How strange is Herman Cain's latest poltical ad?
Stange enough that it bears no resemblance to a political ad until about a minute and 20 seconds into its nearly four-minute running time.
That's when "Justified" actor and Cain supporter Nick Searcy — playing himself, playing a cowboy — strikes back at two ne'er-do-wells who mock him for carrying flowers. Yellow flowers.
"Why's it always gotta be about color? What are you guys, liberals?" Searcy asks.
It's at this point — when the ad draws a false equivalency between flower color and skin color — that it starts seeming at least somewhat conventional. At least, more conventional than it has been up until this point.
The online-only ad has had more than 260,000 viewings since it went up in August, many of them in the last few days, thanks to the attention around Cain's "smoking" ad.
The Searcy ad's first minute consists of a Western parody in which Searcy rides through a desert landscape as type across the screen reads: "There was a time in America when a man was a man … and a horse was a horse … and a man on a horse was just a man on a horse… unless he carried YELLOW FLOWERS."
We won't pretend to have a clue about the symbolism or inside jokery in the loooooong lead-in. Searcy's actual pitch for Cain doesn't begin until after he slaps one of the liberals with the yellow flowers and the director of the film-within-the-ad yells cut.
Then, after abusing assistants and sipping an ultra-manly margarita — the kind of devil-may-care gesture also characteristic of the smoking ad — Searcy gets, finally, to his point:
"I've played a lot of tough guys in movies over the years," he tells viewers. "But you know what? Looking cool and saying lines that somebody else wrote for me doesn't make me a real tough guy. Anymore than looking cool and reading lines off a Teleprompter that somebody else wrote makes a community organizer a real leader. But Herman Cain is a real leader. He's accomplished real things in the real world." Searcy then hits the word "real" seven more times as he describes Cain's job creation advises viewers to take a "real look" at Cain.
Then he returns to filming the Western, and delivers the line, "OK punk, get real," which doesn't sound like something a real cowboy would really say. But why started quibbling now?
There's also some kind of baffling bird/chicken innuendo.