Pop Life

Pop Rocks: Songs In The Key Of [Presidential] Fail

Poor Michele Bachmann, first the John Wayne/John Wayne Gacy thing, now Tom Petty's piling on as well:

The inaugural music-related strike of the 2012 presidential race comes from Tom Petty, who issued a cease and desist letter to Michele Bachmann's campaign to get her to stop using Petty's 1977 hit "American Girl."

This isn't even the first time Petty has bristled at the idea that somebody from the right borrowed one of his tunes--he issued a similar letter in 2004 when George W. Bush used Petty's "I Won't Back Down" as one of his campaign themes (like Bachmann, Bush complied).

Ever since Bruce Springsteen took umbrage with Ronald Reagan's use of "Born in the U.S.A." during his re-election campaign in 1984, it has become something of a tradition for rock musicians (many of whom, you may have noticed, have views that tend to skew to the left) to publicly disassociate themselves from right-wing candidates who borrow their music.

This is a potential crisis situation for all 2012 candidates. Or would be, if I wasn't here to offer some suggestions for those Presidential hopefuls who might be struggling for an appropriate tune to galvanize their campaigns.

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Tim Pawlenty - "Nowhere Man," The Beatles

His campaign is faltering (Pawlenty placed sixth, behind even Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul in the latest polls), in spite of his recent desperate lurch to the right. I imagine McCartney would even take pity on him and let him use the song for free at this point.

Michele Bachmann - "Liar," The Rollins Band

Let's face it, a lack of fancy book learnin' has never been a hindrance to becoming President, so recent gaffes about Paul Revere John Quincy Adams and the Founding Fathers aren't necessarily nonstarters. As Bachmann's campaign gains steam, however, she's going to come under increasing scrutiny for an almost unending stream of out and out bullshit.

Mitt Romney - "The Proud One," The Osmonds

He leads most polls, but there's still an overwhelming feeling that prospective voters would gladly jump ship if a more palatable option (perhaps one without a controversial health care background) came along. Maybe groveling is your best option.

I'm not the proud one, I need you
I'm beggin to you baby, please
You;re the proud one, believe me
This poor man is down on his knees

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar