With the long Fourth of July weekend rapidly approaching, I have a suggestion for all of the Republican candidates hoping to become the next president of the United States: Make sure you are seen eating hot dogs — the great American icon of foods — as often as possible.
Why? Because according to the Recipe Source, more than 150 million hot dogs will be consumed this holiday weekend. No politician can afford to pass up an audience that large.
Just ask Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level Politics must accept the reality of multiracial America and disavow racial backlash To empower parents, reinvent schools MORE. Four years ago he ate a hot dog during a much-publicized trip to Toledo, Ohio. It was there the president told the mayor, "Hold the ketchup."
When I am not eating hot dogs, I usually find myself mired in politics. That said, I have begun to wonder where each of the GOP presidential candidates stands on the all-important issue of "the dog."
I don't expect this to be a topic of conversation during the Aug. 6 debate in Cleveland; however, I would like to know how each of them would dress his (or her) hot dog. Not that this will be my political tipping point, but it certainly will help me separate the true believers from the pretenders.
So here, as a public service, I offer up the following White House contenders and their ideal hot dog.
Jeb Bush of Florida: The former governor likes an Orlando-style (Vienna beef) dog topped with tart cole slaw and mild sauerkraut. It's a contrast in flavors for sure, just like his position on a number issues compared to his primary rivals.
Ben Carson of Maryland: A renowned neurosurgeon, the good doctor knows a great grilled dog when he sees it. Chances are he will ask for one with chili meat sauce, chopped onions and brown mustard.
Chris Christie of New Jersey: Say what you want about him, the governor is an authentic guy. With this in mind, look to Christie to pick a Rutt's Hut original like a "ripper" or a "weller," topped with a bright yellow, sweet-hot relish.
Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzHospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan To counter China, the Senate must confirm US ambassadors The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Congress avoids shutdown MORE of Texas: I predict the senator sneaks in a mean chili dog when no one is looking. How else could he do it? He never is messy on the campaign trail. It wouldn't surprise me if the Tea Party favorite adds grilled onions to his dog.
Carly Fiorina of California: The former high tech executive has traveled the world, so she appreciates a good Chicago-style dog. This is a steamed (or boiled) all-beef hot dog on a poppy seed bun. It's topped with mustard, onion, sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato wedge and a touch of celery salt.
Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham emerges as go-to ally for Biden's judicial picks This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead Biden move to tap oil reserves draws GOP pushback MORE of South Carolina: Instead of talking about the Confederate flag, I'll bet this son of the South would prefer to eat an Aiken Pool Hall chili dog. What makes this dog so memorable is the fact the chili is mixed with a mustard-based barbecue sauce.
Mike Huckabee of Arkansas: No steamed hot dog for this former governor — he's a BBQ guy through and through. Not given to excess, Huckabee likes his dog plain, which of course mirrors his "no frills" campaign.
Bobby Jindal of Louisiana: The two-term governor knows every crack and cranny of the Pelican State. I wonder how many grilled dogs topped with Creole remoulade sauce he's eaten over the years?
John Kasich of Ohio: The governor, who recently said "amateur hour is over," is expected to launch his campaign on July 21. That will give him plenty of time to eat several Hungarian-style chili dogs before the first GOP presidential debate Aug. 6 in Cleveland.
George Pataki of New York: Of all the presidential contenders, I am most confused about this former governor. At the risk of alienating many Empire State sports fans, I think he likes a Yankees-style, baseball stadium favorite. That would be, by most accounts, dark mustard only.
Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP anger with Fauci rises Congress's goal in December: Avoid shutdown and default Cotton swipes at Fauci: 'These bureaucrats think that they are the science' MORE of Kentucky: Given his reputation for long speeches, I expect the senator to have the most to say about his hot dog. With this thought in mind, I see him leaning toward a steamed wiener topped with mustard, grated cheddar cheese and a chopped Bermuda onion.
Rick Perry of Texas: I'm thinking the former governor's new, hip glasses will help him focus on one of two Lone Star favorites: Either a Dallas-style corn dog or a Houston-inspired one with ground beef sauce.
Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense & National Security — US tries to deter Russian invasion of Ukraine Senate eyes plan B amid defense bill standoff To counter China, the Senate must confirm US ambassadors MORE of Florida: The son of Cuban immigrants, this senator typically sticks with his roots. That said, I'm guessing his favorite hot dog is more of a Latin-style, taco concoction with salsa, lettuce, tomato and cheese.
Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania: Forget the Philly cheesesteak, senator. I'm going to go out on a limb and say he prefers a turkey or tofu dog. If true, then he likes his piled high with ketchup, grilled onions and a hint of relish.
Donald TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — State Dept. employees targets of spyware Ohio Republican Party meeting ends abruptly over anti-DeWine protesters Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth MORE of New York: When last seen eating with a politician, he was hosting Sarah Palin. It wasn't hot dogs they were eating but pizza. Look to The Donald to send an apprentice to Papaya King to pick up his frankfurter complete with tropical relish and fried onions.
Scott Walker of Wisconsin. The governor has set his announcement date as "sometime in July." Clearly, the Badger State has its share of corn dogs; however, he's a brat guy to the core. His wurst will be topped with a gritty German mustard, chopped raw onions and pickle.
No matter how it works out for this crop of Republican presidential contenders, here's one thing I know for sure: If you want to be the next commander in chief, you better eat hot dogs and enjoy the Fourth of July fireworks. It doesn't get more American than that.
Freidenrich writes from Laguna Beach, California. A former congressional staff assistant on Capitol Hill, he likes his hot dog with ketchup, dark mustard and grilled onions. Oh, and don't forget a bowl of chili on the side.