Presidential Campaigns Using Lots of Inappropriate Songs

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I posted on the night of the New Hampshire primaries that the Romney campaign headquarters hosted a performance of Stone Temple Pilots’ “Crush,” a song that features both some ironically appropriate lyrics and some uncomfortably weird ones. Turns out that using inappropriate songs is a bit of an epidemic in the presidential campaigns, reports the Washington Post. First, they point out two of Hillary Clinton’s choices for tunes at campaign rallies: Tom Petty’s “American Girl” and Bachman Turner Overdrive’s “Takin’ Care of Business,” both of which have some uncomfortable lyrical ironies:

The title of the first song suggests a kind of patriotic autobiography. The second is supposed to say something about Clinton’s can-do style. Except that “Takin’ Care of Business” is actually about not taking care of business. The ’70s-era rock number (which George W. Bush also used in a 2004 campaign video) is from the point of view of a slacker: “People see you having fun/Just a-lying in the sun/Tell them that you like it this way.” The lyrics go on to add, “It’s the work that we avoid/And we’re all self-employed/We love to work at nothing all day.” … “American Girl” is about an American girl, all right. But it’s not about her patriotism. It’s about the shattering of her romantic dreams: “And for one desperate moment there/He crept back in her memory/God, it’s so painful/Something that’s so close/And still so far out of reach.”

Of course, the article points out, George W. Bush had a hard time using any music at campaign rallies, since artists including Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Orleans, Tom Petty, and Sting complained about Bush using their songs. While Clinton hasn’t been playing their Celine Dion track much lately, that choice in and of itself should have been enough to make anyone an Obama supporter, although as Gary points out below, there’s no accounting for taste.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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