Not since U2 gave its new album to every Apple iTunes user whether they wanted it or not has music felt this much like a threat.
Produced by a group called Stand with Hillary, the country music video walks a fine line between over-earnest promotion and accidental satire. But the group behind the clip appears to be completely sincere. The Washington Post reports that Stand with Hillary’s creators are “Daniel Chavez, a longtime Democratic political operative, and media producer Miguel Orozco.” Orozco wrote the song which is a very different flavor from his previous efforts for Obama in 2008.
The clip features a bearded country singer singing Clinton’s praises with lyrics such as “And now it’s 2016 and this time I’m a thinkin’, guys put your boots on and let’s smash this ceiling.” That comes as the lead singer in the clip (who also drives an earth mover to show how blue collar he is) smashes a glass panel with a sledge hammer.
There are many flavors of country music but if I had to identify one defining characteristic of the genre it would be a certain striving for honesty and authenticity in the lyrics. That makes it a very odd fit for Hillary Clinton who is better known for being predictable and inauthentic.
Don’t get me wrong, Hillary’s real life seems well-suited for a country song, the kind that wrestles with some of the obvious struggles in her marriage and the apparent contradictions with her public persona, but this song is not shooting for anything like honesty or genuine insight. The only surprise in these lyrics is that Hillary is not proclaimed a secret, lifelong NASCAR fan.
The closest the song gets to Hillary’s actual life comes in this line from the chorus, “she’s a mother, daughter and through it all she’s a loving wife.” Through it all? That’s an exceedingly gentle way to refer to decades of humiliating scandal generated by her husbands not-so-secret affairs and (sometimes uninvited) gropings.
Perhaps there is a small niche of progressive country fans for whom this will hit the spot. The equivalent really did work for Obama fans in 2008, but then Obama always had the mantle of youth and cool.
The country clip seems more likely to inspire parody than imitation. After all, there are lots of things that can be made to rhyme with Hillary. Benghazi for one. And how about “vast-right-wing-conspiracEEEeee.” Someone will get bonus points for squeezing it “at this point what difference does it make.”
But why stop with Hillary? What a shame it is that Anthony Weiner isn’t running for President in 2016. Now that would make for a great country song.