Pizza Shop Owner Gets Negative Reviews for Hugging President
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    Posting Addict Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    Default Pizza Shop Owner Gets Negative Reviews for Hugging President

    Scott Van Duzer's Big Apple Pizza Gets Negative Yelp Reviews After Owner Bear-Hugs Obama
    Now there's yet another way to lower your business's rating on Yelp: bear-hug the president.


    Scott Van Duzer, a Republican and the owner of Big Apple Pizza in Fort Pierce, Fla., became an Internet sensation Sunday when he bear-hugged President Obama during a campaign visit. But while Obama supporters claimed the episode as a heartwarming example of the president's willingness to cross party lines for small business, others were less impressed with the viral episode, and even took a shot at Van Duzer's business because of it.


    Several negative reviews have popped up on Big Apple Pizza's Yelp profile, featuring low, 1-star ratings and comments about the bear hug:

    Well.. I'd eat there but after seeing the owner grab our leftist President I felt compelled to disrespect his establishment as much as the President disrespects our constitution. Shame on you Scott Van Duzer for thumbing your nose at all the small business owners this President has disrespected for the last four years. I guess you DIDN'T BUILD IT!
    Another reviewer let his 1-star rating do most of the talking, adding only, "Owner states he is a Republican that supports Obama."

    While Big Apple Pizza's positive Yelp reviews in response to the bear hug outnumber the negative ones, the conservative backlash can be seen elsewhere on the Web. Right-leaning bloggers have criticized the gesture, questioning at best the authenticity of Van Duzer's Republican affiliation, and at worst his intelligence, according to Daily Kos. The Gateway Pundit contributor Jim Hoft argues that the bear hug was staged, citing as proof a White House visit Van Duzer undertook with his charity last June.

    Meanwhile, a photo of the hug was featured as Fox News Nation's picture of the day Monday, where 37 readers voted it "Obnoxious", compared to second-place rating of "Funny," which got only 17 votes.
    Obviously, as we have discussed many times, people are allowed to spend (or not spend) their money at any business they see fit. My question is more this: Do you think that if someone is a Republican, they shouldn't be happy and honored (and yes, even do something silly and funny like a bear hug) to meet the Democratic? And vice versa - if Mitt Romney is elected this year and a Democrat business owner is seen happily greeting him, would that make you think less of them and not want to shop at their business?
    Last edited by Alissa_Sal; 09-10-2012 at 06:41 PM.
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    Posting Addict Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    I think this is so symptomatic of the sort of toxic division that we have going on in politics right now (on both sides, I'm not just pointing at Republicans.) I think there was a time in the not so distant past where a visit from the President would have been considered an honor, whether you personally voted for him or not, and no one would have questioned the person for being happy and honored by it. Now, it's like you can't just disagree with the President, you have to despise him as a human being, and anything he is associated with. I don't think it's healthy or sensible. I certainly won't be voting for Mitt Romney, but if he becomes President and wants to visit my office, I will smile and shake his hand and brag "Met the President today. No big deal..." on FB. LOL
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    Posting Addict Spacers's Avatar
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    I'm not a bear-hug kind of person in general, but if I was, and if the freakin' President of the U.S. came into my place of business, you can bet I'd bear-hug him regardless of party affiliation. For me, a handshake would suffice, but I can see how someone excitable & prone to bear hugs would give him one. The POTUS doesn't just drop in: the place is screened, people are probably frisked, it's a big deal even for a quickie lunch, and it's kind of an honor to be chosen over all the other pizza joints in town. It would look worse, I think, to be the guy who refused to shake hands with the POTUS because of petty politics.

    ETA: I was a waitress in downtown Sacramento for a number of years. I've waited on dozens of top state Republicans, and always with a smile. When they're at a restaurant as a paying customer, they're like any other paying customer. George Deukmejian once asked me what I thought about something, and I told him that politics & religion were not part of my waitressing banter. After he paid the bill, he asked for my opinion again, he said, "as a taxpayer to your governor," and I told him that I disagreed with his position. He still came back.
    Last edited by Spacers; 09-10-2012 at 07:47 PM.
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    Posting Addict Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    I was reading more about it, and I guess part of the reason the President was there was to honor the guy for doing a ton of charity work in his community, which would be even more of an honor, to be personally recognized by the President for your good works.

    Van Duzer’s June bike-trek was part of his Van Duzer Foundation, and helped raise awareness for blood donation shortages. Founded in 2008 to support a local firefighter whose house burned down, the foundation has since raised more than $600,000, Van Duzer said. Van Duzer said he rode with a few kids from the Boys and Girls Club and met with U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin to discuss blood shortages.

    Obama told The New York Times that Van Duzer’s effort in promoting blood donations was part of the reason the campaign decided to visit his pizza shop.

    “One of the reasons that we wanted to stop by is that Scott has been doing unbelievable work out of this pizza shop in promoting the importance of donating blood,” Obama told the Times. “And so he has set some records here in Florida. He has received commendations from the White House, the surgeon general, he has galvanized and mobilized the local community and he’s educating kids and folks all across the country on this issue.”
    This dude had every right to be happy and proud to meet the President, and I think it takes a special kind of hater to resent him for that and want to ruin his business reviews on Yelp over it. Extremely petty...
    -Alissa, mom to Tristan (5) and Reid (the baby!)

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    I feel so bad for that owner . We were staying at the same hotel that Mitt and his entourage was staying in this spring, and even though I don't support him it was still pretty freakin' awesome to see someone who is running for President.
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    I just went over to Yelp - the owner has over 1300 reviews, and thanks to people coming out in support for him he's up to 5 stars again!
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    Wow, some of those posts are crazy!

    I will not eat from traitor's hands and I'll never take food from man who DIDN'T BUILD his business.
    WOW the only 5 stars are from people that don't live in Florida......all the liberals in Chicago, can't eat your pizza, lets see if you can do what Chic-fil-a did.

    He didn't build that

    Liberal OWS urine on floor, Obama left the place smelling like a monkey
    You are officially a member of Obama's socialist outfit. Since the rich will fold up and leave, it will be businesses like you to work 24/7 and help pay for the dependant class Obama will use to hang on to power.

    I bookmarked your "business" to never set foot in there. Enjoy the vibrant years Obama has planned for your America (if he fools enough lazy jealous bums).
    Scott Van Duzer is mf'n turn coat! No stars haha. We'll we Repubs are just taking a play out of the dems play book @ ad K lol! Debbie Wasserman Shultz is a LIAR and Big Apple Pizza can serve her up some crap *** pizza she loves. @Trey D, grow a "v" and your leftist loonist prez will eat you up. The country's goin to hell in a handbasket thanks to the bafoon in the white house. Hahah don't blame repubs, we sure a hell didn't vote fo rhim and you dumbass democrats know it! Non God lovin a-holes, non Jewish supporters. Dems are the devil's keeper muwhaaaaaaa!
    The pizza is actually very good at Big Apple Pizza. The problem is that if you order one, you have to share the pizza with everyone else in the restaurant. Share the wealth\pizza is how it goes. (wink)

    Other than that, it was the best explosive diarrhea I've ever had after eating pizza.
    That's all from the first page.

    Reminder: This is all because he gave the President a hug when the President came to his restaurant to recognize his outstanding charity contributions.

    People are nuts.
    -Alissa, mom to Tristan (5) and Reid (the baby!)

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    People are NUTS. Just saying it again, because it's true.

    I remember many years ago reading an interview with Art Garfunkel who had performed at the White House for George Bush. He said in the interview that while he didn't agree with any of Bush's politics, he was honored by the request and felt that the office of the President was worthy of respect no matter what, and he did it gladly and proudly.

    This is the same sort of thing.
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    While I think the President deserves respect no matter who he is, I think that Obama has brought some of this on himself. He is the most polarizing president in 60 years, and some of the things he says come across as very arrogant. He has made no attempt to work across the aisle in a bipartisan way.

    Obama: The most polarizing president. Ever. - The Washington Post

    I don't think there was anything wrong with this man hugging the president, and I think that the people who were posting the reviews were probably not even people who would ever go to this restaurant anyway. This is the kind of thing that happens in this internet era, just like there were lots of people posting negative things on Chick-Fil-A's page that had never even eaten there. The internet is just an easy way to express political views.

    My brother was in the Air Force when Clinton was President, and was once part of a crew that flew a plane he was on. Clinton shook hands with the crew and my brother still shook his hand even though he didn't agree with his policies. They did laugh about it afterward because Clinton couldn't even get their rank right even though he was commander in Chief.
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    Posting Addict Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    I don't think this is like the Chick-Fil-A thing at all. Chick-Fil-A gives their money to an anti-gay group, which means that by eating there, you are, in effect, giving your money to an anti-gay group. That's why I don't eat there, I can't justify letting my money go to my group.

    This guy just gave the president a hug.

    I also think it's complete crap to say that Obama has done nothing to work across the aisle in a bipartisan way. The Republicans have proudly crowed that they will "Just say no!!!" to any sort of compromise that Obama tries to do. Kind of hard to work with people that have literally vowed that they won't work with you in any way, shape, or form.

    From the article you posted:

    “Obama’s ratings have been consistently among the most polarized for a president in the last 60 years,” concludes Gallup’s Jeffrey Jones in a memo summing up the results. “That may not be a reflection on Obama himself as much as on the current political environment in the United States, because Obama’s immediate predecessor, Bush, had similarly polarized ratings, particularly in the latter stages of his presidency after the rally in support from the 9/11 terror attacks faded.”

    Our guess is that Jones’ latter hypothesis is the right one — that we are simply living in an era in which Democrats dislike a Republican president (and Republicans dislike a Democratic one) even before the commander in chief has taken a single official action.

    The realization of that hyper-partisan reality has been slow in coming for Obama. But in recent months, he seems to have turned a rhetorical corner — taking the fight to Republicans (and Republicans in Congress, particularly) and all but daring them to call his bluff.

    Democrats will point out that Republicans in Congress have played a significant part in the polarization; the congressional GOP has stood resolutely against almost all of Obama’s top priorities. And Obama’s still-high popularity among the Democratic base also exacerbates the gap.
    Regardless, what that has to do with justifying people slamming this guy's business on Yelp because he gave the President a hug, I'm not sure.
    -Alissa, mom to Tristan (5) and Reid (the baby!)

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