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Obama: “J’suis snob.”? [Updated]

October 31, 2008

There are a lot of people who say that Obama is a snob. There’s even a nice poster out there that claims that he is one. There are no scientific criteria that could help determine whether this claim is true. But one might not have to be so ambitious: Le Figaro Madame has a list of ten points that distinguish the snob from the non-snob. Let’s see whether Obama fulfills those criteria. (And just for the record: the French Cowboy is not, normally, a reader of Le Figaro Madame. He stumbled on this article by chance. It was linked to from Le Figaro‘s politics webpage. Honestly.)

1. LE SNOB EST SOLIDAIRE – The Snob shows solidarity

Obama’s tax-philosophy of “spreading the wealth around” for reasons of “fairness” and “neighbourliness” probably already display a penchant for solidarity. But the ultimate reason to check this box in favour of Obama’s snobbishness is that Le Figaro tells us how the snob’s solidarity shows nowadays: “Son combat actuel ? Réhabiliter les jardins communautaires de son quartier.” – He is working to improve the public parks in his neighbourhood. And guess what M. Obama has been doing – or tried doing – as a state senator:

Obama vowed to “work tirelessly” to raise $1.1 million to help … turn the City of Chicago-owned lot into an oasis of trees and paths.

(Unfortunately the project had to be aborted – to put it this way – and the money already raised for it has been spent on something yet not found.)

2. LE SNOB EST RADIN – The snob is a miser

Le Figaro explains: In order to get a better deal the snob unites with others to increase his bargaining strength for a purchase.

The French Cowboy isn’t sure whether Obama’s sweetheart mortgage deal under the “Friends of Angelo” programme falls into this category of “miser” behaviour. But Le Figaro helps us out by pointing to the snob’s morale behind it: “ L’union fait la force. On est dans l’esprit de partage, de communauté.” – Unity makes the power. It’s in the spirit of sharing and of community. – Now if that isn’t something that Obama would subscribe to, I don’t know what would be…

3. LE SNOB NE BRUNCHE PLUS, IL SLUNCHE – The snob doesn’t brunch, he slunches

Slunch is a giant meal taken at 1700hrs on a Saturday or Sunday. Alas, the French Cowboy doesn’t know enough about M. Obama’s eating habits to know whether he slunches. The rumor about his wife ordering lobster at the Waldorf-Astoria a few days ago turned out to be false. (And that would have been at four in the afternoon, not five.) So here we have a missing value.

4. LE SNOB FAIT LES POUBELLES – The snob is a scavenger

According to Le Figaro, today’s snob searches his neighbours’ garbage for “little treasures” like mirrors or chairs.

The French Cowboy is pretty sure that this isn’t true about M. Obama. At least not literally. What he does seem to do, though, is search out questionable relationships in his neighbourhood.

As an aside, let it be mentioned that it would be interesting if some journalists went through the garbage cans in M. Obama’s neighbourhood. It would be interesting for both what would be found and what would not be found in them. Medical records? College theses? US flags? Who knows?

5. LE SNOB EST MONASTICO-BIO – The snob likes monastic wholefood

Le Figaro says that it goes by itself that the snob lives in an eco-friendly manner. But beyond that he doesn’t only buy organic food but also products from monasteries.

M. Obama is a consumer of organic arugula, as we all know now. He also likes Grey Poupon on his tuna sandwiches. Whether those are available at monastery shops, I don’t know. But even if they are not produced by monks, they are almost just as exotic to some Americans as if they were.

However, M. Obama’s favourite tea is Black Forest Berry from Honest Tea. From Wikipedia we learn that the Honest Tea company

… has made improvements in their employee’s lives and the environment. Honest Tea has provided each employee with a bike and the company has relocated to an environmentally safe headquarters.

This sounds almost religiously eco-friendly. The Honest Tea company might count as a monastery of “the church of green” (a term Jonah Goldberg once used) and with Obama being a consumer of their Black Forest Berry tea this comes close to being “monastico-bio“.

6. LE SNOB NE JURE QUE PAR LE MIEL BÉTON -The snob buys “concrete honey” only

Meaning that he eats only honey made by urban bees because they’re more productive than country bees.

Since we don’t know what sort of honey Obama likes – nor whether he’s even aware of the difference between urban and rural bees – let’s see this in a metaphorical way: the snob likes urban areas. Like Chicago. The suburbs don’t interest him. Obama once said: “I’m not interested in the suburbs. The suburbs bore me.”

The snob’s views of rural areas are pretty negative. Obama’s wife reportedly said: “I can see why if I was living out here, I’d want a gun.”, when traveling through Iowa. And according to Monsieur Obama, people who live in rural areas are bitter. No one likes bitter honey.

In that sense, it’s pretty fair to say that Obama is a concrete-honey type.

7. LE SNOB SE LA JOUE OUVRIER – The snob adopts the values of the blue-collar guy

With Obama touting his “raised by single Kansas mom” roots and choosing Monsieur Joe-from-Scranton-Ohio-son-of-a-mill-worker-who-rides-the-Amtrak-every-day Biden as his running mate, this case is pretty straightforward.

8. LE SNOB MIGRE – The snob migrates

That is, he goes to different places for meals or drinks.

At least since he’s campaigning for the presidency you can say as much about M. Obama. But this might be only due to the special circumstances of running for president, of course.

More interestingly, you might argue that M. Obama migrates from job to job. Should he get elected president it might become his longest held position. (Especially if he will be president for “eight to ten years” as he once seemed to expect in an interview on Face the Nation.)

9. LE SNOB EST CLEAN – The snob is “clean”

Just ask Joe Biden: Obama isn’t only “clean”, he’s also “bright” and “articulate”.

But more to the point: Le Figaro explains that the snob doesn’t take drugs. We know that M. Obama gave up on them a long time ago. What the snob does do, though, is smoke cigarettes. Check.

10. LE SNOB CIBLE SES SOIRÉES – The snob is picky when choosing his evenings out

Le Figaro explains that the snob doesn’t go out much anymore. But when he does, he chooses his destinations carefully.

Is Obama picky in his choice of events? The answer here should be positive. Obama’s decision not to attend any of the ten town hall meetings McCain has offered to do with him is a point in case. On the other hand Obama attends such events as the farewell banquet of Khalidi and he accepted the invitation to Ayers and Dohrn’s party (not surprising if it actually was his own political coming-out party).

On his presidential campaign trip around the world, Obama met with all kinds of world leaders. Yet he cancelled his visit to the Landstuhl military hospital and reportedly went to the gym instead. This is truly a man who chooses his pastime with care.

Summing up, the French Cowboy counts seven out of these ten points positive, with the other three unclear. This result doesn’t allow us to reject the hypothesis that Senator Obama is a snob. At least not by the standard of Le Figaro Madame.

Update: So it exists. Kathryn Jean Lopez leads the way to Monastery Mustard.

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