Saturday, November 10, 2007

I'm So Confused! The Whole World Is Spinning!

Oopsie! Tom Tomorrow is P.O.'d about the right-wing radio claim that Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign neglected to leave a tip to the Iowa waitress who served her at a Maid-Rite diner. "Well, big effing surprise," Tom huffs: "like pretty much everything else you might hear on right wing talk radio, it was not only untrue, it was demonstrably untrue." Of course I agree about the reliability of right wing talk radio, so I followed Tom's link to Steve Benen's The Carpetbagger Report, which huffed and puffed some more, and followed its link to this New York Times story, which included some information that neither Tom (maybe because he didn't click through to the Times story) nor Benen mentioned.

Clinton's people claimed that "the candidate and her aides had in fact left a tip: $100 on a $157 check at the diner. The restaurant manager, Brad Crawford, confirmed in interviews, including with The New York Times, that Mrs. Clinton, of New York, and her retinue had indeed left a tip, though he did not say how much." Interesting, but even more interesting was what the waitress herself had to say:
Reached at her home in Iowa, the waitress, Anita Esterday, said that neither she nor a colleague who helped serve Mrs. Clinton recalled seeing any tip.

She said a local staff member of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign was in the restaurant on Thursday to tell them that the campaign had left a tip.

She said that when she and her colleague said they had not seen a tip, the staff member gave each of them $20.

Myself, I believe the waitress over her manager or the Clinton campaign. Especially since she had more to say:
“You people are really nuts,” she told a reporter during a phone interview. “There’s kids dying in the war, the price of oil right now — there’s better things in this world to be thinking about than who served Hillary Clinton at Maid-Rite and who got a tip and who didn’t get a tip.”
Tom Tomorrow quoted that line, as did Jonathan Schwarz in a nice posting about the misuse of terms like "lunatic" in mainstream political discourse. It's a good'un. But suppose that the same story were to circulate about George W. Bush; the liberal blogosphere would have been up in arms over the Rethugs' attempt to rewrite Mrs. Esterday's memory with that paltry $20 bill. (More likely they'd have sent her to Guantanamo until she remembered better.) What I like is that Mrs. Esterday refused to be bought.

I must say I'm surprised that a well-oiled (and funded) machine like HRC's campaign would have forgotten to tip her waitress. And of course, the right-wing pundits don't care about waitresses any more than Clinton does. But "demonstrably untrue"? It doesn't sound like it to me.