Larry the Cable Guy isn't, you know, an actual cable guy. The reality is that he's not a blue collar redneck either. The hooplehead accent is fake, and his name isn't Larry. He's just a normal stand-up comic named Dan Whitney who, before the ascension of George W. Bush and redneck chic in America, spoke in a non-specific American accent and wore non-redneck clothing.
But a lot of people believe Larry is genuine. Why wouldn't they? When he appears in a movie, he's credited as "Larry the Cable Guy," and, in some sort of freaky Mark Wahlberg playing Eddie Adams playing Dirk Diggler playing Brock Landers meta-performance, Dan Whitney actually plays Larry the Cable Guy playing various movie character roles. For example, in Witless Protection (get it?), Dan Whitney plays Larry the Cable Guy playing Deputy Larry Stalder. Now sure, he's made a nice career for himself and I don't mean to begrudge him for his success, but it's all pretty creepy, no?
Fortunately for America, Larry or Dan or whoever isn't running for president. At least, not this time.
Be it Larry the Cable Guy or his Ohio cousin, Joe the Plumber, or their political and spiritual leader, Bushie the Commander Guy, or their newly discovered co-star Sarah the Hockey Mom, it should be obvious to anyone watching that the Republicans have been engaging in a seemingly endless game of dress up, and pretending to be something they're clearly not.
Larry the Cable Guy Politics.
As we've all observed today with the news of Sarah Palin's $150,000 wardrobe -- purchased, I hasten to underscore, from stores based in the "anti-American" areas of the nation -- the Republican "Joe Sixpack" flimflam appears to be crashing and burning faster than McCain's poll numbers.
For the last eight years, we've observed in shocked horror as President Bush -- this elite child of limitless family wealth -- this pampered, bubble-boy cheerleader -- marched around the world stage pretending to be some kind of shit-kicking cowpoke. His so-called Texas ranch, a strategically-timed purchase just prior to the launch of his 2000 presidential campaign, isn't any more authentically "cowboy" than the invisible six-shooters he pretends to wear on his gigantic belt, making his arms dangle outwards in some sort of ridiculous Yosemite Sam "Draw!" pose. The Crawford ranch is, in fact, a multi-million-dollar estate on which he once shared a 16 mile bike ride with Lance Armstrong without ever leaving the boundaries of his property.
Meanwhile, most of us own houses that cost less than two months worth of Sarah Palin outfits. Lee Stranahan posted another spot-on video today in which he notes that $150,000 is enough to buy 50 snowmachines, 2,500 hockey sticks and over 20,000 six-packs. It's more money, Lee reports, than the average American family spends on clothes over a span of 80 years.
This only serves to further amplify the truth that John McCain and the neocons selected Sarah Palin purely for superficial reasons. To play a part. To satisfy a perceived optics gap. And yet McCain and the Republicans are somehow outraged when their superficiality is finally revealed to the public? That's hilarious, especially considering how, over and over and over again, these very same white Republican men have gone around with very televised and very obvious (and, in the case of Limbaugh, artificially induced) pants tents whenever Palin winks and shrieks out a phony, "You betcha!" Rich Lowry, I'm looking at you.
Then there's Senator McCain himself who has repeatedly scammed American voters by accusing Senator Obama of being an elitist. In Senator McCain's screwy world, the "elitist" is a minority son of a single mother who worked his way through school and routinely re-soles his shoes rather than buying new ones.
In the same cackling breath, Senator McCain pretends to understand the economic hardships of the dwindling American middle class while obnoxiously hissing, "Who is the real Barack Obama?" At this point, I imagine voters are seriously wondering who the hell John McCain really is. Cliff Schecter, author of The Real McCain, helped me answer this question earlier today:
The McCains are real salt of the Earth folks. Twelve cars, eleven houses, 520-buck loafers, Cindy McCain's 300k RNC outfit especially made to pal around with domestic financial terrorists... you know average American kinda stuff.
Toss in Senator McCain's $8,500-a-month Hollywood makeup artist, and the fake "man of the people" maverick scam totally disintegrates. Underneath we find a spasmodic, filthy rich, Mr. Magoo -- a typical Bush Republican who embraces the same kind of divisive ratfuckery we've endured for too many years from the likes of Karl Rove, Lee Atwater, Richard Nixon (McCain has shamefully resurrected the Southern Strategy) and, most disturbingly, the politics of Joe McCarthy.
Yet last night, there was a convergence of news that, to me, helped to illustrate -- if not outright signal --an end to the dominance of this kind of chicanery.
There was Republican Congressman Robin Hayes who blurted out another nearsighted Republican lie about how liberals hate America. He immediately denied saying any such thing -- that is, until reporters discovered actual recordings of the quote. Duh. Anyway, you'll notice that Hayes used the Larry the Cable Guy catchphrase "git 'er done!" and its apparent derivation "got 'er did!" Yep. A member of your United States Congress. At the same time, news was breaking about Palin's ludicrous wardrobe bill. And then, on top of all of that, they announced the results of the latest NBC News / Wall Street Journal poll showing the McCain campaign falling desperately behind in just about every polling category. Among other indicators, Sarah Palin, it turns out, is even less popular than George W. Bush.
In a broad-stroke sense, it felt as if Americans were finally beginning to vocally reject this decade of "git 'er done" sophistry and fallacious Republican optics. It felt really damn good.
Now, granted, this election is far from over and the McCain-Palin campaign could still eke out a victory (don't take anything for granted!), but the light at the end of this dark ride is growing increasingly brighter by the day. Given the McCarthyism-meets-Nixonian tactics of the last week or two, it's not a moment too soon. The end of Larry the Cable Guy Politics as we know it -- this transparent redneck hustle the Republicans have injected into our lives every day -- appears to be receding into history.
We can only hope that in its place will emerge a rebirth of American intelligence, pragmatism, thoughtfulness and wisdom. After too many years of painted-on knee-jerk superficiality -- be it in the White House or talk radio or on the FOX News Channel (where blonde is the new smart) -- our national condition is starving for a return to reason and reality.