It should be a basic rule of politics: never be photographed eating a corn dog.
During the state fair season, it’s inevitable that politicians will visit the fair. And when they are there, the politicians will want to do whatever it takes to show that they can identify with and understand the concerns of their fellow fairgoers. What better way to communicate that you aren’t some ivory tower, out-of-touch, upper-class twit than by eating some fair food along with the rest of the dusty masses? And, of course, the corn dog is the most basic fair food item of all.
It therefore shouldn’t be surprising that staffers think having the candidate eat a corn dog seems like a fine idea. The problem, however, is that there is no graceful way to eat a corn dog. Obviously, you don’t use a knife and fork. It is an awkward culinary object, and most people don’t eat them regularly.
As a result, every picture you see of a politician gobbling a corn dog looks funny and unflattering. Some are worse than others — Michele Bachmann’s recent photo, above, would be hard to top — but they all look bad. When you think about it, Rick Perry’s photo to the left isn’t really much better.
If I wear running a campaign, I’d impose a no corn dog rule. Munching on elephant ears, hot dogs, and ears of corn all are perfectly capable of communicating the “everyman” message, without running the risk of the dreaded corn dog photo.