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by Kevin Coupe

When it comes to political metaphors, last night Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show” had to reach no farther than the nation’s cupboards ... and, by extension, the nation’s supermarkets.

Stewart was talking about the decision by accused adulterer and alleged sexual harasser Herman Cain to suspend his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination (by using a line from the Pokemon movie, which even for guys who believe in the power of movie metaphors and who use movie quotes at every opportunity may be a bridge too far if you are running for the nation’s highest office), and the surge in the polls by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who is suggesting in interviews that one of his appeals to voters is a sense of familiarity with his name and philosophy.

“That’s Newt Gingrich’s pitch,” Stewart said, “‘I’m the thing that has been in your pantry forever… if you look way back in there, there’s a can of La Choy Baby Corn. You don’t remember buying it, yet you don’t remember ever being without it, and now you have no choice but to elect it president.”

Well, we checked on the La Choy website, and while the ConAgra-owned company still sells a variety of canned Asian vegetables and crispy noodles, baby corn no longer seems to be on the menu. But the metaphor is vivid, regardless of how you feel about Gingrich - we all have stuff at the back of our cabinets that probably should have been thrown out years ago. (My daughter recently found some spices at the back of our cabinet that expired in 2008.)

When you think about it, it suggests a possible elaboration on the old 1928 campaign slogan used by Herbert Hoover:

A chicken in every pot, a car in every garage, and up-to-date canned goods in every larder.

It’d be an Eye-Opener.
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