Sunday, February 04, 2007

Candidates' theme songs are second hand news

The Democratic presidential contenders have chosen their theme songs. They're mostly Boomer bait, reflecting the calculus about what voters are paying attention and who is most likely to vote. They tell us as much about the candidates as the contents of Hillary Clinton's iPod.

All of the candidates on display -- former Gen. Wesley Clark, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, former vice presidential nominee John Edwards, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, and Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois -- were allowed to select their entrance and exit songs for their speeches here at the Democratic National Committee’s winter meeting. And all of Friday’s speakers followed through except Obama, whose campaign chose not to play music before and after his remarks.

If you've been looking for a reason to like Obama, there's one. Although the absence of a theme song, I suppose, is just as calculated and focus group-tested as the presence of one. Others selected the following:

  • Chris Dodd: “Get Ready” by the Temptations and “Reach Out, I’ll Be There” by the Four Tops.
  • Wesley Clark: Johnny Cash’s cover of “Won’t Back Down” by Tom Petty
  • John Edwards: “Our Country” by John Cougar Mellencamp
  • Dennis Kucinich: “America, the Beautiful.”
  • Joe Biden: John Fogerty’s “Centerfield.”
  • Tom Vilsack: "Let the Day Begin" by The Call and the Four Tops’ “Reach Out, I'll Be There"

You may remember that the theme song from Pres. Clinton's successful 1996 re-election campaign was Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop (Thinking about Tomorrow)". I for one was disappointed that Sen. Clinton didn't honor that campaign by choosing the obvious follow-up song from the same album: "Second Hand News." Instead, she characteristically reaches out to two different constituencies: she entered with the hooky but lyrically vacant Gen X anthem “Right Here, Right Now” by Jesus Jones, and exited the hooky but lyrically vacant Boomer anthem “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet” by Bachman-Turner Overdrive. The guys from BTO will be overjoyed, but somewhere Lindsey Buckingham is crying.

The soundtrack of their campaigns - Politics -

ADDED: I should acknowledge that selecting a candidate's theme song is serious business. Ross Perot got a lot of heat for selecting Patsy Cline's "Crazy" as his campaign theme, while Alan Keyes took heat for crowdsurfing at a Rage Against the Machine concert.

But that doesn't mean that we can't have fun with it. In the comments, Lance nominates "War Pigs" as a good candidate song. What song would you nominate for a given politician? Let's stay away from the obvious (John Edwards: "I Feel Pretty") and the nasty (Pat Buchanan: "Uber Alles"). Obscure is okay (GW Bush: Skinny Puppy's "VX Gas Attack").

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Lance said...

Edwards' choice is especially nauseating.

I'd be tempted to vote for the first candidate to change to >"War Pigs".

Clancy said...

I kind of figured there'd be some James Taylor in there somewhere.

"War Pigs" would be just flawless. HAW!