Presidential Campaigns Using Lots of Inappropriate Songs

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


mojo-photo-campaignsongs.jpg

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.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate