There’s a great article on Fox Online News this morning that reflects on the importance of knowing your consituency. Governor Romney was in Pensicola, FL, and ate lunch at KFC. He ordered the fried chicken, but gingerly pulled off the skin. It wouldn’t be news except it shows he doesn’t know the people he’s trying to represent. It was such an obvious error in southern dining that the reporters picked up on it immediately.
They asked Mike Huckabee about it, and he gave them the answer they already knew, that “any Southerner knows that if you’re not gonna eat the skin, don’t bother with calling it fried chicken.”
Then Governor Huckabee went on to remind everyone that President Gerald Ford, running for re-election, went to Texas and tried to eat a tamale with its corn husk still on it. Huckabee reminded us of common wisdom, that such a blatant show of local ineptitude, of being out of touch with real America, is what lost him the election to Jimmy Carter.
For his part, Huckabee was in Miami, Fl this weekend, explaining how the Fair Tax would help Cuban-Americans. The Dayton Beach News-Journal online opened the story with Mike Huckabee drinking “his first-ever swallow of bitter Cuban coffee, smiled big and asked for another.” The audience laughed, and from that moment forward, the former Governor of Arkansas was “officially one of them.”
Whether he liked it or not, Huckabee knew that – to be polite – he’d have to eat local and drink local, a tradition that will be needed for a world leader. In world politics, the real business comes after the meal, because how you eat shows whether you trust the lcoals. When they give you their very best and you don’t respect their food, it’s taken as an insult on them personally. Huckabee knows that. Romney apparently doesn’t.