Thursday, January 21, 2010

Falling for a pickup line

"Hey, baby. What's a classy voter like you doin' in a state like this?"

In Texas, pickup trucks were ubiquitous. It didn't matter that most people didn't haul daily loads other than their own derrieres (with rare weekend Home Depot trips). Pickup trucks were king. They spoke to Texan values: rugged toughness, forthrightness, a willingness to do hard work.

Photo from the White House archives

It wasn't a surprise that as President, George W. Bush was often seen driving a pickup on his Crawford ranch, even taking foreign dignitaries along on drives. After all, it was this down home, "aw shucks," cowboy-next-door quality that helped to get him elected. He ran as a pickup-driving Texan, not as a Connecticut-born Yalie.

When I left Texas, I thought I'd left pickups behind. They were rare here in Massachusetts. Those who own them seem to actually use them in their daily work. Contractors and such. Unfortunately, this proved not to be the case. Pickup trucks and pretty boys. They always score big in Texas, and it's now obvious that liberal Massachusetts isn't immune to those charms.

According to Reuters, Scott Brown stated in his victory party, "I'm Scott Brown. I'm from Wrentham. I drive a truck. And I'm nobody's senator but yours." According to USAToday, "Brown put his 2005 GMC Canyon pickup with 200,000 miles on the odometer front and center in the campaign, showing up at campaign rallies in it and using it in television ads." He understood the power of a symbol. A symbol of honesty, humility, hard work, of simpler times and American values. He understood how many people yearned for those simpler times, even the left-leaning voters of Massachusetts.

And so...Massachusetts fell for a pickup line. Let's hope it doesn't lead to a hungover morning after.

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