He stayed strong, stayed extra long
'Til they let all the other boys out.
Now we've got a real man with an American plan,
We're going to put him in the big White House.
—John Rich, "Raising McCain"
(Please, Lowell, sue for copyright infringement.)
Talk about a Target-Rich environment: John Rich, one half of country duo Big and Rich—the perfect slogan for today's Republican Party—has penned a little ditty to support John McCain.
I don't see it on YouTube, but I'm sure it's only a matter of minutes before some version appears*. But before I've even heard those growly manly strains, I'm already gagging at the macho B.S. being used to market the Republican nominee. "A real man"? As if Obama is not? As if machismo is a pre-requisite for the Presidency?
But we can't take any chances, says McCain's pop celebrity endorser:
The entire world is looking for a way to sucker punch us.... National security is absolutely at the top of the list of issues. That's why I think John McCain is the guy to keep us safe. [John Rich, quoted in Beth Fouhy, "Country Star John Rich Wants Fans 'Raising McCain,'" AP via Yahoo News, 2008.07.31].
You bet, Rich. Keep preaching fear. That's what being a real man is all about.
For all the apparent creative artistry of his little musical endorsement, Rich might do just as well to strum Stephen C. Foster's classic "Little Mac! Little Mac!" an ugly little campaign song for General McLellan's run against Lincoln. (Note: Dems, be embarrassed: this song was for our party's guy in 1864.)
Compare this country cud to the will.i.am composition from January—you know, the one that has gotten over 8 million hits on YouTube? Where Rich captures the essence of modern GOP politics, the seemingly paradoxical combination of macho bull and fear-mongering, will.i.am captures the essence of the Obama campaign: hope, inspiration, and community. Where Rich gives us doggerel, will.i.am takes words from the Democratic nominee himself, words delivered in the face of a surprising defeat (remember the New Hampshire primary), and sets them to music to rally supporters to keep fighting the "chorus of cynics" to make their "unlikely story" come true.
Roll out your video, Mr. Rich. Fly the fear, the flag, the fighter jets. You'll never match this poetry:
...we will remember
that there is something happening in America,
that we are not as divided as our politics suggest,
that we are one people,
we are one nation.
And, together, we will begin
the next great chapter in the American story,
with three words that will ring
from coast to coast, from sea to shining sea:
Yes, we can.
[Senator Barack Obama, speech to supporters following the New Hampshire primary, 2008.01.08]
Update 2008.08.01 10:37 CDT: Folks looking for free downloads, rejoice! PP's on top of things, posting an mp3 of the Rich McCain song. As party music, it's not bad, but it's still mostly rhythm and volume trying to compensate for slick, formulaic pop-country. Save PP's bandwidth: click here to listen to the song on the Madville Times podcast!