Your Election Cycle Playlist

Ever since Bill Clinton used Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop” as a campaign theme song, I can’t help trying to think of pop tunes that match up with prominent political figures.   We joked around a little bit in podcast #26 about Sarah Palin, so I decided fair’s fair – here are my picks for the 2008 Election Cycle Playlist.

John McCain (Republican Presidential Nominee) – “Older” by They Might Be Giants (Malcolm in the Middle Soundtrack).  McCain gets a lot of crap about being up in years; it’s one of the top things the Democratic attack dogs like to point out.  McCain’s ticker gives out, and it’s President Sarah Whatshername as Commandress-in-Chief.  It’s hard to imagine how much blowback there’d be if the pundits started making black jokes about Barack Obama, but I guess not having died is fair game.  Anyway, this little ditty by indy-rock gods TMBG is an unholy combo of colonial drinking song, jingle gone awry, and preschool singalong:

You’re older than you’ve ever been and now you’re even older
And now you’re even older
And now you’re even older
You’re older than you’ve ever been and now you’re even older
And now your older still…

Sarah Palin (Republican VP Nominee) – “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” by CAKE (Comfort Eagle).  We didn’t even know who the hell she was until a couple of weeks ago, but this former beauty queen and current governor of Alaska has the Republican core all excited with her one-two punch of conservative idealism and MILFy hotness.  A minor hit by this Sacramento-based band (better known for their hits “The Distance”, “Never There”, and the improbably good cover of the disco classic “I Will Survive”), it celebrates the sex appeal of the take-charge gal:

I want a girl with the right allocations
Who is fast, and thorough, and sharp as a tack
She’s playing with her jewelry; she’s putting up her hair
She’s touring the facility and picking up slack
I want a girl with a short skirt and a l-o-o-o-n-g jacket…

Barack Obama (Democratic Presidential Nominee) – “Your Racist Friend” by They Might Be Giants (Flood).  Yeah, it’s TMBG again, but it’s hard not to keep going back to them. (This is a band, after all, that includes as a staple for their live shows a song called “James K. Polk: The Napoleon of the Stump”.  So they know their presidents.)  Anyway, while Obama’s blackness is taboo for satirists, his political associations are a little easier to go after.  After ditching race-baiting preacher Jeremiah Wright and avoiding emasculation at the hands of old-guard race-pimp Jesse Jackson, Obama picks as his running mate Joe Biden, a man with hoof-in-mouth disease who called Obama an African-American who is “clean and articulate” and once joked that you needed an Indian accent to work at the 7/11.  I don’t think Biden’s a racist; he just lets his jocularity get ahead of his mentation sometimes.

This is where the party ends
I can’t stand here listening to you
And your racist friend
I know politics bore you
But I feel like a hypocrite talking to you
And your racist friend

It was the loveliest party that I’ve ever attended
If anything was broken I’m sure it could be mended
My head can’t tolerate this bobbing and pretending
Listen to some bullet-head and the madness that he’s saying…

Joe Biden (Democratic VP Nominee) – “Last Train to Clarksville” by The Monkees (Greatest Hits).  Biden was the hardest one for whom to pick a song.  His occasional gaffes notwithstanding, he’s just an all-around nice fellow and about as close to a regular person as you can find on Capitol Hill.  In fact, he’s such a regular Joe he famously commutes on Amtrak from his home in Wilmington, Delaware to Washington, DC and back every day!  Then there was the schoolboy giggling about the “jungle fever” photo in which Obama and Biden embraced one another’s wives at the Democratic National Convention (but really, who cares?)…

Take the last train to Clarksville.
I’ll be waiting at the station.
We’ll have time for coffee flavored kisses
And a bit of conversation.
Oh… Oh, no, no, no!
Oh, no, no, no!

P.S. I saw former Monkee-man Mickey Dolenz at this year’s Dragon*Con and I swear the bastard doesn’t look like he’s aged a day.  Okay, maybe a few years, but still…

Hillary Clinton (Failed Democratic Presidential Candidate) – “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morrisette (Jagged Little Pill).  Even if you disagree with her politics, it’s hard not to feel sorry for the Senator from New York.  After surviving the very public embarrassment of Bill’s pecadillos in the late 1990s, by 2007 it seemed a sure bet the Democrats would nominate Hillary.  But then presto-change-o! all of a sudden it’s that upstart Obama large and in charge, and if the Republicans win it’s entirely possible that it could lead to that half-educated you-betcha hockey mom as the first woman president.  Now, I don’t think Hillary will go all Fatal Attraction on Obama, but despite her lip-service I also don’t believe she’ll really put her heart and soul into getting him elected.  More likely she’ll keep fingers crossed while making promises and hoping for the worst.  There’s always 2012.

And I’m here to remind you
Of the mess you left when you went away
It’s not fair to deny me
Of the cross I bear that you gave to me
You, you, you oughta know…

Bob Barr (Libertarian Presidential Nominee) – “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” performed by Thurl Ravenscroft (How the Grinch Stole Christmas).  Bob Barr has been a boogieman for the Left ever since he successfully orchestrated the impeachment of Bill Clinton.  Since then, Barr has effected one of the most remarkable turnabouts for any modern-day politican.  Turning his back on the corruption of the 21st century Republican Party, Barr is now a cog in the Libertarian machine.  Lefties still don’t like him (but they love the fact that Barr will siphon more votes from McCain than Obama), and right-wingers despise him for the same reason.  Barr gets no lovin’ from the mainstream, and seems stuck in a perpetual PR nightmare as a spoil-sport and a prickly WASP.

Your soul is an apalling dump heap overflowing
with the most disgraceful assortment of deplorable
rubbish imaginable,
Mangled up in tangled up knots…

Well, I’ll be votin’ for him come November anyway…

Ralph Nader (Independent Party Presidential Nominee) – “Through Being Cool” by DEVO (New Traditionalists).  Okay, Nader was never cool, but his brand of indefatigable geekiness and unstoppable idealism earns him the crown of King Nerd.  He’s been raging against the machine and fighting the system since before most of us were born, and he shows no signs of giving up, even in the face of impossible odds. 

Time to clean some house
Be a man or a mouse
Waste those who make it tough to get around

So…that’s what I came up with on short notice.  How about a tune for Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney?  Any suggestions?

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