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Tuesday, July 20, 2004
The Ketchup Wars Begin
Scott W., loyal reader, long-time friend, and inventor of the world's only Dark Window t-shirt, calls our attention to a hot new conservative product: W Ketchup. That's right, dear readers...There's finally a godly product that you can be proud to pour over your freedom fries!
W Ketchup™ is made in America, from ingredients grown in the USA.
The leading competitor not only has 57 varieties, but has 57 foreign factories as well. W Ketchup comes in one flavor: American.
Well, if the Wing Nuts want to be separated from their money in such manner, I certainly won't protest. But I should point out a couple of things about these ridiculous claims that keep surfacing.
Media Matters for America ran a great piece a couple of days ago debunking this whole myth that Heinz Ketchup is (a) outsourcing all of its production and (b) donating heavily to liberal causes.
H.J. Heinz Company is a multinational corporation with 50 affiliates operating in 200 countries, employing over 38,900 workers worldwide. While 70 percent of these employees work in factories overseas, it is critical to note, as USA Today did in an April 20 article, "About 60% of the company's sales are outside America, and the products sold in other countries are often made and marketed locally and in some cases are unique to that region." The article added, "Tomatoes for ketchup sold in the United States are grown largely in the regions surrounding the major processing plants in Ohio, Iowa and California."
W Ketchup, of course, has more damning information about Heinz.
Choose Heinz and you're supporting Teresa Heinz and her liberal causes, such as Kerry for President.
Makes a nice sound bite but is it really true? Let's go back to Media Matters:
[I]t is worth noting that, as USA Today reported, "[T]he Heinz company's political action committee gave more than $64,000 to GOP candidates [in the last six years], nearly three times the amount given to Democrats"; USA Today also reported that William R. Johnson -- the president, CEO, and chairman of the H.J. Heinz Company -- has given more than $20,000 to Republican congressional committees and candidates in the last six years. The article added that, while the Heinz company's political action committee has contributed over $5,000 to President George W. Bush's reelection campaign, it "has shunned the Kerry campaign."
Anyway, W Ketchup uses more than these bizarre assertions to sell their product. They also use St. Ron! Underneath a giant photo of President Reagan wearing a cowboy hat, they include this text:
W Ketchup would like to thank President Reagan for his selfless service to this nation.
Reagan won the Cold War, let private enterprise flourish, and most of all made Americans proud to be Americans again.
Reagan also proclaimed Ketchup a vegetable in order to make school lunches cheaper. A more fitting tribute I cannot imagine.
In addition to the Reagan tribute, the W Ketchup site has a special section for reader comments and, not surprisingly, there are many like this one:
Thank you for giving us a delicious American alternative to the standard Heinz Ketchup. Henry Heinz may have been a great American, but I have absolutely no interest in supporting The Kerry's anti-American causes.
— S.S., Akron, OH
Anyway, if you get a chance, go browse some of the other comments (they also include a fair amount of fun hate mail).
What I think is far more interesting than W Ketchup, though, is this article I found over at GOP USA while I was researching this piece. You see, it turns out that there's another conservative ketchup maker out there and he's mad as heck about W Ketchup trying to steal his market!
SPARTANBURG, SC (Talon News) -- An unexpected ketchup war has erupted between two companies marketing alternative versions of ketchup to conservative, Republican consumers.
Talon News reported last week on W Ketchup which actively markets its product to people who "don't support Democrats."
But in an open letter, another alternative ketchup known as Bush Country Ketchup has openly challenged W Ketchup to clarify its ideological devotion.
Wing Nut catfight. With ketchup!
"We can no longer allow W Ketchup to masquerade as a conservative condiment and continue to market itself to our fellow Republicans without answering several troubling questions that have come to light since its emergence in mid-June," remarked Bush Country Ketchup co-founder and volunteer press secretary for a Congressional candidate Patrick Spero, whose slogan is "Making sure Kerry won't ketchup to W."
I'm not really sure what to do here. You can't even parody this stuff!
Describing W Ketchup as "a nebulous company," Spero said their rival company has more in common with the campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John F. Kerry (D-MA) than President George W. Bush.
"Our mission is clear -- the reelection of President Bush and the success of the Republican Party," boasted Spero about Bush Country Ketchup. "W Ketchup appears to be trying to have it every which way, engaging in Kerry-esque flip-flopping and capitalizing on conservatives' affectionate use of President Bush's middle initial. At the same time they claim any connection with President Bush or the Republican Party is pure serendipity."
Noting that he is "not in this for money," Spero told Talon News that he is "truly afraid that good conservatives may be taken advantage of by W Ketchup, possible liberals who are enjoying a good laugh at the expense of trusting conservatives."
Hey, it sounds like maybe Spero reads the Dark Window!
Although their ketchup costs a little more than W Ketchup, Spero invites people to "judge for themselves which ketchup is truly conservative and dedicated to the President."
I don't know about you, dear readers, but I always try to choose condiments that are dedicated to the President.
And just to be fair, let's close with a quote from W Ketchup CEO, Daniel Oliver:
"Given the huge number of Americans who don't want to support Kerry/Heinz with their condiment selection, the more choices, the better," Oliver stated. "Hopefully with our combined efforts, we can ensure that in November, Teresa Heinz Kerry's G-5, the 'Flying Squirrel,' lands in the People's Republic of Taxachusetts, and not Andrews Air Force Base."
Somebody definitely sounds squirrelly*, Dan, but I'm not sure it's Kerry!
* Flagrant spelling error corrected per (who else) the inimitable Frederick.