January 9, 1998 in City

He Won A Place At The Chauvinist Pig Trough Success Story Male, White And Breathing, He Had What It Takes.

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Was Sonny Bono’s lightweight reputation deserved or did his political career prove the critics wrong?

This is no time to start calling for the canonization of Sonny Bono.

With all due respect, Bono’s biggest achievement was the perfection of a memorable persona, that of the affable doofus. It managed to carry him, a singer without a voice, to the top of the pop charts and all the way to Congress.

Americans love honesty. The secret to Sonny Bono’s goofball image was its authenticity.

Bono never finished high school; didn’t register to vote until he was 53. These are not the signs of a brilliant intellect, of driving ambition or even responsible citizenship.

After Bono’s death, producer Dick Clark said, “You see him on the television shows with the animal skins and the bell bottoms and think, ‘This guy went through the halls of Congress?’ There’s a moral in there somewhere.”

There’s a moral, all right. It’s a moral about the American Dream. Even Bono himself said, upon being elected to lead Palm Springs, only in America could a guy like him become mayor.

Only in America. The rules of the American Dream say this: Any doofus who is white, male and reasonably hard-working can get ahead. Women and minorities know that rule doesn’t apply to them. How many D-average women have you met who have achieved both fame and political stature? What about members of various minority groups who failed to finish high school? How many African-Americans, Asians or Hispanics have managed to ride a dim-bulb image to political and popular success?

That’s the beauty of the American Dream. Its rules are so darned simple. Perhaps it’s that very simplicity which made the candidacy of Sonny Bono irresistible to the Republican Party.

Sonny Bono rose above mediocrity in several respects. Out of his four marriages, he managed to marry at least one very amazing woman.

Beyond that, Sonny wore a bobcat vest about as well as it’s possible to wear one. His voice whined like a police siren. He never sunk the Love Boat.

Sonny was all that makes America great, if you’re white and you’re male. The American Dream personified, he got the last laugh, Babe.

, DataTimes MEMO: See opposing view under the headline: Score big one for the common man

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = EDITORIAL, COLUMN - From both sides CREDIT = Jamie Tobias Neely/Editorial writer

See opposing view under the headline: Score big one for the common man

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = EDITORIAL, COLUMN - From both sides CREDIT = Jamie Tobias Neely/Editorial writer


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