- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 26, 2005

Burt Reynolds, who has a supporting role in the remake of one of his most famous movies, “The Longest Yard,” was a red-state kind of celebrity before we even knew what a red state was. The Florida-born actor was, and is, a just-folks celebrity who could hoist city slickers with their own petard. Only, he’d never use the word petard. And neither would these five populists:

Kid Rock — The rap-metal screamer may be from Detroit, but he’s a cowboy to the core. He performs for American soldiers and sailors, swills Budweiser and isn’t afraid to date Pamela Anderson.

The Rock — The native Californian was known as Dwayne Johnson before becoming a star in the red-state sport of wrestling (second only to NASCAR). He came out for President Bush in 2000. We’re thinking he’s not too worried about the latte demographic.

John Mellencamp —Just because he’s a lefty doesn’t mean this son of a redder-than-red state (Indiana) doesn’t qualify. We’re sure he means it when he sings that he can “breathe in a small town”: It’s still OK to smoke there.

Toby Keith Sure, a lot of country singers might fit this bill, but who more than Toby “You’ll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A.” Keith?

—Dolly Parton — No matter what her first hit single said, the country queen is no “dumb blond.” She just plays one on TV and, so, has endeared herself to millions. She takes care to include at least one religious song on her albums and, best yet, has a Tennessee theme park named for her.

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