Tuesday, August 05, 2008

File This Under "WTF?"

Now, admittedly, the demographics in this Presidential race make small niches groups key in any McCain victory, since Obama seems to be drawing a broad audience and is generally ahead in the game (despite recent polls).

But this?
Here at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the annual gathering of all things leather, Harley and free as the wind across an open plain, Senator John McCain came to ask for the votes of America’s bikers.

“It will be a good day on election day if there are a lot of bikes parked outside polling places,” Mr. McCain said, at a tribute to veterans and those who serve in the military held in the midst of the ongoing party that locals says consumes this part of the country for several weeks.

The image of Harley Davidson and the whole motorcycle culture seems to be taking a hit here. Somehow, linking the "what the hell" attitude of bike riders with John McCain, despite his faux image as a maverick, seems one of the more absurd pieces in the political theatre that is America.

And yet...
The rally has been known for its wilder days but it, like its devotees, is getting on in years. This was the 68th Sturgis and the atmosphere was suitably respectful (give or take a few naughty signs, T-shirts and encounters). The men, most commonly dressed in black shirts, jeans and boots, doffed their caps and head scarves at key moments during the pre-McCain program honoring veterans.
Truly, things do get a bit long in the tooth after 68 years, and presumably many of those attending, drawn by a concert performed by Kid Rock and Kellie Pickler-- lest you thought McCain could draw more people than could fit in a phone booth by himself-- were like McCain, former Viet Nam veterans paying respects to one of their own.

Still, there's a surreality to the entire proceeding. McCain will talk about gas prices, I'm sure, and then go on to talk about...Iraq? To men who have fought a war and probably know a thing or two about clusterfucks?

This is probably more his target audience: naked old men lost over the wilderness: