Overt attempts on the part of conservatives at portraying Michelle Obama as a scary, potentially racist, terrorist-fist-bumping radical has the political class debating whether candidates’ wives should be considered fair game. (Confounding in itself — nearly every presidential candidate has had a wife; shouldn’t we have hashed this out by now?) But new developments have perhaps made Cindy McCain, and not Michelle Obama, the troublesome wife to watch: Two months after she blamed an intern for passing off Food Network recipes as her own, it looks like Cindy is at it again. Yes, it seems the oatmeal-butterscotch cookies Cindy submitted to Family Circle magazine were not really from “a good friend” but Hershey’s, the Huffington Post discovered yesterday.
Obviously, this is a minor transgression that in an ideal world shouldn’t matter at all in voters’ decision-making. Also, in an ideal world, we and Heidi Klum would be necking on our own private tropical island accessible only by jetpack. In the real world, cookies matter, and if the scorn coming from visitors to Parents.com (which is running the cookie feature) is any indication, Cindy McCain is suffering the consequences. On that site, the cookie recipe, presented as McCain’s, receives a community rating of two out of five stars — pathetic. But on allrecipes.com, another site that, as a commenter points out, carries the same cookie recipe (how many people were ripped off in this?), the cookies are rated at four and a half stars out of five, the discrepancy plainly confirming that the Cindy McCain backlash has begun. Whether it stops with her or translates into disenchantment with John McCain is uncertain. But is it really so far-fetched to assume that if you can’t trust Cindy with cookies, you can’t trust John with anything? Yes, it is. That would be an absurd conclusion to reach. —Dan Amira