Before Barack Obama took the stage in front of a crowd of 75,000 in Portland yesterday, the Decemberists played a stacked set concluding with a mass singalong on “Sons & Daughters,” with its drawn-out chorus of “Here all the bombs fade away.” The song, a rallying cry for hope, peace, and…mouthfuls of cinnamon, seemed to strike an appropriate-if-predictable tone for Obama’s largest congregation to date.
But it’s worth remembering some other theme songs that have scored the candidates’ respective campaigns. In January, Obama took mild heat when his campaign included a prominent rendition of Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” at his Iowa victory bash. As the New York Post notes, the song’s refrain, famous for its assertion that of Hova’s 99 problems, “a bitch ain’t one,” struck some as a Hillary dig.
The same Post piece gives a run-down on some other notable campaign jingles, including Hillary’s invocation of the Céline Dion turkey “You & I,” also featured in a strange and maudlin campaign video with viral intent:
…not to be confused, naturally, with the 2ge+her-worthy “hillary4u+me”:
Elsewhere, the ever-provocative RightWingNews.com offers suggestions for the DailyKos “Obama Theme Song” list, with snarky offerings from the Platters‘ “The Great Pretender” to Carly Simon‘s “You’re So Vain” to “Cocaine,” which they bafflingly attribute to ZZ Top. (Come on, guys, even Republicans should know their J.J. Cale from their ZZ Top.)
Meanwhile, Harold Meyerson‘s most recent op-ed in the Washington Post puts forth a promising possibility for McCain’s theme song going into the general election:
If the McCain campaign is still trying out songs, there’s one by a couple of Brits, W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, that it should consider. We have to change the words “an Englishman” to “American” to get it to work, but, that done, the song expresses succinctly and entirely the case for John McCain and, by implication, against Barack Obama:
For he himself has said it,And it’s greatly to his credit,That he is American!That he is American!
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the sum total of the Republican message this year…. For some, “American” is a race — white — no less than a nationality, and it’s on this equation that Republican prospects depend.
Not exactly the scathingest thing Meyerson’s ever written, but an apt choice for the whitest party (no black national politicians; blacks compose 2 to 4 percent of the Republican electorate across the board) since Alexander Kerensky got drunk with a gang of polar bears.
In short, Jackie Wilson–whose”Higher” rates only seventh on the Daily Kos list–is most likely absent from the McCain campaign’s iPod Shuffle….
…the closest thing being “Johnny B. Goode,” which (for a while) was nearly as ubiquitous at McCain victory rallies as Joe Lieberman. For a while, I dug the choice (Chuck Berry, not Joe Lieberman), until I did the math and realized that when the single came out in ’58, McCain was already too old to think it was cool.
Next stop on the Straight-Talk Express: Perry Como.
Think you’ve got a snappy choice for campaign theme song? Tell us about it in the comments.