The Democrats have upped the ante when it comes to barbecue-pandering in the 2012 presidential election. The organizers of the upcoming Democratic National Convention are making local, regional and national headlines for their recently announced sauce contest.
Charlotte in 2012, the convention’s organizing body, released a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking the best barbecue sauces among the styles most common in the Carolinas. As the RFP states, the organizers are “looking to work with a Barbeque sauce vendor as part of the merchandising effort for the Convention.” I will refrain from picking on the committee for the erroneously capitalized spelling of “Barbeque”, as this would be a cheap shot.
The RFP seeks entries among “three different types of BBQ sauces, mustard, vinegar, and tomato that represent the different styles from around the Carolinas.” I will pick on the organizers for this statement, which has the following flaws:
- Every North Carolinian worth his vinegar knows that there is no such thing as tomato-based sauce here, but rather dips that are spiked with a touch of tomato/ketchup;
- mustard-based sauces are a South Carolina thing and we frown upon them here in the real, civilized Carolina;
- South Carolina will vote for the GOP nominee come hell, highwater, or Strom Thurmond’s reincarnation as a friendly Palmetto tree, so why waste time tasting that state’s Grey Pou-ponsense?
- Reasonable people of all political stripes should have a healthy dose of skepticism about a taste test conducted by political hacks. My guess is the winner will be whichever sauce receives the support of White House Brand Vinegar’s Super PAC.
Finally, though the sauce contest seems innocent enough on the surface, the Democrats are treading on dangerous territory. Their attempt at an ecumenical selection of winners across three different styles risks alienating us North Carolinians, as we are die hard Baptists when it comes to sticking with what we like. We each have our sauce religion figured out and don’t need the sauce teachings we believe in questioned by out of town operatives, whether they be Mormon, Catholic or just plain not from ’round here. Of course, in fairness, political common sense dictates that picking three sauces will anger fewer voters than picking just one. Perhaps.