From Mitt Romney’s Twitter feed, one sees he stopped to have lunch with the regular guys at the OK Cafe, a restaurant in Atlanta. The presidential implication is that Romney’s in touch with the “common man”; but as Atlanta residents will tell you, the OK Cafe isn’t really the common man’s lunch spot. It’s in the middle of residential Buckhead, at West Paces Ferry and Northside Drive. One has to drive for five minutes to not see a house worth upwards of two million dollars. As such, it’s fairly expensive (by Atlanta standards), and serves mostly the upper-middle and upper class students & parents of the three nearby private schools (Pace, Lovett, Westminster).
Don’t get me wrong. I love the OK Cafe. I used to live and go to school not ten minutes away. Mom & dad had lunch there all the time (before we moved away). But this all demonstrates just how easily the optics of any situation can be manipulated to make it look “populist” or “elitist.” Romney’s decision to sit with the guys from Marietta, wearing baseball hats, and not with the business-dressed men and women surrounding them, makes the staging pretty obvious.