Jeff Merkley and sloppy eating

I had been thinking about the Gordon Smith ad, which shows Jeff Merkley eating a hot dog — a little too sloppily for most people’s liking — and being ambushed with a question about Georgia.  The advertisement seems to have back-fired a tad bit, which may be over-stating its simple ineffectiveness.  It is in some corners a bit of a laughing stock, and provides a basic problem for Smith, which is the electorate does not much cares about Russia’s incursion into Georgia, or at least doesn’t consider it the biggest issue in the election, hence it is fine that a Senate candidate is a couple of days behind the news cycle — The Weekly Standard and the neo-conservative sentiment that “We are all Georgians now” will just have to accept that.

But that leaves us with the hot dog eating.  A tad sloppy.  Push aside that it tends to enforce the “blue collar average Joe” meme — Hey!  We all eat hot dogs and spill mustard on our shirts! — it does remind me of a controversy from the world of Australian politics.  Jeff Merkley may eat hot dogs with some spill-over, but it could be worse.

Australia’s opposition leader lamented his past behavior on Wednesday, as images of him picking his ear wax in Parliament reached a growing audience via the Internet.

The embarrassing footage was captured by Parliament’s official television camera at least six years ago as Kevin Rudd, then a junior Labor Party lawmaker, sat in the House Representatives listening to a colleague question a government minister.

Rudd, who is likely to become Australia’s prime minister next month, is seen in the background absent-mindedly probing his left ear before apparently placing the same finger in his mouth.

The footage has found it way on to YouTube and has attracted increasing attention in recent weeks as Rudd, a Chinese-speaking former diplomat, leads Prime Minister John Howard in opinion polls ahead of Nov. 24 elections.

I suspect that any challenger running for office who gets caught eating his own ear-wax would not make it, but I could be wrong.  Kevin Rudd made it.

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