Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I'd use the "Team America" theme song

The Wall St Journal recently ran a story about the campaign songs used by presidential hopefuls. While none of the candidates technically have "official" themes (that happens post-nomination), most have one standard, and a few in heavy rotation. Considering the hilarious potential of the dichotomy between boring politicians and the tracks they don't even know they're endorsing (remember The Boss's backlash when Reagan tried for "Born in the USA"?), it's worth going down the list and checking them out, don't ya think?

John McCain used to spin Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" (guess he felt the Johnny Cash cover was a little lackluster) to get his crowds revved up - that is, until the Heartbreaker ordered a cease and desist. Still, great song, good theme. Which is probably why George W. Bush used it in his 2000 campaign (prompting a similar demand from Petty), and Democrat Jim Webb also employed it during his senate campaign (Petty made no such request in that case).

Cash is spun by Fred Thompson, who uses the Man in Black's "I've Been Everywhere," no doubt trying to convey that, contrary to popular belief, he actually, y'know, moves around and does stuff. Again, great song, but aside from pointing out that it's the nature of campaigns to travel - and, I guess, that he has experience - not really sure what it says about his bid.

Rudy Giuliani, apparently trying to appeal to 13-year-old girls (did anyone else just shudder?) and southerners, digs the good-time-pop-country of the Rascal Flatts. 'Nuff said. Mike Huckabee prefers standard rock request "Free Bird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd, everybody's favorite bigots. Bit of an odd choice, but dude's a rocker, and he wants us to know.

"Mess We're In" by Los Lobos - a suprisingly awesome and obscure choice for a presidential election - is Bill Richardson's pick, showcasing his Latino and southwestern roots. A unique tune for a unique candidate. John Edwards backer
John Mellencamp is the obvious choice for the son of a millworker working for the working class (what, he's holding out for Bruce until the general?).

But from my point of view, the best campaign song moment - and indeed, the best thing Hillary Clinton's campaign has done, so far - has been the Sopranos finale-parodying video in which she revealed her theme. Too bad it turned out to be...Celiene Dion's "You and I" (cue trombone wah-wah here). Great idea, terrible song. In contrast, Barack Obama generally pumps in Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours" over the soundsystem. And that pretty much says it all, doesn't it? Do you want Celiene Dion or Stevie Wonder? I rest my case.


Dave said...

For the record, Edwards plays Springsteen's "The Rising" after many speeches. I hate the Mellencamp song (because it was written for Chevy commercials) but so it goes.

John G. Potter said...

My bad. Can you call Mellencamp "the poor man's Bruce" if both are champions of poor men?