On Wednesday, during a visit to the University of Michigan, President Obama dumbed down his rhetoric to BuzzFeed-style name calling by saying that Republicans are offering “stinkburger” ideas that are a real “meanwich.”
Obama spoke at the University of Michigan before a crowd of some 1,000 students and a limited number of reporters mainly to sell a hike in the minimum wage, pushing his theme, “give America a raise.”
As CBS News’s Mark Knoller tweeted from the event, President Obama slammed the GOP for its economic policies but granted that “they’re not necessarily cold-hearted.” Obama then went on to say that if GOP policies were deli food, they’d be a “stinkburger” or a “meanwich.”
Apparently the deli that Obama visited before the speech was still in his head. From the podium he said, “If they tried to sell this sandwich at Zingerman’s they’d have to call it the Stinkburger or the Meanwich.”
The President told students that regarding the minimum wage, “You’ve got a choice. You can give America the shaft, or you can give it a raise.” He further claimed that a raise in the wage would “lift millions of people out of poverty right away.”
The sales pitch is strange enough in that out of the 144 million Americans who work for a living, only 1.6 million workers (or only 1.1 percent of the workforce) make the minimum wage, so it is a bit hard to understand how a hike in the wage is “giving America a raise.” Yet Obama got even farther out into the political weeds by indulging in some childish-sounding name calling in his comments about his GOP opponents.
It seems that Obama felt he had to dumb down his rhetoric for a university filled with youngsters bred on BuzzFeed and Upworthy instead of Lincoln or Cicero.
Yet this is the same President who only a year ago in his second inaugural address criticized Washington for a corroded level of political debate that “prevents us from carrying out even the most basic functions of our democracy.” He is the same president who has for years pleaded for “a more civil and honest public discourse” in Washington. Now he has stooped to calling his opponents’ ideas “stinkburgers.”
With this, his third visit, President Obama has visited the University of Michigan more times than any other sitting president.
The earliest president to visit U of M was Democrat Grover Cleveland in 1892.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.