Hip is not something you can fake. You either have it or you don't. And trying to fake it and failing is simply pitiful.
Thus we saw Tim Pawlenty last weekend at the Iowa College Republicans, awkwardly dropping the pop culture references his staffers fed him: “If this was a Lady Gaga song, the relationship between the youth vote and Barack Obama would be ‘Bad Romance.’”
"I'm a free bitch, baby," responded Sarah Palin via Twitter.*
C'mon, TPaw. You REALLY wanna go there? Have you ever actually LISTENED to Lady Gaga? Like that hit that just wrapped up six weeks at number one:
Don't be a drag, just be a queen
Whether you're broke or evergreen
You're black, white, beige, chola descent
You're lebanese, you're orient
Whether life's disabilities
Left you outcast, bullied, or teased
Rejoice and love yourself today
'Cause baby you were born this way
No matter gay, straight, or bi,
Lesbian, transgendered life
I'm on the right track baby
I was born to survive
Not exactly the artist you want to be invoking in an Iowa Republican caucus without clearing it with Bob Vander Plaats first. You need more born again, less "Born This Way."
The guy who gets this is Mike Huckabee. The way a Republican candidate needs to deal with pop culture is the full Murphy Brown:
One of the things that's troubling is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts of, 'Hey look, you know, we're having children, we're not married, but we're having these children, and they're doing just fine.' But there aren't really a lot of single moms out there who are making millions of dollars every year for being in a movie.Straight from the Dan Quayle script.
Preachy? Sure. Preaching to the base. The people you need to get to a Republican caucus either doesn't know who Lady Gaga is, knows her only as "the crazy lady in the meat dress," or if they DO know anything about her through accidental osmosis from their teenagers, they're offended. (Her next single, due out April 19, is titled "Judas.")
The only good thing for Pawlenty is that the reference doesn't seem to have come to Lady Gaga's attention. You don't want to piss off a woman who speaks her mind and has nine million Twitter followers. (Obama's only got seven million. You, TPaw, have 29,000.)
Still, it's not the worst thing that's happened to TPaw in Iowa this week. And it's not the most pitiful attempt by a Republican candidate to look cool:
But Mitt can't help it. He was born this way. **
* for the unhip: that's a lyrical reference.
** for the unhip: that's a lyrical reference.