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The Democrat Puff Piece Challenge

Do you know Liz Warren’s favorite beer? (It’s Michelob Ultra, not Leinenkugel’s, as some may have guessed.)

Bernie Sanders likes scrambled eggs at home, but it’s pork chops on the campaign trail. His step-daughter Carina Driscoll says, “He was paleo before paleo was a thing,” but by the looks of him, he just might be from the paleolithic era. Eating pork is a helpful way to downplay his Jewishness: he’s more like your nice, millionaire Vermont uncle with Russian nesting dolls for the kids to play with while the adults discuss means of production. Of course, you can buy his “Feel the Bern” hot sauce, that is, if you’re comfortable with Hillary-level black voter pandering.

Bernie Sanders makes a friend in South Carolina. Screenshot: YouTube

“Beto’s” favorite band is The Clash, he even quoted the single “Clampdown” from London Calling in a recent speech. One wonders if the late Joe Strummer would have found this flattering or worth a gob in the face. What the media has chosen to ignore about Robert The Fake Mexican: his background consists of elite boarding school (Woodberry Forest) and Ivy League college (Columbia University). Sure, he’s Gen X, the same as Ricky Schroder and his character on Silver Spoons would be now.

When it comes to newcomer Pete Buttigieg, the trivia is already encyclopedic. Favorite food/book/music is way too shallow–how about his favorite socks, whisky, wristwatch, multi-tool, and beef jerky? New York Magazine went all out for their guy with a The Things They Carried-style vanity piece. The picture his possessions paint is a man who is practical (learned it in the military), tasteful (somehow relates to his military service), and wise. Oh, and he served his country. We know he speaks eight languages, loves his husband, and will never contend without the black vote. Hmm…Mayor Pete’s Hot Sauce, anyone?

How is it that we come to learn so much about Democrat candidates running for president, and so little about Republicans? The answer lies within…

…The Puff Piece Challenge! Name the favorite song/musician, food item/cuisine, or book/author of any of the Republican presidents, vice presidents, or GOP also-rans from now back to 1980. One point for each correct answer. If you score more than 3, congratulations, you’re probably a Jeopardy! champion, a conservative biographer, or a first lady.

Yes, the Democrats like to humanize their candidates, and why not? Many if not most people vote on emotion, an imagined sense of connection. Why don’t conservatives share their personal predilections and penchants with the public? It would certainly resonate with his base if, say, Mike Pence did a shout-out for Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, ZZ Top, sushi, The Giving Tree, Hacky-Sack, or The Sopranos. They’re just details that flesh a person out. It’s almost irrelevant what someone likes, unless it’s fake or a flat-out lie.

Enter Kamala Harris. When asked, she was unable to name her three favorite songs–big old brain freeze–perhaps because she hadn’t formulated the perfect answer beforehand. Then again, she claimed to have smoked weed in college while head-nodding to Snoop Dogg and Tupac, although neither had released an album by the time she graduated. Must have been some good weed to make her hear songs from the future.

Bill DeBlasio–born Warren Wilhelm, Jr., but decided a German name wouldn’t poll well in NY politics–decided he liked The Clash too, presumably after he heard about Beto’s fawning press. Reporter Alisyn Camerota quizzed DeBlasio on Tuesday about his musical tastes, asking if he liked ska, the fusion of punk and reggae popular amongst skinheads in the US in the early nineties. “I love ska,” he replied. Favorite band? “The Clash.” Which songs? “So many, so many,” he said. “When I think about it, ‘London Calling,’ that whole album. Beautiful album. There’s many good hits on that one.”

Ex-Governor of Colorado John Hickenlooper probably wishes he’d kept his mouth shut on relatability questions. He shared a teenage memory with an audience on Wednesday: he and a buddy went to see the classic pornographic film Deep Throat…with his mom. He claims he didn’t know what a X-rated movie was, and once they wised up, she was mortified but didn’t leave, despite his pleas. Makes you question his judgment and his mother’s. It’s almost as if some of these candidates wished they weren’t running, and are exhibiting signs of psychological self-sabotage.

Perfect for Mother’s Day. 1972 “Deep Throat” movie poster.

Of course we should close the Elizabeth Warren loop. She has sallied forth despite a 1/1024 chance of getting elected, and attempted to remake her image in an Ocasio-Cortez-style home video, shot in her kitchen in January. She reached for the most tired of relatable tropes when she looked into the lens and said, “I’m gonna get me a beer.” It has been a long road for Warren already, thanks to a debacle of her own making. One wonders how long she sticks it out.

The last candidate, or the last worth mentioning anyway, is Joe Biden. Never mind for a moment that the front-running Dem is sinking deeper into scandal by the day, or that he is nearly as old as Bernie. Never mind that this is his third presidential campaign, or fourth if you count his incumbent VPOTUS work in 2012. Joe has been in the public eye so long, he can’t possibly become more relatable. There is no puff piece that will soften the edges of Anita Hill questioning, his paternal errors with his son Hunter, or in what appear to be weighty scandals in both the Ukraine and China. Joe has only two options now: maintain present course and hope for the best, or scuttle the ship. What he thought was an ace in the hole–saying “my buddy Barack” every ten sentences or so–isn’t cutting the mustard.

How did you do on the Challenge? Hard, isn’t it? The simple truth is that candidates need reporters to lob them friendly, softball questions. Magazines must craft and write up glowing interviews. It comes as no surprise to the readers of CD Media that these gentle takes on conservatives, let alone anyone associated with President Trump, are nonexistent. Liberal media bias shows itself in many ways, but perhaps none so blatantly as in the utter vacuum of personal interest stories about right-wing candidates.

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