The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Budd McLaughlin

August 30, 2012

GOP convention artists have bombast covered

— Depending on how you feel about political conventions, the quadrennial soirees can either serve to galvanize the Republican and Democratic parties or they function simply as a meaningless song and dance.

One thing’s for sure, however — there will be plenty of singing and dancing at both. Besides, what’s the point in a politician delivering a message he or she can’t deliver on if they aren’t backed by an anthem of optimism and/or patriotism?

A story published Monday on Rolling Stone’s website detailed the entertainers who would be performing at this week’s GOP convention in Tampa, Fla. Mostly spared by Hurricane Isaac’s wrath, the Republican faithful were scheduled to get their groove on starting Tuesday.

Some of the artists scheduled to perform at the GOP’s bash included Lynyrd Skynyrd (predictable), Zac Brown Band (no surprise there), Taylor Hicks (whose “Jam Cruise” was busted for drugs earlier this year), Journey (head-scratcher) and Kid Rock (real head-scratcher).

When Skynyrd lead singer Johnny Van Zant was asked by Rolling Stone if the band would be playing “Whiskey Rock-a-Roller” to a conservative crowd, he offered a very Romneyesque response: “Rich people like to party, too.”

Surprisingly not on the bill is gun-toting lunatic Ted Nugent, who was investigated by the Secret Service earlier this year after proclaiming that if President Obama were re-elected, Nugent would be dead or in jail.

Kid Rock’s appearance in front of a group of moral conservatives is truly fascinating indeed. Clearly, no one bothered to investigate any of his lyrics prior to his recent change in musical direction from hardcore rapper to Bob Seger-esque patriot crooner.

A Rolling Stone writer reportedly quoted some of Kid Rock’s lyrics to a Romney spokesperson. Some of those lyrics include:

“I like *****, suckin’ on *******/ ****** a lot of different ******* from a bunch of different cities / Been fuelin' up on cocaine and whiskey,” and “I don’t want to be your friend/ I want to **** you like I’m never gonna see you again.”

Of course, this being a family-friendly newspaper, I omitted a few words. However, depending on your ability to rhyme and/or fill in blanks, you can probably figure out Rock’s philosophical principles.

The Romney spokesperson’s response to the lyrics? “Umm, hmmm … right, OK. … Let me check on this stuff and I’ll get back to you.”

So maybe Rock wasn’t the best or most logical choice for conservatives, especially when they had so many to choose from. As a matter of fact, website has a pretty comprehensive list to choose from. Some of those artists include Alice Cooper (wholesome, right?), Jeff “Skunk” Baxter (formerly of the Doobie Brothers; yes, “Doobie”), Joe Perry (Aerosmith guitarist; he and Steven Tyler were dubbed the “Toxic Twins” in the 1970s), LeAnn Rimes (didn’t she cheat on her husband?), Dave Mustaine (lead singer of Megadeth; yes, Megadeth), Frank Sinatra (still dead, last I checked), Britney Spears (I don’t know where to start) and Randy Travis (he’s had some troubles lately).

One recording artist I was shocked to see not on the list of entertainers at the GOP convention was Lee Greenwood, Mr. “Good Bless the USA” himself. Since when have Republicans been allowed to assemble and not have that song played?

All this marveling at the GOP’s choices has made me curious to see who the Dems will pick to entertain them. While they may not be able to pick some of the aforementioned artists, they basically have their pick of … well … every other recording artist.

If President Obama’s smart, he’ll hire the Rolling Stones. Then again, he may be so desperate for votes, he may be trying to manufacture a full-fledged Beatles reunion, featuring the original members.

If anyone could pull off such a feat, it would be Obama, right? After all, he is evil, according to some Republicans, and therefore may possess the ability to bring back John and George from beyond the grave.

The smart money’s on Stevie Wonder for the Dems, particularly since Obama loves playing “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” at his rallies. I’d also like to see them recruit Muslim folkie Yusuf Islam, who was once called Cat Stevens. The author of a song called “Peace Train” was added to a no-fly terrorist watch list following 9/11. Perhaps he should have called it “Peace Plane” instead.

Another safe bet could be soul legend and Memphis minister, the Rev. Al Green. Obama busted out a couple of lines of Green’s classic soul ballad, and now the very fitting “Let’s Stay Together,” earlier this year. The president, as it turns out, has pretty good vocal chops.

If only his grasp over the economy and an 8.3 percent unemployment rate were as good.

Whomever the leftists pick to entertain them next week in Charlotte, N.C., it likely won’t hold a candle to the bombast of the Republican artists. With any lucky, there will be a finale that combines the withering talents of Skynyrd and Journey. And if only “The Nuge” could be on hand to shoot a flaming arrow into something.

Game on, Dems.


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Budd McLaughlin


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