There are outsiders and then there are outsiders. Barack Obama has run his candidacy as an outsider claiming immunity to the groupthink and cynicism that affects those who have spent years in spitting distance of Washington institutions, but with a firm respect for the institutions themselves. That’s the good kind. Sarah Palin and George W. Bush are the other kind, whose outsiderism comes from little more than a sneering disdain for the institutions themselves.
It’s often asked how in hell George W. Bush ran as an outsider in 2000 with better connections to classic Washington power structures than anyone to seek the presidency since RFK. Watching Sarah Palin, I finally see that he really was one. It didn’t matter who he had access to. To him, any of their accomplishments and expertise were of no more value than his brush-clearing skills anyway. His chief qualification was having never lost the part of us that gets bored at dinner with our mothers’ friends when we’re twelve. It was all boring goofy talk to him, and it’s all boring goofy talk to Sarah Palin.
It’s that kind of thinking that deems it perfectly reasonable to hire a childhood friend to run a $2 million dollar agriculture agency in Alaska, as Palin did, because she likes cows, or to hire the Judges and Stewards Commissioner for the International Arabian Horse Association to run FEMA. When you think all these organizations are a waste of time anyway, why not just hook your buddies up with a cush job?
And so, even though our appetite to be governed by a silly movie hero who rolls into town in a pickup truck armed with little more than intuition and decisiveness has a body count, folks are lining up to do it again with Sarah Palin. How is novelty still novel after eight years? Why are people excited about someone whose solution to everything is to “shake things up” when we’re already a nation with a case of Shaken Baby Syndrome?
Our new song “A Stranger Rolls in on a Truck” is our punk rock musing on this question – enjoy.
When a stranger rides in on a truck and talks about shaking it up
And lays it on down like a new cop in town to applauses both shrill and abrupt
In a frenzied media splash, incompetence dressed as panache
it will slip right on by with a glint in her eye and a sparkling photography flash
A scientist and a quack, a populist and a hack
Are divided by lines clear and defined with beginnings and endings exact
If an era of death and decline can’t rub off novelty’s shine
Than pass me the pills, we’ll drink ’til we’re all and we’ll sleep it off some other time
How many times can we fall ’til we find, that boredom is beauty and dull is divine
But we melt into water with each folksy line and they’re laughing and lapping it up
And our eyes go aflutter year after year as the charming offensive opens our ears
Quickly forgetting how we made it here simply stuck from a stranger who rode in on a truck
The more that you learn the less that you know, how does nonsense like that ever go
Over with any, let alone many when you figure that out let me know
So when they strut in slowly and cool, thumbing their nose at the rules
Be it cowgirls or cowboys, like gun-slinging androids, a fine kind of freshness for fools
We’ll be shaking our heads in disgust when we see how they pull of identical moves to a tee
Feet in our mouths, getting kicked in the teeth saying sorry, you’re shit out of luck
So save us from fake-outs of false confidence, shrill speaking voices of decisiveness
Determination transmogrified into trust by a stranger who rode in on a truck
How much time will it take to find that boredom is beauty and dull is divine
We drool over each ridiculous line hands clapping, lapping it up
Our eyes go aflutter year after year with the charming offensive plugged in our ears
Resigned to the fact that we’re staying here simply stuck with a stranger who rode in on a truck
We’ll have a better mix of this up soon. We’re still recovering from our studio/engineer moving to Portland. Bear with us.
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