On Monday, in the face of rising gas prices that may well devastate American consumers, “Late Night” host Stephen Colbert pontificated from his elitist perch, “Today, the average gas price in America hit an all-time record high of over $4/gallon. OK, that stings, but a clean conscience is worth a buck or two. It’s important. I’m willing to pay $4/gallon. Hell, I’ll pay $15 a gallon b/c I drive a Tesla.”
On the same day, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg was pilloried for touting electric vehicles as a solution for rising gas prices; he lauded the nationwide electric vehicle charging network the Biden administration is pushing, saying that Americans from “rural to urban to suburban communities can all benefit from the gas savings of driving an EV.”
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) fired back, “Tell me you’re a liberal elite without telling me you’re a liberal elite.”
Colbert’s contempt for rural America was demonstrated as far back as May 2019; the cold open for his show opened by mocking farmers, intimating that if their finances were hurt by President Trump’s tariffs targeting China, those country-dumb bumpkins would lose their wives to convicts, start stripping for a living, become alcoholics, and soon make a living growing marijuana.
The show began by playing a clip from a CNN report that claimed President Trump’s “trade war [is] having a major impact on American farmers after talks with China have halted. Some farmers seem to be losing hope.” CNN then played a clip of a farmer who said he had voted for Trump in 2016 but would not do so again.
The show then played a cartoon titled, “The Farmer in the Dell,” based on the famous children’s song, but this time with new lyrics, accompanied by the visuals in the cartoon:
Tariffs posed by Trump
Put the farmers in a dump
Oh no, the derry-o, the farmer’s in a slump.
The farmer lost his wife.
She wants a better life.
She ran off with an ex-convict who rides a b****in’ bike.
The farmer needs a job.
He’s stripping while he sobs.
Hi-ho the stripper pole, they’re laughing at his knob.
The farmer drinks a lot,
His liver starts to rot.
Chuggitiy-chug the winey-o
Time to start growing pot.
As Caleb Howe noted of the cartoon, “It’s oddly focused on stereotypes about farmers or laborers. After the wife leaving for a convict line, I was genuinely surprised they didn’t draw a gap in the cartoon farmer’s teeth. One hardly has to use a vivid imagination to think of other groups of people about whom such a video would generate genuine and widespread outrage.”
Colbert loves to mock folks who might have a country twang; he mocked Sarah Palin in January 2016 after she endorsed Donald Trump for president. He said:
Sarah Palin just guaranteed Trump the evangelical vote because I think she was speaking in tongues. I just wish she could endorse every candidate, because it would sound something like this: First, let me just tase the part of my brain that understands sentence structure. Okey-dokey. Here we go-key. Greetings and welcomes to all across Americans, you go-getters and toe-tappers. You Motor-City madmen, I’m here to support the next president of all our states …
After that, Colbert had Palin endorse various candidates, including Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, and Sebastian the crab from the film “The Little Mermaid,” before concluding, “which is why I’m endorsing the next president of the United States, Sarah Palin. This has been my inauguration.”