The thing about the year before a presidential election is that it’s a lot like those early auditions for American Idol — contestants think they have some fabulous gimmick other than being an amazing singer that’s sure to get them to Hollywood, so they show up in a cow costume, or they stand on their head and stack ball bearings, and we all get to have a chuckle at how badly they miscalculated their charm and wit.
As it turns out, Starbucks CEO Emeritus Howard Schultz is the William Hung of presidential contenders for 2019. Remember that guy? Plenty about him to cringe at, but not much to love. He became a meme almost immediately, and at a time when the world was just kind of learning what memes even were.
Schultz’s problem is that he’s taking exactly the wrong lesson from the 2016 election and that he somehow thinks what America wants is a milquetoast centrist candidate for the presidency, someone who will do just enough for both sides that nobody riots, or something. He doesn’t believe in the Green New Deal, doesn’t believe in Medicare for All, doesn’t believe in increasing the minimum wage, doesn’t believe in increasing the top marginal tax rate — this is all stuff that even some Republicans agree on at this point, and certainly all Democrats, regardless of how they’re saying it.
And the reason that Schultz is so far out of step with what America wants is that he, like Donald Trump, lives in a very insular little world, where only the things he knows and cares about matter. Case in point? Schultz went on MSNBC’s Morning Joe to “connect with the people,” and ended up looking… well, looking like a colossal asshole.
Co-host Mika Brzezinski fired off a few questions at the billionaire, starting with what qualifies him to be president, and then who his favorite presidents from each party were. I have to pause here and say that the fact that he named Reagan as his favorite Republican pretty much says enough for me — Reagan dismantled manufacturing in America and invented the phrase “welfare queen,” so that’s a non-starter. Besides, he was way off the mark on his admiration for Reagan’s respect for the “dignity” of the office:
Howard Schultz says Ronald Reagan is the best Republican prez of the past 50 years, in part because “he never took his jacket off in the Oval Office” due to his respect for the office. pic.twitter.com/UFZtqwYfdt
— (((JonathanWeisman))) (@jonathanweisman) January 30, 2019
But then Mika hit on what we were all waiting for. Schultz’s gas station moment, if you will, where we see if he even knows which side of the car the tank is on. She asked him, “How much does an 18-ounce box of Cheerios cost?”
I’ll give everyone a minute to finish high-fiving.
Schultz’s answer was, of course, little more than a cop-out:
I don’t eat Cheerios, I’m sorry.”
They probably taste terrible with champagne, I’m guessing.
Watch the exchange here:
Featured image via screen capture