The 2012 Presidential election campaign is shaping up to be heavy on pork, even leaving aside any barrels. It all started early this year when the Democrats announced that Charlotte would host their nominating convention. Michelle Obama immediately put her foot in her mouth by making the naive statement that Charlotte is a great BBQ town. Hardly.
Next the News & Observer scooped BBQJew.com by breaking the news that in his younger days Rick Perry has compared NC BBQ unfavorably to road kill, bringing into question both his political acumen and whatever part of his past gave him a taste for roadkill.
Pundits say North Carolina will be a battleground state in 2012, ending in a close vote, though I suspect NC will turn out bright red like the ketchup in Lexington-style dip. Regardless, President Obama has been spending a lot of time in the Tar Heel state. Most recently, he passed on an opportunity to visit his favorite Asheville barbecue joint (and if you think Charlotte has no good NC BBQ, lord knows Asheville is a joke). Instead, Obama avoided any tree hugging, patchouli smelling Asheville barbecue in favor of Countryside Barbeque in Marion. The POTUS still hasn’t learned where to get real NC barbecue–namely Salisbury and points east–but at least he’s headed in the right direction.
As noted barbecue aficianado John Shelton Reed is fond of joking, barbecue may well be the “third rail” issue this election cycle. Based on what we’ve seen so far, this may be no joke.