HOT DISH: Carrie Underwood’s Hit Should Be Theme for Politicians’ Wives

Message of "Before He Cheats" Makes More Sense Than "Stand by Your Man"

(CMT Hot Dish is a weekly feature written by veteran columnist Hazel Smith. Author of the cookbook, Hazel’s Hot Dish: Cookin’ With Country Stars, she also hosts CMT’s Southern Fried Flicks With Hazel Smith and shares her recipes at

History was sure enough made with the resignation of Eliot Spitzer as governor of New York for his involvement with a prostitute and the swearing in of David Paterson as the first black governor of the state and only the second blind governor in the whole U.S.A. I thought things were settling down when, Lordy mercy, Paterson admitted he’s had extramarital affairs in the past — and so has his wife. “But we worked it out,” said his honor after the swearing-in ceremony.

Like Mrs. Spitzer before her, Mrs. Paterson remained silent. That’s more movie fodder, and I’m betting hit songwriter Craig Wiseman has got a verse and chorus of Kenny Chesney’s next smash — probably titled something close to “If the Lord Can Forgive Me, So Can She.”

I came across an article that Matthew Dowd, an ABC News political contributor, wrote before Paterson’s admission. Dowd has apparently spilled political ink here and there, and in doing so, he’s developed quite a sense of humor. He wondered when these high-profile political wives would no longer be a “Stand by Your Man” wife (like Tammy Wynette’s song) and become a “Before He Cheats” wife (like Carrie Underwood’s song) and take a Louisville slugger to both headlights! I do like a man who knows his country music.

Dowd suggests we look back over the past 25 years at the wives who have followed the Tammy routine. They’re highly successful, beautiful, caring women — seemingly independent professionals — who have dedicated their lives to their husbands’ careers and then stood by their man’s side like Mrs. Spitzer did during a press conference. Let me ask, wouldn’t you like to see one of those gals punch out the abusive cheater during the press conference in public in front of God and everybody? Boy, I would.

We need to say a prayer for Mrs. Spitzer and, like Dowd said, “send words of support and encouragement” to women like her. “And let them know we have reached a point in society that its time for more Carries and less Tammys,” adds Dowd. Here’s where you say amen.

Matthew Dowd, wherever you are, I feel good knowing someone as close to political news as you are still has a sense of humor. Keep your music country. It’ll make you a wiser writer.

“Viva Viagra”
There was a call for bluegrass musicians to record music for an upcoming Viagra commercial. The remote possibility of mailbox money for a bluegrasser is just shy of a miracle of the Lord, so they all showed up and tried out. The commercial is done, and it features fiddler Kenny Kosek, banjo player Eric Weissburg (who played “Dueling Banjos” for the Deliverance film soundtrack) and singer-guitarist Terry Eldredge (of the Grascals). Of course, the commercial is sung to the tune of “Viva Las Vegas.”

I wonder if Gov. Paterson has heard of this product? They talk about it on television like it’s some sort of household cleaning product.

Carrie Makes a Major Career Move
Carrie Underwood will be inducted as a Grand Ole Opry member on May 10. Randy Travis extended the invitation during Carrie’s March 15 appearance on the show. Afterwards, Carrie allowed, “Walking back, I saw the photographs on the wall of all the ladies — Dolly, Martina — and I thought, ’That’s gonna be me. I’m gonna be up there.'” She added, “I love being a part of country music. It honors people who came before us. I love being a part of that tradition.”

Toby Keith Plans Fifth Annual Charity Golf Tournament
Toby Keith’s fifth annual golf classic to benefit Oklahoma children with cancer is set for June 6-7 at Belmar Golf Course in Norman, Okla. The affair kicks off at the Riverwind Casino, where Toby will host a live auction featuring autographed items from celebrities and trips to various events across the nation. All money goes to Ally’s House, which is named for Allison Webb, daughter of Toby’s friend and former bandmate Scott Webb. Ally died of cancer in August of 2003, a month shy of her third birthday. To date, Toby and his foundation have raised more than $1.5 million for the charity.

CMT, I’m So Proud
Who can draw the largest contingent of superstars on one stage to perform on the same night? The unbelievable list for the 2008 CMT Music Awards now includes Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, LeAnn Rimes, Keith Urban, Brooks & Dunn, Carrie Underwood, Sugarland, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Toby Keith, Alan Jackson, Taylor Swift and hosts Billy Ray Cyrus and Miley Cyrus.

To me, this is the most important awards show today because it’s the only one that’s fan-voted in all categories. What the fans think is more important than what the music industry thinks. The music industry has an agenda, but fans have a heart for the makers of music.

More News
Martina McBride, one of country music’s top female touring acts, is set to bring her powerful live concert to the fans with the April 29 release of Martina McBride Live in Concert. The package will contain an eight-song live CD with a bonus live concert DVD.

Luke Bryan and wife Caroline named their firstborn Thomas Boyer “Bo” Bryan. Born March 18, Bo weighed 6 pounds, 14 ounces and was 20 inches long.

Brad Paisley outdrew all country acts at this year’s Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo with 73,003 paying attendees helping him set the prestigious attendance record.

Julio Iglesias Jr., who won CMT’s Gone Country competition, has joined the Country Music Association — something his daddy never did when he and Willie Nelson had that mega-hit duet, “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before,” in 1984.

The Country Cares advisory board of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has added seven new board members from the music and radio industries. I am proud to announce that Keith Urban is the first artist to be named an honorary board member.

The Berklee College of Music presented Ricky Skaggs with an honorary doctorate degree last Tuesday (March 18) in Nashville. Ricky, always such a perfectionist with his music, was called “Picky Ricky” early in his career. I never called him “Picky Ricky,” but must I now call him “Dr. Ricky”?

According to the Dallas Morning News, the two police officers accused of holding Steve Holy and a friend at gunpoint at the singer’s home in December have been formally indicted by a grand jury. Both are charged with aggravated assault, and one of them is facing kidnapping charges. If convicted of the felony charges, they could face 20 years in prison.

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Cheesy Peas and Asparagus ala Michael.