Mitt Romney has ignited a barbecue war with the president, positioning himself as a fierce defender of all things smoked and President Obama as an outsider.
Romney sprung the new attack line today during his tour this writer's home state Commonwealth of Virginia. His point? The president’s policies killed barbecue there. Or, more precisely, the president’s weak management of the economy caused Bill's Barbecue, an 82-year-old institution in Richmond to go hog belly up.
Bill’s owners even complied, telling Romney (in his words) that taxes, regulation and -- well, you know the drill -- killed the pig. Romney even has a new ad he hopes can swing the ‘cue crowd to his corner.
Only problem is .. the economy didn’t kill Bill’s. Bill’s did.
It’s been a while since I’ve lived in Richmond (suburban Henrico County, to be precise). But the Bill’s Barbecue I remember was a greasy pile of bad meat, whose locations were in areas that, perhaps, sometimes justified Virginia’s concealed gun law permits.
But that was just me and my high school memories of more than a decade ago. I decided to quiz a few friends who still live there. Here were some responses:
“Never did eat anything in there I would have called barbecue.”
“Anyone under 70 in Richmond looking for barbecue would clearly go to Buzz and Ned's or Extra Billys...both of which are local establishments...and delicious.”
“I think Bill's Barbecue really got into trouble when it replaced the mesquite wood chips in its BBQ smoker with a robust mixture of employees' soiled boxers and the tears of children.”
Bill’s had been failing for a long time. Businesses sometimes do that. “Creative destruction” is something capitalists are supposed to approve of. But Romney sometimes glosses over that when he goes on one of his “more capitalist than you” rants.