Talkin' trash to the garbage around me.

02 September, 2007

Authenticity

I don't think there's any doubt that one of the driving tropes of presidential politics is the marketing of the candidate as "authentic." Someone like "us" who's able to understand "our" problems. Someone who you could sit down and hash things out over a beer.

I find this particular psychological need of the electorate to be somewhat absurd. The thought that any of the quasi-aristocracy who make up the top tier of candidates are like us is unbelievable to begin with, and the assumption that "authenticity" means that someone is capable of governing has proven to be disastrous. But that doesn't stop candidates and their consultants from trying to demonstrate it.

The top tier of Dems (again) seem to be lacking in any sort of authenticity. In fact, on the left, the only candidates who do seem genuine are Kucinich (an authentic New Age vegan liberal) and Gravel (an authentic cranky old coot). The top tier of the GOP doesn't fare much better - a mayor who seemed to hold his cool on one horrible day (but pretty much fucked everything else up), a governor whose positions have changed as he's re-focused his ambitions, and a former senator from down south who's, well... an actor.

Which leads us to Mike Huckabee, who, for the moment, seems to have had the media tag him with the authentic label. Now, not in a million years would I cast a vote for this guy, what with his social conservatism and advocacy for the harebrained f41r +@x. But I have to admit that after reading this, I like him as a person just a little bit more:
Former Arkansas governor and now presidential candidate Mike Huckabee sounded almost indignant last week describing how police in his home state charged Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards with reckless driving back in the 1970s. When Huckabee met Richards last year, he righted that perceived wrong by pardoning the rock star. Cynics accused Huckabee of giving the famous special treatment, saying he wouldn't pardon the average citizen. To which Huckabee responded: "No, I wouldn't. . . . But here's the deal: If you can play guitar like Keith Richards, I'd do it for you."

Should Huckabee shoot the moon and actually win, you can bet I'll be practicing my "Street Fighting Man" licks.

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