Being of a mercantile spirit, I was initially quite offended when I saw a story in the American Spectator poking fun at Alison Lundergan Grimes’s family business—a burger emporium named “Hugh Jass Burgers.”
It is rude to mock any honorable way people earn a living. But then I said the name of the burger joint fast—do it, if you didn’t catch on immediately. Can you just imagine what would happen if a Republican running for office were the heir to a business named Hugh Jass Burgers!
Ms. Lundergan Grimes is running for the Senate against minority leader Mitch McConnell, and she is stressing the supposed GOP “war on women.” Hugh Jass Burgers injects a soupcon of irony into this ploy.
As the Spectator’s Emily Zanotti observes, “If there really is a #waronwomen, Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes might just come from one of its founding families.”
Zanotti quotes a report on the bill of fare at Hugh Jass:
Hugh Jass Burgers — say it out loud to get the joke — has menu items like "Charlotte's Rack, sure to be voted biggest rack" named after Grimes' mom and "Abby's Hugh Jass," a burger named after her sister. They also sell souvenirs like an apron with "Check Out My Buns" emblazoned across it.
The restaurant's approach has raised eyebrows, especially since Grimes' camp accused the GOP of sexism.
"I am the Kentucky woman who my Republican colleagues in this state so gentlemanly refer to as an empty dress," Grimes said.
When we tried to ask Grimes about her family's use of double entendre, she refused to answer, letting her security detail lead her away from reporters.
But the Hugh Jass heiress has been very, very outspoken about something else: the need to raise the minimum wage. Alas, there is a disconnect here, too:
On the campaign trail, Grimes said recently, "I'm fighting for all Kentuckians, all working Americans across this nation. I don't believe $7.25 an hour raises a family of four above the poverty level."
But documents and interviews with employees reveal that, like many restaurants, her family's burger joint pays some tipped staffers minimum wage.
The candidate responded with the candor that has typified her race for the Senate:
We caught up with Grimes in Kentucky and asked how she can advocate for raising the minimum wage, when that's all her family's restaurant pays some workers.
"Listen, my family is not in this race. I'm on the ballot. And as much as Mitch McConnell wants to attack my family, he has from the beginning, I'm going to stay focused on the issues," she told CNN. "And for me, it's about making sure that hard working Kentuckians have a bright future. And that future includes having not just a minimum wage, but a living wage."