Allow me to interrupt your Memorial Day to pick a nit: I’m officially over the fake cowboy stuff in American politics:
The only thing getting grilled at John McCain’s Arizona ranch this weekend is the ribs, despite speculation that the McCain’s heavy-hitter guest list at the Memorial Day barbecue will be auditioning for the Republican vice presidential post.
“This was purely social. Anyone who know John knows he is like a kid at Christmas showing off his ranch…," [Lindsey] Graham said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
For the record, everyone: a big fancy estate on hundreds of acres of private property, situated west of the Mississippi, is not, ipso facto, a "ranch." Wiki gets it right:
A ranch is an area of landscape, including various structures, given primarily to the practice of ranching, the practice of raising grazing livestock such as cattle or sheep for meat or wool.
Unfortunately, LBJ probably started this increasingly annoying "the President has to be a rancher" tradition. Sure, it was a pose, but at least LBJ was a direct descendent of Texas cattlemen and he actually raised and sold cattle on his land, making his Johnson City ranch an actual ranch.
Then came Reagan, who dressed up as a cowboy for a living before he got into politics, and was right at home dressing up as a cowboy when he was President, riding horses around his tony, Santa Barbara property in the hills — within spitting distance of fancy California wineries and snobby fusion restaurants — while calling it his "ranch." And the media happily playing along.
But W. took Reagan’s pose to new heights when he wanted to cowboy-up for his run for preznit. So in 1999, he cynically bought 1600 acres of land in some godforsaken town near Waco, where he’s made a big show of periodically clearing brush for the cameras. And even though Bush admitted the grasses around his "ranch" aren’t suitable for cattle, the media still treat him like some big tough Texas rancher cowboy guy.
So now, based on the coverage of St. McCain’s veep sweepstakes over the weekend — he’s a big western rancher, too.
Make. It. Stop.
Another good reason to vote Obama: when he goes on vacation, you won’t catch him playing dress-up cowboy at a fake ranch.