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Understanding the Philly Cheesesteak/Kerry Incident

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LynneSin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:26 PM
Original message
Understanding the Philly Cheesesteak/Kerry Incident
Edited on Thu Aug-14-03 01:28 PM by LynneSin
To thousands of you here not from the Philly region, this seems like a trite incident. But the Philly Cheesesteak at either Pats or Genos has a long intertwined connection with Politicos as they pass through Philadelphia and try to find a way to connect with the blue collar workers of this city.

This is NOT a reason to not support Kerry, but hopefully this will be a big learning experience for the Kerry Campaign when they take on quirky traditions throughout this country (I'm sure other parts of the region have their own "Philly Cheesesteak" scenarios). And for that matter all the politicians out there. It would have taken a staffer 5 minutes to understand the significance of the whole Philly Cheesesteak incident and have save Kerry all this current aggravation.

Philadelphia Daily News has a great article about the Kerry situation and the whole meaning behind the Philly Cheesesteak. And mind you, yes you can buy a Cheesesteak at any greasy food joint throughout the country and many of them offer Swiss Cheese. But in Philly, the politicos go to Pats or Genos. Their pictures hang there on the wall with the politicos taking big bites out of their cheesesteaks. For years, Genos had a picture of Clinton right where you order your Cheesesteak. You can't get better publicity in South Philly that having your picture hanging at one of these 2 legendary Cheesesteak joints.

BTW, it's obvious that Ed Rendell, former mayor of Philly and now PA Governor, would make a big deal out of the Geno/Pat scene. But Ed used that philosophy throughout the rest of the state. I had friends in Harrisburg who were amazed that Ed Rendell showed up at "The Spot", a greasy diner most noted for the place to go after a night of drinking in Harrisburg and hangout for blue collar workings in the capital. Rendell would make stops into The Spot a few times to hang out with the locals and in return, The Spot made a sandwiched named after him. (and they did this BEFORE the november elections and they were also invited to the Ingaural Ball to serve their sandwich there)

This isn't about a Cheesesteak, it's about the ability of a candidate to interact with everyday people. You're better off skipping Pats/Genos altogether (but don't order one from somewhere else in Philly) than to go in there without a clue with what to do.




http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/news/local/6528601.htm

Cheesesteak bites Kerry
PREZ HOPEFUL ASKS FOR SWISS CHEESE!
BY DON RUSSELL


Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, a Democratic presidential candidate, takes on a cheesesteak hoagie during a visit Monday to Pat's Steaks in South Philly.


THE presidential election is still 15 months away, the nation's attention is on Ben and Jen, and the biggest name in politics is Schwarzenegger.

But we may have just witnessed the unraveling of the Democratic front-runner's campaign for the White House right here in South Philadelphia, at 9th and Wharton.

Let it be recorded: At lunchtime on Aug. 11, 2003, under the familiar awning of Pat's King of Steaks, Sen. John Kerry attempted to eat a cheesesteak.

For presidential candidates, eating a cheesesteak in South Philly is a political rite of passage. Clinton did it, and so did Gore. John McCain gobbled one, with hot peppers.

But this is more than just shaking hands and kissing babies. For a pol, eating a cheesesteak is like running the gauntlet - past the surly counterman, through the variety of toppings, finishing it off without looking lame.


>>>>>>more<<<<<<

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Feanorcurufinwe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:28 PM
Response to Original message
1. It's true - Kerry is not from Philadelphia!
It's true - Kerry is not from Philadelphia! lol
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LynneSin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:29 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Neither were Clinton, Gore and McCain
all who knew how to order a sandwich and eat it with Gusto.
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Feanorcurufinwe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Stop the presses! Kerry likes swiss cheese better than Cheese Wiz
Edited on Thu Aug-14-03 01:36 PM by Feanorcurufinwe
If the most damning charge someone can make against Kerry is that he likes swiss cheese better than Cheese Wiz, I think we are in good shape. lol

And I note that neither McCain nor Gore are President right now. So perhaps this is not the biggest deal in the world.

Are Penn voters really going to choose their President based on how he orders a sandwich? I give them more credit than that.
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LynneSin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:32 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Gore won Pennsylvania
Primary season was pretty much overwith for McCain when PA's came to town
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LynneSin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. From the Article in the Philly Paper
But in Philadelphia, ordering Swiss on a cheesesteak is like rooting for Dallas at an Eagles game. It isn't just politically incorrect; it could get you a poke in the nose

As I said earlier, 5 minutes research before he got there and he would have known that he could have picked American or Provolone. Personally, I hate Cheese Whiz too and I always get "American Without" (American Cheesesteak without friend onions).

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rogerashton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 02:15 PM
Response to Reply #3
31. Gusto -- that would be Phil Gusto, right?
Edited on Thu Aug-14-03 02:17 PM by rogerashton
I thought he had retired.

And Friend Onions -- wow -- I didn't know Teddy "Onions" O'Reilly was a member of the Quakers.

Sorry - if there is one thing I can't resist, it is a straight line.

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vi5 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:29 PM
Response to Original message
2. It doesn't help that Philly in general has a Napolean complex...
And for the record I say this as someone who counts Philly as his favorite city, hands down. Even though I only live half an hour from New York.

But by and large the people in that city are brimming with such defensiveness and chip on their shoulder attitude that only there could a cheesesteak faux pas make national news.
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LynneSin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:32 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. Who would disagree with that statement
But as I wrote, when a candidate travels across the country he/she will find other "Philly Cheesesteak incidents". These are nothing more than 'Rites of Passages' to see if the candidate passes muster and fits in with the local folks.

It would have been better for Kerry to have skipped the whole thing than to go there and have no clue how to order or eat the sandwich. I'm sure there were other Dem candidates who skipped it when they were in Philly and none of them are making negative press in Philly like Kerry is.
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molly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:34 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. I don't call it "negative" press - I call it "stupid"
it's probably the most bigoted-biased-underhanded "incident" I've ever heard of. I know South Philly macho Italian men that don't like cheesewiz on their cheese steaks.
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LynneSin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:45 PM
Response to Reply #9
15. And I'm sure none of those South Philly guys are running for president
Edited on Thu Aug-14-03 01:46 PM by LynneSin
It's the stupidiest sounding thing you can imagine, but it's a Philly tradition with their cheesesteaks and visiting politicians.

This picture graced the spot right above where you order your cheesesteaks at Geno's for years. You can't get better publicity than that in South Philly.



Even McCain got his endorsement from Pats

http://www.patskingofsteaks.com/senator.htm

But it's more than the Cheesesteaks, it's how comfortable the candidate is when doing stuff like "The Cheesesteak". Kerry and all the other candidates are going to encounter all sorts of regional quirks like "The Philly Cheesesteaks" and all the candidates usually has someone on their staff that helps keep the candidates briefed about the different places and their traditions that they should be familiar with.

It's more than the Cheesesteaks, its the fact that his campaign staffers didn't take the 5 minutes to figure out the whole tradition and brief Kerry on it. I'm sure if Kerry knew this he would have ordered the sandwich with an acceptable cheese and ate it with gusto (or if he was uncomfortable doing that he would have just not have gone there in the first place).
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molly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. I think that it is a non-issue that has been blown way beyond
proportion. They are Dems - did they endorse McCain BECAUSE he ate a cheese steak the way THEY thought he should?
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flpoljunkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:56 PM
Response to Reply #17
22. Indeed, and how much whiz is in Cheese Whiz, anyway?
As Bill Press so astutely inquired. It is, as Molly so aptly puts it, a non-issue.

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rogerashton Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 02:20 PM
Response to Reply #22
34. More whiz than cheese,
actually.
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Feanorcurufinwe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:52 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. Image or Substance?
Image or Substance? That's what it comes down to. Are we more interested in who provides the better soundbites and photo-ops, or who would be the best President?

Do we want to move the debate in this election in the direction of image, or substance? On the Republican side, we've got an 'all-image' candidate. Heck, the majority of his most ardent supporters are totally unaware of what he is actually doing to this country - but they are completely fooled by his image.
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meegbear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:30 PM
Response to Original message
4. Huh?
... it's about the ability of a candidate to interact with everyday people.

A person can't order somnething the way he or she wants it? Should we start hanging around Burger King telling people changes in the wat a Whopper is made means you're out of touch?
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LynneSin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:33 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. It may sound bizarre
But it's kinda like Philly's own version of "The Soup Nazi". It's best to know how to order than to bear the gruffiness of the guy behind the counter.
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meegbear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:37 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. Well it don't mean much here ...
now if he asked for Manhattan Clam Chowder here in Boston ....
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acerbic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:38 PM
Response to Original message
12. Absurd and silly...
Edited on Thu Aug-14-03 01:39 PM by acerbic
If Kerry consciously disregarded such a thoroughly meaningless but obsessively compulsory "tradition" as eating a certain sandwich in a certain restaurant (please really think about how stupid that is), it would actually greatly increase my respect for him and my contempt for those asserting that this "incident" alone is enough to show that he's "not in touch with people". Cheez...
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molly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:41 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. South Philly men live about a half a century behind
the rest of the world. Women are subservient and you's better not disagree with them!!!
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cjbuchanan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #13
24. I don't think the best thing to do here is insult other people
Look, Kerry made a dumb mistake, no need to attack everyone that lives in a certain neighborhood. This is not the way to win a campaign.

Maybe Kerry will learn from this and maybe he can use it to his advantage (look for a Swiss cheese joke at his next PA appearance), but no matter what happens, you have no right to attack everyone from South Philly. I know many people from the area and they are not "half a century behind" nor do they beat their wife as you suggest.
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molly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. I lived in South Philly for almost 2 years
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cjbuchanan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 03:35 PM
Response to Reply #25
39. okay and
i know many people from South Philly. Generalizations and isults will get you nowhere.
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FubarFly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 02:09 PM
Response to Reply #13
29. That's a gross generalization and you know it. n/t
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CWebster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 02:18 PM
Response to Reply #13
33. Ahhhh, careful there
that is bordering on some real nasty stereotyping of Italians.

Capishe?
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GreenArrow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:43 PM
Response to Original message
14. I shall be free
"Now, the man on the stand he wants my vote,
He's a-runnin' for office on the ballot note.
He's out there preachin' in front of the steeple,
Tellin' me he loves all kinds-a people.
(He's eatin' bagels
He's eatin' pizza
He's eatin' chitlins
He's eatin' bullshit!)"

Bob Dylan

Ya gotta eat what's set in front of ya.
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Rainbowreflect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:51 PM
Response to Original message
16. So what is Kucinich to do?
I understand he's a vegan. One more reason to love him.
Can you see the headlines if he ordered a veggie sandwich w/no cheese?
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molly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #16
19. He should go to the Oregon Diner on Oregon Ave
Edited on Thu Aug-14-03 01:53 PM by molly
they have great salads.

on edit - it's South Philly
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LynneSin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #16
21. Don't go
seriously

It would be better to not go do the Philly Cheesesteak thing than to go there and screw up the process.

Kerry wasn't the only democrat in Philadelphia on Monday and yet we have heard nary a word about whether those other democrats made the pilgrimage to South Philly for their ritualistic Cheesesteak.
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Feanorcurufinwe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 02:16 PM
Response to Reply #16
32. ha ha
ha ha - now people will say this proves DK is unelectible lol
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Rainbowreflect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 02:28 PM
Response to Reply #32
36. So true,
can't have anyone with compassion running things can we.
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roughsatori Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 02:26 PM
Response to Reply #16
35. Hey I've done that at Pat's and they laughed fondly
I used to go there with friends after staying out late, they would all get the Cheesesteak and I got my veggies on bread. The guys laughed behind the counter the first time I asked for it and said "You mean a hoagie without cheese or meat." From then on that's what I ordered.

Some of the greatest people I've ever met live in South Philly. And I actually was engaged once to a women in who lives in North Philly. And I used to live in West Philly. Hey a shout out to the "Brown Collective."
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jos Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:55 PM
Response to Original message
20. The real signficance of the incident
is that Kerry is the candidate who will get "Gored" by the press. For some reason, the beltway press does not like him, and the Murdoch press does not like him since he thrashed Weld in '96. The press will focus on these trivial incidents as it did with Gore. If for no other reason, this is why Kerry is not the strongest candidate in the field.
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molly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #20
23. Yes, but unlike Gore, Kerry WILL fight back
when the time is right. Certainly not over trivial incidents such as these, but things that are worthwhile.
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Feanorcurufinwe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #20
27. Guess what? the corporate media is for Bush.
Guess what? the corporate media is for Bush. They will be against anyone on the Democratic side who looks like they might beat him.
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FubarFly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 02:01 PM
Response to Original message
26. What a load of crap.
I live in South Philly and trust me this is not a big deal.

The only people down here who care what Kerry ordered on his cheesesteak are the b*sh supporters who are using this incident to take a cheap shot at Kerry. *yawn* Go find a real issue.

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TreasonousBastard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 02:08 PM
Response to Original message
28. So, ummm...
will he get it together before he gets his ass in a wringer over barbeque in every southern state?

Grits?

Chili?

God help him if he confuses Cajun and Creole.

Or gets offered lutefisk in the midwest.

(At least candidates don't have to eat scrapple. Do they?)



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Northwind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 03:02 PM
Response to Reply #28
37. Imagine him coming to Texas
And ordering mild chili. Or a burger without mustard.

They'd crucify him. Seriously.

Not that he will be coming here. he is the one who says he can win "without the south".
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LynneSin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #28
38. Candidates get a free pass on scrapple
I wouldn't wish that on anyone!
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CWebster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 02:14 PM
Response to Original message
30. Cheesesteak wimp!
Edited on Thu Aug-14-03 02:15 PM by CWebster
!

Heh-heh. Betcha that smarts!
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killbotfactory Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-14-03 07:39 PM
Response to Original message
40. "I am not an animal!"

"I am a human being!"
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