The Donald Trump Bill of Goods tours continues with an anti-labor labor secretary, but there are other fish to fry. SEXY fish!
Well before the emergence of a video of Mr. Trump bragging of sexual assault, his attitude toward women posed a political problem for him. With the president said to be reaching out to the fast-food executive Andrew F. Puzder to lead Labor, look for the questions to come back.
Why? A quick glance at the advertisements for his Carl’s Jr. burger chain is enough to get the point.
And what are the commercials? You know them–pneumatic blondes in bikinis messily eating his heart attack burgers. They’re the sort that beer advertisers in the 1980s would look at and be like “whoa, kinda retrograde, ain’t they?” I’m not offended by them, as such, more just irritated at the sheer laziness. It’s part of that annoying “MEAT AND WOMEN! TAKE THAT LIBERALS!” sort of attitude that’s come roaring back due to economic anxiety, as if liberals don’t love both meat and sexy dames.
(Yes, there are some liberals who are vegetarian, and even–gasp!–gay. But you know what I mean. It’s a particularly thick-headed serving of anti-PC posturing where trying to offend someone is the goal in and of itself, so that you can have a self-righteous reaction. It’s all tied into coal-rolling in some way.)
Anyway, I think it’s pretty clear that Puzder is one of those guys, or he at least is a bloodless rich wienie good at playing one. “I like our ads,” Mr. Puzder told the publication Entrepreneur. “I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it’s very American.” Which, I mean, he’s right.
Anyway, the important thing is that this is in no way the important issue with Puzder.
Mr. Puzder, chief executive of CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc., the parent company of the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s burger chains, has been a vocal advocate for cutting back regulations he says have stifled growth in the restaurant industry, which represents 10% of the American workforce.
Mr. Puzder, an adviser and contributor to Mr. Trump’s campaign, has criticized the Affordable Care Act and has argued against raising the federal minimum wage higher than $9 an hour. Democrats have called for raising the federal minimum wage for as high as $15.
Mr. Puzder is on the board of the International Franchise Association, a trade group that has criticized the Obama administration, saying it attacked the franchising model by implementing regulations that stunt job growth. Instead of focusing on stepping up workplace regulation to create jobs and higher wages, Mr. Puzder would likely call for tools such as an overhaul of the tax system, said Matt Haller, a spokesman for the franchise trade group.
If you wanted to stick it to labor, to the “white working class”, you couldn’t have picked a better vampire. This is a dude who has dedicated himself to screwing over those who work for him. (Last year, the fast-food CEO made more in one day ($17,192) than one of his full-time minimum wage workers would make in a year ($15,130), according to TalkPoverty.) And given that the “Fight for $15” began with fast food workers saying “enough”, and has had huge success in many cities, and helped to change the conversation, you’d have to be a fool not to see the symbolism here.
Symbols are going to become real, by the way. They are going to try to roll back any progress made on labor rights, and finish destroying them altogether. There’s nothing more obvious than when you hire an anti-labor blowtorch to run the Department of Labor. It’s saying that workers don’t matter. He’s a plutocrat’s plutocrat, and he’s going to try to do to every non-already-rich worker what he does to people in his own field: prevent them from having a wage that gives them dignity.
The secret genius here, of course, is that people love to make fun of fast food workers, and it is often seen as a place for Mexicans and blacks, so they aren’t really workers. It’s a nice divide-and-conquer strategy. But the so-called Trump base, the economically dispossessed white worker, will be just as screwed by his labor choice. But hey, as long as there are jiggling blonds giving the finger to Michelle Obama’s broccoli fascism, it’s all good.
I feel bad for these people. I truly do. Liberalism has to help protect them as well. But we have to start by making sure we fight the right battle, and don’t get caught up on sexist commercials. When we fight that, the conversation turns into an argument about feminism, and a very surface-level argument about that. Then it turns into who is PC, and who is not, and how “we think the white working class likes their burgers and their blondes and Trump’s opponents have no sense of humor.” Then everything gets buried, and the question moves from “is he going to continue to destroy the working class?” to “ya like the ladies? Then you’ll love this guy!”
Feminism is a good battle to fight! But in this case it’s far from the key issue. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize. Or at least after the commerical is done, anyway.