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Smells Like Governance

MJ: What lessons do you take away from the presidential campaign?

KN: Democrats need some coherent policy proposals that are easy for people to digest. Bush ran for something. A lot of Democrats ran against Bush. That just doesn't get you anywhere. That's part of a bad trend on the left. Lefties are always bagging on Fox News and on talk radio. I think that progressives should be advocating policy: "Here's our health care plan. Here's our plan for peace. Here's our plan for prosperity." Why get hung up on all that Rush Limbaugh crap? It's all garbage. People want something positive.

MJ: Which artist do you think is most successful at galvanizing people politically?

KN: I love the new Green Day record. It's a masterpiece. It's ambitious musically, it's ambitious in what it wants to say, and I think it succeeds tremendously in both ways. In general, I'm excited that musicians are speaking out and not falling for that idea that "musicians shouldn't say things." Democracy is everybody's business.

MJ: Do you have a favorite political song?

KN: It's really hard to top Bob Dylan's "Masters of War."

MJ: What about a campaign song?

KN: "Don't Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)." That was a good one. The music rallies people. When someone like Bruce Springsteen endorses a candidate, it's something that even a former president can't offer. It's sublime, because people connect with music. But then again, you shouldn't hold it against musicians because they endorsed Bush or endorsed Kerry. Like the people who call the Dixie Chicks sluts and whores—it seems like you can't have a political discourse anymore. And if they voted for Bush, it doesn't mean they're idiots. Don't hang up on people, or how are you going to get things done?

MJ: Are you in a band?

KN: No. I'm doing politics pretty much full time. Music is still my passion, but I realized last year that I had this habit where I had to be in a band—always. It was like, "Oh my god, I'm not in a band." Then I realized, I don't need to do that. I can just play and have fun.

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