I didn’t mind having a President who seemed like he broke into joy-sobs every time McRib season rolled around, just like I see no reason to be upset that our current President has more refined tastes. There’s nothing wrong with President Obama enjoying fancy sushi from Jiro Ono or the fare at Vintage Cave, because there’s absolutely no reason for any of us to care about the President’s eating habits.

TL;DR — If you give a crap where the President and the First Lady eat on vacation, I feel genuinely sorry for you as a human being, and also you should really shut the fuck up.

* I am aware this image is from 2010; there are images of him eating shaved ice every single year (though I can’t use the later ones at the moment). Dude really, really loves some shaved ice.

** How much would you pay to see a President actually do this? Be honest.

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