Bernie Sanders loves the common folk, but only in the abstract

Bernie Sanders is one of those progressives who love humanity in the abstract, but in face-to-face interactions with common folk, not so much.  Politico's Playbook ignited a minor media kerfuffle a couple of days ago with a brief item about Bernie's rudeness at a landmark San Francisco restaurant, John's Grill (where Sam Spade eats lunch in The Maltese Falcon — the book, not the movie).  When Bernie arrived with about 15 others:

... "he didn't want to shake hands, he didn't want a picture,'' [restaurant owner John] Konstin reports. And there was no campaign face, either, apparently: "He wasn't nice to any of the staff,'' says the veteran restaurateur. The "rude and cranky" 2020 candidate did have an impact, Konstin says. "He lost my vote."

The San Francisco Chronicle then got on the case and added:

Lee Houskeeper, the media contact for John's Grill, said it's uncharacteristic for Konstin to say anything negative about his patrons.

"Bernie had to be in a terrible mood," Houskeeper said. "Anyone in the public eye needs to understand when it's time to order room service." 

He added Sanders left a tip and his wife apologized as the group was leaving the restaurant.

As it happens, during the 2016 primary campaign, Bernie and a group of staff visited a Bay Area restaurant that I frequent, and whose owner I chatted with the day after the visit, when I happened to be on one of my frequent visits and was informed of the momentous occasion.  I will not identify the restaurant because I don't want to embarrass it, and I go there a lot (lunch yesterday, in fact), but it is prominent in guides such as Michelin and was obviously chosen by somebody in the group who cares about food.

The experience that the owner told me about was almost identical, except that Jane Sanders, his wife, went out of her way to make up for her husband's rudeness and ended up charming the owner and the staff.  Bernie was completely unresponsive about the food, which must have been a bit disappointing to the owner (who is also the chef), but Jane clearly understood the exceptional culinary experience and was effusive in her praise.  She kept the rest of the party waiting in cars outside while she thanked the chef for the wonderful food.

My guess is that Jane Sanders has been playing this role of smoothing out her husband's irascibility for a very long time.  They are a team more than we realize watching him on television.  You might even say she is his enabler.

Photo credit: Marc Nozell.

Bernie Sanders is one of those progressives who love humanity in the abstract, but in face-to-face interactions with common folk, not so much.  Politico's Playbook ignited a minor media kerfuffle a couple of days ago with a brief item about Bernie's rudeness at a landmark San Francisco restaurant, John's Grill (where Sam Spade eats lunch in The Maltese Falcon — the book, not the movie).  When Bernie arrived with about 15 others:

... "he didn't want to shake hands, he didn't want a picture,'' [restaurant owner John] Konstin reports. And there was no campaign face, either, apparently: "He wasn't nice to any of the staff,'' says the veteran restaurateur. The "rude and cranky" 2020 candidate did have an impact, Konstin says. "He lost my vote."

The San Francisco Chronicle then got on the case and added:

Lee Houskeeper, the media contact for John's Grill, said it's uncharacteristic for Konstin to say anything negative about his patrons.

"Bernie had to be in a terrible mood," Houskeeper said. "Anyone in the public eye needs to understand when it's time to order room service." 

He added Sanders left a tip and his wife apologized as the group was leaving the restaurant.

As it happens, during the 2016 primary campaign, Bernie and a group of staff visited a Bay Area restaurant that I frequent, and whose owner I chatted with the day after the visit, when I happened to be on one of my frequent visits and was informed of the momentous occasion.  I will not identify the restaurant because I don't want to embarrass it, and I go there a lot (lunch yesterday, in fact), but it is prominent in guides such as Michelin and was obviously chosen by somebody in the group who cares about food.

The experience that the owner told me about was almost identical, except that Jane Sanders, his wife, went out of her way to make up for her husband's rudeness and ended up charming the owner and the staff.  Bernie was completely unresponsive about the food, which must have been a bit disappointing to the owner (who is also the chef), but Jane clearly understood the exceptional culinary experience and was effusive in her praise.  She kept the rest of the party waiting in cars outside while she thanked the chef for the wonderful food.

My guess is that Jane Sanders has been playing this role of smoothing out her husband's irascibility for a very long time.  They are a team more than we realize watching him on television.  You might even say she is his enabler.

Photo credit: Marc Nozell.